The choices we make, the road we take
The Month is February. The year is 2021. Year 2021 is the beginning of a new decade and a potential new dawn that will be most decisive for us, if, as a people, as a society and as a nation, we agree to change some of the choices we make and the methods we adopt, from the negative to the positive and commit to keep to an agreed steady path to help us build a more stable nation-state to accelerate our all round growth and development.
The month of February is highlighted for two reasons. One. In February, 1986, the nation was set off, in an unprecedented manner, on a development strategy, which if it had continued, would have progressively and drastically changed the fortunes of the nation by now. It was a choice. Two. The month of February this year also presents us with two worldwide activities that indicate patterns of human behaviour that can produce better outcomes, depending on the lessons we draw from each of them. Choices.
We take the first of the two activities highlighted in February 2021. A large part of the world has commandeered, over commercialised and wrapped around the aura of the expectation of general good feeling, happiness and even of love on Valentine’s Day, which in our nation’s version of its associated activities seem far removed from the original spirit and intention of the Day. Is this a deliberate choice or just our national tendency to copy concepts and practices from other climes and, instead of improving, degrade them to the detriment of our proper growth and development as a people, as a society and as a nation?
Year 2021 also has another worldwide very significant day, which does not always fall in February. It is the Wednesday Day of Ashes, which this year fell on February 17th, just three days after Valentine’s Day. Just like the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan, which will be coming up soon, Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of the 40-Day Holy Solemn Period of Lent, deals with how people conduct their ways of living in a more salutary and elevating manner, namely, by reviewing their life pattern and tendencies with a view to making the necessary adjustments to produce better outcomes. Is the Lenten and Ramadan processes of regular genuine self interrogation for better life pattern outcomes, not worthy of our emulation, as a people, as a society and as a nation in our national growth and development effort? Choices.
We move to other areas in this foundational/introductory phase. We begin from some fundamentals. At the level of humanity, we all come into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing. Physically naked we come, near naked we go, depending on cultural variations. In some cultures of the world, the dead are even cremated. Where cremation is not the norm, the buried mortal body in contact with Mother Earth, over time disintegrates into dust. This must be a most sobering thought for all of us, but particularly for those who think, talk and act as if the entire world belongs to them alone or those who accumulate so much material things, without evidence of any hard work and at the expense of the nation itself and its poor suffering masses. Choices.
And a few questions in parentheses, for now. We come into the world at birth, we exit it at death. Is that all there is to life? Is there life after death? If there is, what will it be like for each person?
Still on fundamentals, at the level of the individual human being, in the natural process, nobody is consulted before being born into a specific family, of a specific ethnic stock, in a specific location, in a specific nation. This should also be a sobering thought, if only each individual can be less presumptuous and pause to ask himself or herself why these specificities and by whose decision and for what purpose? Yet further, from knowledge of the procreation process, for each human sperm that gets fertilized and comes through to successful birth, there are millions that do not make it. So no individual contributes anything or is even aware of the process of his or her formation in the womb, before birth. Another sobering thought, if only each individual can be less presumptuous and pause to ask why this special favour to him or her and from whom and for what purpose?
We are all born by the special grace and love of the Almighty Creator, (called God in English and Allah in Arabic and therefore the same Supreme Divinity) to serve His specific purpose. So, to Him, first and foremost, must we all be grateful for bringing us into being. We must also all cherish life as a divine and most precious and unmerited gift from Him, as none of us contributes anything to being born. Yet further, we must all also ensure that we do all we can as individuals to strive to fulfil the Almighty Creator’s purpose in the specific environment and era we are in, because that is His choice: to give real meaning to life. Choice.
Who is this Almighty Creator, this Supreme Divinity? What is His purpose for creation itself and for giving us life? Names, descriptions identify. Some of the names, descriptions, titles and attributes of God in English include: God the Almighty, The Omnipotent, Omniscience, Omnipresent, God The Creator, God the Sustainer of the Universe etc.
To this, add the awesomeness and complexity, the beauty and order and precision, of the Universe or more accurately the Cosmos, with trillion trillions of things moving, without time limits, at incredible speeds in specific orbits, in systems and galaxies, at incredible distances. We hear and read about space travels in our Solar System. From Planet Earth, of our Solar System, we see the Sun, the Moon and the Stars and we are told that that is just a speck in the Cosmos. Can such immensity be hanging there in space on its own? We hear and see but cannot really comprehend, but can only marvel at. Do all of these not leave us in great awe and wonderment of who the Almighty Creator is?
(((And again in parenthesis. What is the population of our own world, Mother Earth? What percentage of the world’s population are you and I as individual human beings? What percentage of the world’s population live beyond 100 years plus these days? What names do we remember and celebrate long after they are gone?)))
What about His Purpose, what exactly is it? By His Nature and by Who He Is, His Purpose is (((can be))) summarized in one word: Love, which He wills each individual person to interiorise and practicalise, by loving Him in return and by loving others (((and the totality of the physical environment))) as He loves each person. Should this love not also extend to the love of Nation by each person? How does each individual love Him in return? Do all individuals even know they are to love Him in return? How do they love others? How does each individual love the physical environment in which he or she depends so much on, to live a healthy life? How does each person love himself or herself and other family members? Do all individual persons even make a genuine effort to find out how the Creator really loves each and everyone of us unconditionally and as if no one else exists in the world?
Genuine love spreads goodness and mercy and graciousness, happiness and joy. It ennobles, motivates, energises and encourages. It nurtures, envelopes and develops. It is positive and proactive. It bonds, brings people together, deepens friendship and strengthens relationships. Should we not as individual persons and as a collectivity be deepening our friendships and strengthening our relationships as a people, as a society and as a nation, instead of all the current acrimonies and divisions, driven mostly by greed, inordinate ambition and crass materialism and using crude, pedestrian politics and politicking as devastating executors?
To be continued tomorrow
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