OF BIRTHDAYS AND ORACLES (A TRUE STORY)
This was meant to be a “Thank you” note to everyone who showed me love two days ago on my birthday but I am led to share a true story based on what transpired before and on that day. Be assured that I did not write or post it lightly, otherwise it would have been published earlier than now. I hesitated, prayed and agonised over the wisdom of doing this before concluding that I should.
OF BIRTHDAYS AND ORACLES
I was filled with thankfulness on March 21st because I added another year to the glory of God. To demonstrate my gratitude, I wrote a poem about the stage of life I am in now and how God has fought to ensure that I am still here.
(You can click on the title to read it.)
Fancying My Fabulous Fifties
But before I started working on the poem, my phone rang and a high-ranking individual in the corporate world, who is an alumnus of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) where I work, was calling to wish me a happy birthday. That was right after midnight. Thereafter, it was like a bell had been rung and the calls and messages through various fora started flooding in.God will use anyone who is available to show you how much He loves you. Click To Tweet
You might be wondering what is so special about receiving an outpouring of love on one’s birthday. It certainly wasn’t the first time that this was happening to me but an incident had occurred a few days earlier which had demoralised me somewhat. Someone seemed to have told lies about me and my job and I got to know of it. The fellow was contributing to the #WifeNotCook debate on social media and told a story of a female lecturer in UNN the writer claimed hated men so much she campaigned against marriage and deceived many girls.
She was also said to have victimised a female student for being friendly with a young man she liked by failing her consistently in a course and making her return as an external candidate three times till the whole department was begging her to let the girl go. The fantastic tale continued that the lecturer in question later got married after persuading young girls not to. The writer then advised that girls should marry and serve their husbands and not listen to ladies who claim to be feminists but are actually hypocrites.
What attracted my attention was that the writer was an alumnus of my department and had presented the story in a way that people would assume it happened there. As a result, it would be natural for those who are vaguely familiar with the department to assume I was the lady in question having been single for long and being friendly with some students, including males. And yes, such projections had begun to be made by a couple of readers without calling names, the joke being that DSS would come after you if you did.
I did write in my article on language use on the social media that no matter how ridiculous or vile what someone says on social media is, there will be like-minded folks who will affirm and support it. We are all living witnesses to how some Nigerians believed the All Progressives Congress, APC’s promises that it was coming to power to place the Naira on a par with the dollar, reduce pump price of petrol to forty-five Naira, etc. And they used the internet to push these fabulous ideas on behalf of the party.
(You can check that post out:
Child of God, Your Language on Social Media Matters!)
I did not want to engage this fellow and give him undeserved publicity but I did demand and get some clarification on the comment thread that he had not indicated the department and so it could be any department in UNN. But he was feeling powerful as being on social media tends to make some people feel and he and his friends continued their puerile exchanges.
That episode got me thinking: How does being single translate to hatred of men or feminism? How does a female lecturer’s friendliness with female students mean that she is stopping them from getting married? How does friendliness towards one student transmogrify into victimisation of another? (Now you see part of the reason some lecturers hate to have anything to do with students outside the classroom? But I know that one cannot effectively influence young people positively while being detached from them.)
Furthermore, how can a whole department watch a lecturer hold a student to ransom on flimsy grounds to the extent of failing her repeatedly in a course and then making her come back as an external candidate for the same course THREE times? I’m not saying such a thing is totally impossible in higher institutions but I know it is highly improbable.
What usually happens is that some students fail so many courses that they need a few years to retake them all because there is a maximum unit load for each semester. But you know the unwillingness of some people to assume responsibility for their failures. So it is that sometimes, when students do well, they say, “I made an A,” but when they fail, they say, “The lecturer failed me.”
Any fair-minded person will deduce that the writer concocted a hyperbolic and possibly completely fictitious account to buttress his point, namely, that young girls should marry and be as servile as possible to their husbands (the examples given were that they should pack their poop#o and brush their teeth if need be). But to enhance the persuasiveness of his narrative, he located it in a real setting, UNN, and claimed that he personally knew those involved giving rise to the speculation that it was in his own department.
This kind of thing is a nightmare for a child of God because many people have itching ears and like to believe that there is dirt everywhere and in everything, so arguing with them is often a waste of time. Once an accusation is levelled against someone, people jump in to castgate and condemn without pause or reflection.People castgate and condemn others on social media without pause or reflection. Click To Tweet
I began to ask myself: Is this what someone gets from these students after working so hard to impart knowledge and contribute to building their character? How can someone come up with such a wicked accusation just to make a trite point? (I say this because, frankly, although human beings (including myself) err sometimes, a person would have to be totally depraved and devilish to do what the woman in the story was accused of doing.)
So a few days after this nasty experience, my birthday arrives and my students in their numbers, including those who left UNN ages ago, pour mind-blowing encomiums on me. Some may say students can be obsequious to gain good grades. To such I ask: What are those who were graduated long ago and are established doing this to gain?
Let me explain to you what happened: God knew I was unhappy because of that encounter and wanted to cheer me up, so He used those who wished me well on my birthday to do so. If you sent me a thoughtful message or a compliment, I say you were inspired to do so. You served as an oracle of God to me, yes you did!
In one of my articles, I wrote that God will use anyone who makes himself or herself available to show you how much He loves you and check out the words on the graphic below used for my poem, “My Love Awaits.” (That would be God speaking to you.)
Spontaneously and without mutual discussion or agreement, my students were downloading my pix and using them to post testimonials they’d written about me. Bear in mind that in UNN, students are currently writing their first semester exams. Some wrote without attaching pix and alumni were not left out in all of it. I was instructed to read them all and as I did, I was brought to tears.
I had modified the settings to my Facebook account such that if one tags me on something, I have to approve for it to be on my timeline. I have a very warm relationship with my students (and there are thousands of them: current and former). They tag me on a lot of their stuff and I read, like and comment when I can if need be. If I allowed it all on my timeline, it’d be hard to locate my links from edithohaja.com and fellow bloggers.
But yesterday evening, I was told to permit the specially prepared testimonials on my timeline. They were so many, I decided to share some on my Facebook page, Aunty Edith. Under normal circumstances, I’d have been embarrassed to do this but I sensed that God had spoken the truth through those overflowing praises and wanted it to be on record for who knows what other may lies have been told that I may not be aware of.
Believe me, if you felt the nudge to say something special to me yesterday, it was God and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing it because you lifted my spirits. Indeed I appreciate everyone who said even a word to me or sent a gift. And even though I wasn’t planning to celebrate, someone delivered a cake to my office.
So, thank you all a million times for being used of the Lord to encourage me and may God visit you promptly according to your needs always. May He also replenish your purses, enlarge your coasts and overwhelm you and your families with His goodness perpetually in Jesus’ name.
And if you’re working somewhere but you’re not receiving any appreciation or people are lying against you, don’t change or give up. God is keeping a record of your service and someday, He will cause your labours of love to be acknowledged and rewarded. I’ve been on this job for twenty-eight years and one thing I’ve seen over and over again is the faithfulness of God. It is your portion too if you are His child and it will defend and favour you in Jesus’ name.God will cause your labours of love to be acknowledged and rewarded. Click To Tweet
Amen in Jesus’ name.
You may also wish to read these posts that offer assurances of God’s faithfulness:
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