By Udeme Archibong
EVERY child conceived and birthed into the world is meant to bring happiness to both parents as they nurture and shower affection on the child. However, this wasn’t the case of a baby who was delivered into a family in Benin in 1938. Due to the baby’s sickly and fainting nature, his stern hard-hearted father told his mother to dump him on a garbage heap and leave him there to die.
The mother pleaded and wept to her husband for their son’s life to be spared. But her pleading and tears infuriated him and hardened his heart all the more. Eventually, his wife, out of weariness and frustration, took the baby and literally dumped him on the garbage heap at night. Even so, the bowels of the woman yearned desperation for her son.
After about three hours, there was a downpour of rain; the mother could take it no longer and rushed out of her home to snatch up her child from the piles of garbage. When she arrived at the scene, she was very excited to find that her son was yet alive, although soaked with water and passionately wailing; and she returned quickly to her home.
She fed her child but shook with fright as she thought about her husband’s reaction when he would arrive home. Upon seeing the child, there was the expected outburst of anger.
Outburst of anger
“Just as I thought!” her husband shouted. “You’ve brought that worthless baby back from the rubbish heap-that’s the crying I heard in the night!” With tears running down the wife’s cheeks, she responded, “He’s going to live! How can you throw away your own son?”
But her husband’s mind was made up, and he said, “I am going away for a few days to visit my timber stations, and when I come back, I better not find the baby in the house.”
The wife sensing the finality in her husband’s words, left with the child to go to her grandparents’ home. The years went by, and the child grew stronger. The wife and husband reconciled, but the father’s hatred and rejection of his son remained. At the age of 11, the boy was sent by his father to live with an uncle in order to learn farming, while his siblings attended school. At his uncle’s house, the boy was treated as a slave.
His childhood and adolescence were filled with rejection, torture, and poverty. But despite the ill treatment that engulfed him daily, he never became bitter, upset or resentful. Instead, he grew up caring for his father and showering him with gifts.
The “worthless child” as pronounced by his biological father, grew to become a great asset to his generation. But this would never have happened if Archbishop Benson Idahosa hadn’t let go of the memories of the hurtful past and approached the future with forgiveness and unconditional love.
When we cling to our hurts our lives clinches to a halt. When we contaminate the present with the poison of the past our future becomes pungent. When we harbor unforgiveness we lose our power and the person who offends us gains power to control our emotional lives and hurt us. When you hold onto hurt, you hold onto hate and when you hold onto hate you eventually become what you hate. Being bitter leaves our lives battered.
Whatever consumes your thoughts controls your life. When you let your emotional bruise dominate the domain of your mind you become a brute and life becomes brutal to you. Don’t let your past imprison your future. You can’t embrace the future when you hold on to the past. Release the past through forgiveness then you will be able to lay hold of an amazing future.
Don’t let your pain be the focal point of your life. Don’t let your grieve make you groan through life. Unless you can get beyond your past, you can’t grow above it. The exit of the old ushers the entrance of the new. Self-pity ends up in the pit of despair.
Let go of your hurtful memories, live from your creative imagination. If you want to be whole, let go of the old.