"Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive." - Ecclesiastes 4:2 (King James Bible)
When I decided to begin this blog, I had just finished the last entry of a previous one (www.obamadrama.blogspot.com - a spoof of Obama's daily diary during the Election '08 campaign process). I was out of creative juice, but felt a strong need to have a medium where Nigerians and Non-Nigerians alike, could begin to appreciate the promise and possibilities of the much maligned nation. I am a strong believer in the fact that all people share similar traits and rather than destroy each other with harsh words, we could identify what holds us together and understand each other's promise, in spite of our obvious challenges. Yes, some Nigerians will make you ashamed to be Nigerian, but the same can go for the American, Brit or Russian. The main thing to remember is that the sole thing worth pursuing is the collective strand of goodness that runs through all of us, irrespective of race, religion or creed.
So, as this morning edges in and the countdown to the end of the day begins, a large proportion of the earth's inhabitants are probably thanking their lucky stars, for despite the Credit Crunch, they have a chance to carry on in life's amazing journey. A large majority see the demise of the likes of Jane Goody, Natasha Richardson, the young girl or boy next door and the anguish of those family members left behind, and realise; there but for the grace of God goes I. The accolades for the deceased celebrities mentioned above, have been overwhelming and we have been bombarded through TV, print and the internet - our pain is collective and deep. In Natasha's death we see a life unecessarily wasted and in Jade's, a tragic story that came to an even more tragic end on Mother's Day.
As the grief consumes the airwaves, I am left to reflect on the intensity (Jane Goody had a 16 page tribute in a UK tabloid today!)of it and the blatant opposite nature of that coverage as against the words directed at the same celebrities during their lifetime. Why is it that human beings always reserve kind words until a life expires? Cast your mind to your living family members and ask how many times you have truly said something nice to any of them. Look around your workplace and query whether you have fully transported the regard and appreciation you feel for your colleagues. Do people around you know that they are as talented, gracious or as nice as you believe or know they are? Or are you waiting for them to die before you spread the word? Harsh question I know, but true.
As I stated in the opening paragraph, there is a need for a collective good. I am yet to hear of a culture where the people praise their living as much as their dead, but I believe it is a trait worth adopting as we move forward. No one has ever done any harm with praise, at least not as much harm as 'No praise' at all. Do not delay your capacity to be nice and appreciative of someone close today - I am not praying for it, but it could be their last......or for that matter, yours.