Saturday, 11 April 2020

Easter and the Prisoner in the Fattening Room


I was thinking this morning..... about how people see themselves during this lockdown. A few days ago, my MD, during a staff engagement session told everyone that he had put a call through to a friend to find out how they were doing. His friend had responded, 'All inmates are intact and doing well.' Riding on his metaphor, my MD asked him, 'Who is the chief warder?' His friend replied, 'I can't exactly tell who the chief warder is, but I can assure you that we are complying with the Geneva Convention that says it's the right of all prisoners to be fed.' While we all giggled at his little story, my mind was asking 'what is your perspective?'

Though my MD's friend joked about his lockdown being akin to a prison, it got me thinking about how many people see themselves from a similar prism. Prisoners are locked up to serve time as a form of correction for wrongdoing. They hardly derive value from being locked up unless they change their perspective about why they are there. I therefore surmised that your perspective defines purpose and purpose creates value.

What is your perspective about this lockdown? Many are like the Efiks of Southern Nigeria who view being fat as a symbol of status and power. Therefore, they see this period of lockdown as being in the 'fattening room.' In the Efik tradition, a bride, prior to a wedding, is subjected to seclusion for a long period of time and fed a large quantity of rich native delicacies loaded with calories like Ekpankoko, Edikang-Ikong and Afang generously filled with snail, bush meat and fish, as well as meals consisting yam, rice, beans and garri. She is also allowed lots of sleep so she can gain excess weight and become obese. The isolation of the bride also means she gets no visitors either male or female and is restricted to her immediate family. The reason? They believe 'bigger is better,' without prejudice to the Gino Max seasoning cube advert. That is the state and mindset of many during this lockdown and believe me, they will come out of the 'fattening room' looking like 'orobo' unless they change their mindset and stop eating and sleeping. Your perspective defines purpose and purpose creates value.

Some others see this lockdown as being in the prayer room. Before the lockdown, you hear some say they are going to 'the mountain' (what my yoruba friends call Ori-oke), away from the noise and distraction of the city, for prayers and to seek the face of God. Wow! Congratulations, the noise of the city has been shutdown and the mountain has come to them. Their homes have become their prayer room and after two weeks of being locked in, 'kabashing,' they are literally moving mountains. Remember, your perspective defines purpose and purpose creates value.

Yet for others, this lockdown is a golden opportunity to reinvent themselves like the proverbial eagle. One will usually not go into hibernation willingly, but nature holds the ace card and has conspired with Covid-19 to render one impotent in the things one love to do most. Many have yearned for an opportunity where the world shuts down so they can hear themselves think. Boom! They have it and they are maximizing the opportunity. It's all about perspectives. 

During these weeks when the world has literally shutdown, what is your perspective about your self isolation at home? In prison, fattening room or prayer room? This is an opportunity to do that one thing, you have not had the time to do all these years. Read a book, write a book, woo your spouse all over again, bond with your family or refire your spiritual life. Whatever it is, please don't be the prisoner in the fattening room. This Easter day is a reminder that with the right perspective, Jesus endured isolation on earth that we all might be saved. Hebrews 12:2 says 'Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.' Endure this lockdown knowing that your positive perspective to any situation creates value.

Happy Easter.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

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