I used to be an extreme moralist. You know what it means. Having a personal moral code. I used to be so sure that if I should meet my maker whenever fate decided, I was confidently going to gain access into heaven or paradise, whatever you call it, a place of bliss. Then something happened to me. Something changed in me and then I realized that I was nowhere gaining that pass. I had died before I knew better.
Before my death I was so sure that everything I did, said, or thought was in tandem with being right with God and man. I was sinless and could not be accused of a fault. People always have faults but I didn’t, and I was unapologetic about it because I had no reason to be. Even the devil couldn’t accuse me of a particular fault. Yes that was who I was. I was a moralist who practiced morality to a degree.
The afternoon died I was not afraid even when the sensation of the hand of death tickled me. I think I had been sick a long time. My mind was sick, people made me sick. I wondered how and why I deserved my suffering. Where did I go wrong? I just finished college with the budding zest for life in me. I have always fancied the idea of being in love and having a standard family. I wasn’t asking for too much from life.
So I passed away on the sick bed in an ill furnished, smelly sick bay. The doctor told my grandmother whom I’m sure wept hopefully that I was at peace with my self and the world. When I died, it felt as though I was asleep. A man came to me in my dream and asked me to remove my filthy rag like clothing. As I did, he removed his garment and exchanged it with mine. As we did so, he kept his gaze on me smiling. I was confused but somewhat obedient. He acted so kind as if I had known him.
I couldn’t understand what was happening. After wearing this strange mans garment I heard my grandfather calling out to me from behind. I turned and began to weep. I missed him so much. He died when I was ten, a few days after my birthday. I was so happy I wanted to jump on him but he refused and said to me to go home. As I wondered why we couldn’t establish a connection, it felt as though a whirlwind threw me into a room. I saw my self in a room weeping on a desk. I am amused as I remember this scene. It was the second day after my grand fathers funeral. We weren’t so rich to afford a glamorous “befitting” kind of burial like it’s done in the southern part of Nigeria. My grand father was a Christian in its realest sense. Our community did not regard him as one of them ever since he renounced traditional worship. The church couldn’t do much about handling the whole commotion of what tradition expects.
It hurt to see my grandmother painfully arrange his funeral alone without sympathy or support. I remember I wept on his desk wondering what wrong he had committed before he passed away. I thought he was a good man and people would have been good to him. From that moment, I decided that I had to have my moral codes set for myself and the way I lived and how people were going to treat me. I mingled with only those who shared my ideology. My grandmother never took all those hard times personal. I could never understand why she still loved our relatives and community members as if she wasn’t betrayed.
So In this dream I wanted to touch the younger me crying on the black desk to comfort me but she abruptly turned and pointed an accusing finger at me. I wanted to run when the strange man caught hold of me. I felt safe and warm. I could hear what he was saying from his eyes. Yes his mouth didn’t move but I heard him clearly. He told me that he is my friend. He has been and will always be my friend. I felt like i needed to re-establish a lost connection with this man. Was it me, or someone or something or a memory. I felt a strange kind of love for him and for myself at that moment. I opened my eyes with the urge on my mind to know who he was.
I woke up to the beeping noise of the machine I was apparently disconnected from. My weary grandma was awake looking directly into my eyes. Her breast all in my face. She wanted to be sure before she screamed for the nurses that I have suddenly woken up. I was told that I was comatose for almost six hour. I couldn’t believe it.
Now as I gradually recover quietly in my home, I realize that I had lost a part of me as a result of pain and grief I accumulated ever since my grandfather took ill to his death. Right now I don’t feel vengeful to be better than my neighbor, friends and society so that I can be justified in pointing out faults I used to be alert in noticing in others . I feel at peace knowing that I can’t do everything perfectly on my own except I have someone higher than I am whom I can rely on without judgment, prejudice or condemnation . I feel at peace with the fact that I know better now my grandfather is happy wherever he is.
In my strife to be perfect I was fueled by sentiments. Striving to be perfect is not my strength I realize that vengeance was my fuel even when it produced good deeds. Honestly, I don’t mind if you reading this would judge me. But there was no much gain at the end of being a moralist. I though when I died I merited eternity but I was asked to change my garment and go back. I am made to believe that I can only be saved by grace through Christ and I am in need of God’s forgiveness. I didn’t have the power to heal my self. Rather I hurt my self. Self righteousness couldn’t make me holy enough. I confess, I have no power of my own.