"Isideghenkoechioajenmbopo, énwöñakoike (One doesn’t have to wait for a child to graduate from the fattening house before taking a smoke)"
The fattening house among the Annang represented a step in the traditional education system for it was within the comfort of the seclusion chambers that young women learnt the art of being mothers and wives. Because the period of seclusion depended on the social status of the parents, individuals saved up for the event. The most expensive part was when the child was ready to be shown to the community and tradition demanded that relatives, neighbors and members of the community be feted. The ancient realized that life must continue in spite of the expense involved. One did not have to suspend living and the luxuries of life and so the saying arose that smoking the pipe should not be suspended simply because of the thoughts of the expense involved in preparing the child. Life must be lived and happiness must be displayed not because all is well but in spite of the troubles and inconveniences that are part of daily living.
The seventeenth century English writer, Joseph Addison, wrote that there are three essential requirements for happiness in this life and these are: something to do, something to love and something to hope for. Therefore, so long as we are able to do something and have a love for somebody or something and can look forward, then we are capable of being happy. The capacity to fulfill all three requirements essentially means that so long as there is life, we all have the ability to be happy. The tendency to suspend living apparently is not new for today’s saying is an indication that others had in the past, suspended happiness and living on the expectations of a better day. We do that too in our time and wait for everything to be perfect and so some wait until they find a mate, get a better job, get a university degree, have a successful business and have more money before they can be happy.
The truth is that we are all responsible for our own happiness and it is an attitude. The ancient Greek writer Aeschylus once wrote that happiness is a choice that requires an effort on your part. We become happy when we choose to count our blessings and see those things that we do have but become unhappy when we choose to dwell on what we lack. The reality is that there will always be someone who is better than us but there are several things that you have in abundance more than others if you stop to think about it. I want to leave you today with a testimony of an American missionary who visited a leper colony and went to a church there on furlough. I forgot where I read the story butthe story is told that the gentleman said as he preached a sermon one day at the colony to men and women who had lost fingers toes, fingers and noses to the dreaded disease a woman with no fingers sat in front of the pew and when he asked if anyone had suggestion for a hymn the woman with no fingers lifted up her hands and said “Pastor can we sing Count your blessings?” As the congregation sang that hymn the missionary said he thought about the lepers and their plight and it was then that he realized he had a lot to be thankful for. What are you waiting for to be happy? Seize today and claim it as the day of happiness and mayyou be guided through life’s storms and tempests to know that being happy is a choice that we make.
Adede (Dr.) Ezekiel Ette
For Annang Writers Association (A division of Annang Heritage Preservation Inc.)
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DISCLAIMER: Views expressed here are solely that of the author and do not represent the official position of Annang Heritage Preservation Inc. or any of its affiliate.