Ade left the office premises angry and disappointed at himself. He wondered how he got so low to the extent that he went to see a therapist. Those guys were meant for people who suffered nervous breakdowns or had mental challenges. He wasn’t one of them. He was fine even though his wife thought otherwise.
Getting to the house, he noticed something strange. His children were loading their boxes into the boot of his wife’s car. It seemed like they were setting out on a journey. Nike, his wife, emerged from the house giving instructions to the kids on how to arrange the things properly.
Ade: What exactly is going on here?
Nike: What does it look like? I am leaving. We are leaving.
A: How can you leave? You told me to visit a therapist and I did. So why can’t you keep your end of the bargain?
N: My dear, I called the receptionist to confirm if you were there so I would join you and help you through the process. She said you left angrily. Adeoluwa, ki lo n se e? What is your problem? I’m sick of your attitude. I can’t cope any longer.
A: Nike, don’t do this.
N: If you are thinking of restraining me, know that I have sent a message to my elder sister in Ikeja that I am coming with the kids this evening. I also told her to come with policemen if she doesn’t see us by 6pm. Sebi you know that Police College is not far from their house?
A: Nike, please don’t do this. You are all I have. You have stood by me all these years. I don’t know what I would do without you.
N: Adeoluwa, leave my hand alone! Kids! Let’s go!
A: Nike, please.
N: Babajide, what are you looking for? Call your younger ones and let us go.
A: Nike…I will talk. I promise. Please. Don’t leave me. Please.
N: I hope you are not using this to buy time, because if you are. Adeoluwa, if you are.
A: Trust me, I am not. Let’s go into the house and talk. It won’t be convenient talking outside.
N: Okay. Jide! Where are you? Stay in the car with your siblings, I’ll be with you shortly.
Thirty-five minutes later…
N: Ade! You have still not said anything. This game you are playing won’t work o. It would not work.
A: I’ll talk. It is difficult for me to say because I have never told anyone.
N: Okay. When you are ready, come and meet me at Big Mummy’s place.
A: Oya, Nike. I’ll talk now. Hmm. Do you remember that I woke up late on the morning of Babajide’s naming ceremony?
N: Yes. I remember. What does that have to do with this?
A: Calm down nau. Ahan!
N: I should calm down abi?
A: Oya, I’m sorry. That morning, I had a dream. In the dream, my dad and I spoke for a while, after which he smiled, turned and started walking into the sunset. I kept shouting his name, but he did not look back, neither did he stop walking. That was why I woke up late.
A: I wondered what the dream meant but I could not make sense of it. You were in such high spirits that I did not want to bother you with the dream. Less than three hours, we got the phone call that my dad was involved in an accident. Nike, as I dropped the call, I knew that it was my fault. I should have spoken out. I should have said something. If I had, maybe my father would be alive. It is my fault! I killed my father! This is the cross that I have had to carry for 14 years.
N: Ife mi, stop crying. Ade mi. Pele. Stop crying. It is not your fault.
A: But Nike, it is! It is my fault!
N: It isn’t. God is the only one that can save a person when death comes knocking. Maybe he used the dream to allow Baba say goodbye to you. But Ade, why did you not tell me this all this while? Why?
A: Because I could not bear the pain of letting you know that I was responsible for my father’s death. Maybe if I had prayed. Maybe if I had spoken out. Maybe… maybe…
Iremide: There are many people walking around with guilt and pain in their hearts caused by events in the past they feel responsible for. For some, it is the feeling that a loved one’s death could have been averted if they did more. If they got to the hospital earlier. If they prayed more. If they were more observant.
For some who lost a child through miscarriage, there could be that mental self-torture that stems from the feeling that they could have done something differently to preserve the baby’s life.
Others are burdened by missed business opportunities. By life-changing contracts they lost. By job opportunities they turned down. By investment decisions they decided not to take. So, each day, they look back in regret and wonder how much better life would have been if they did not mess up.
For students who graduated with a borderline grade. The 2.49s, 3.49s, 4.49s. You know people in that WhatsApp group abi? Or are you a member of the group? Some of them have lived with the guilt of what could have been for years. If only I did not have a C in this course. If only I put more effort in preparing for my project defense. If only.
In some cases, the guilt comes from actual faults, while in some other cases, the faults are imagined. But neither is more painful than the other. They hurt equally.
Today, Christ is speaking. “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” It doesn’t matter how long you have battled with the guilt, the heartache and the pain. It does not matter. Christ says he will give you rest. It is assured. All the secret tears. All the guilty feelings. He is ready to help you overcome. If only you are willing to come to the throne of mercy to obtain grace. The Risen Saviour is waiting. Jesus is calling. Will you answer?
Shall we pray?
Dear Lord, we pray for those who are burdened with the pain of events that happened in the past. For people who are walking through life with the backpack of guilt over things that were done or those that were left undone, and the repercussions that followed. We ask that you minister healing to their hearts. We pray that you will go to the source of the pain and heal in a way that only you can. The Bible says that if the Son makes a person free, he is free indeed. So, we receive freedom from bondage and freedom to live in the fullness of life that you planned for us! Thank you, Lord, for answering our prayers. For we pray in Jesus name. Amen.