By DEBBIE Ogunjobi
The perfect expression of Godâ€™s love would be heaven, not just a destination we end up in after death (touch wood) but a world where the common expression is love, where the atmosphere is saturated with harmony among all of Godâ€™s creations. I sat down in a huge garden or should I say a mini forest and pondered the beauty of a landscape that had incorporated man into nature in complete harmony.
Growing up in the bustling city of Lagos and seeing nature annihilated in favour of the concrete monsters we call houses, I was surprised to find a society that doesnâ€™t compete with the environment. I have travelled to quite a few places on the African continent but I have never given much thought to the cohabitation of man and plants.
The compound I sat in when I had my epiphany had trees that could not have been planted at the same time the house was being designed and the rich and lush greenery was arranged in such a riotous abundance that only nature could have been behind it.
The owners of the house and others in this particular part of Africa designed their houses around the trees and lush plantations they inhabited. They did not sacrifice nature for the sake of space or grandiose design and the effect is breathtaking.
The result are houses that are never hot even when the sun is emitting rays of fire and air so fresh you take greedy gulps of it at every opportunity. My mind did a 360 degree turn and I began to understand the concept of Eden; a place of harmony, where man was lord over his environment without conflict or war. Imagine going to sleep in the middle of a city yet still feeling fully ensconced in natureâ€™s warm embrace like you are on holiday in a village.
It was amazing to relax to the sounds of crickets and birds and find it an everyday thing for the inhabitants. I always figured that I would retire to the countryside so I could enjoy old age in harmony but wouldnâ€™t it be great if one could enjoy that harmony at every stage of oneâ€™s life? Why wait till old age to breathe fresh air? Surely the lungs would be healthier if all the co2 was absorbed by the abundance of trees?
I have always held the view that civilisation and population migration were the key elements that worked against each other in the evolution of man. The establishment of key cities always drains populations in one direction, the cities become over crowded, while the country side become abandoned.
The departure of a majority of the young and able bodied in search for the Golden Fleece in the cities normally means the death of all the micro industries in the rural communities. A majority of rural communities on the African continent have become parasitic leeches on the cities as survival depends on the city dwellers sending back stipends.
The youngÂ are mostly disappointed as the cities are not flowing with any milk or honey, yet they are stuck in a limbo; they canâ€™t go back, for the shame of failure and they stay living under conditions that are intolerable. A few make it and a lot donâ€™t. The cities become more congested and become places where man is at war with nature, and his fellow man in a competition for survival.
One of the benefits of maturity is flexibility; one tends to be a lot more bendable and amenable to different options as we get older. Two friends of mine recently packed up their bags and family to move to a completely different continent.
They found their Eden in a place where all there creature comforts are assured and where the children are happy. They didnâ€™t do the normal sojourn of London or the obvious Nigerian choices but have found themselves a piece of heaven where their house is in the middle of a wide expanse of land and greenery!
Their move got me thinking and I totally buy the idea of moving to a place where I am convinced I am firmly entrenched in the place of Godâ€™s perfect love for me. At this stage in my life all options are open and I have embracedÂ Psalm 24; the earth is the Lordâ€™s and the fullness thereof… any part of that earth where harmony of the elements and the creatures can be found is looking very good to me now.
So what is the heart of Providence for us all? How do we identify the place of Godâ€™s perfect expression of love for us? Right now that place for me is a place where all my loved ones are to be found and they seem to be giving my city of abode a wide berth.
Between the incessant power cuts, horrible roads and crime, Lagos is fast losing its appeal. The bigger picture is that life is what we make it and no place is home unless it embodies some modicum of harmony with a realistic expectation of some peace.
I have found my requirements for Eden would be warm weather, constant power supply, little or zero crime and a marriage of nature and man to create a beautiful home; that would be the heart of providence; at least for me.