Thanking the Blister that I refuse to let become a Scar Ep. 2

Earlier this year, I found out that someone for whom I had voluntarily looked like a fool in order to help was scamming me or at the very least, misrepresenting facts. Truth is, I had been a little suspicious. When we were in law school together, there were things he did that made me a bit suspicious. I won’t go into that.
I had done even more than you’d expect someone who was related to you to do but this person seemed prepared to continue scamming me and his whole family was in on it. I’d like to say I was angry but I really wasn’t. I was hurt, I felt betrayed but at the same time I don’t know the full story. And I don’t want to know. I don’t care anymore. Obviously some of the story is true but there are some bits that he forgot to mention, such as a very inconvenient addiction to designer clothes and an entitlement mentality.
If you’re Nigerian, you’ve probably heard rumors of a person who gave something to a beggar and nothing ever went well for the person again. You might have watched movies where the elder brother of a person would ask him to come back home for Christmas. Then, when he returns home and gives same elder brother money out of the goodness of his heart, he ends up dead the next day and his family are consequently treated horribly by the elder brother of lore, after which they sing mournful songs to their departed husband and father, begging him for help, one of them joins “bad gangs” and another gets tempted by bread and cold Fanta left on the roadside but eventually doesn’t eat it, but then, we see someone who does eat it and turns into a lovely chicken (I’m basically giving you the storyline of Onwa December here).
I should be upset. I know. But, before I decided on whether or not to be upset, I talked to God. You see, I had very strongly felt that God had wanted me to help that fellow. It was an incredibly strong feeling. I wouldn’t have done so much if I had believed otherwise. But this year, that feeling, that certainty washed away. I doubt God will ever ask you to do anything where there is an absence of need. And I had helped him anonymously about a week before he came, presenting another “urgent” request.
I asked God, “Why did you have me help this person? Why didn’t I just give everything I gave to someone who really needed it? Why? I’m feeling like such a fool today. I’m feeling so betrayed. So ashamed. And this shame, it is not my shame. By rights, I should not be feeling this shame.
I help people because you asked me to help people. I help others because your Word says that I should. That she that watereth shall also be watered. Why did you have me help someone who did not need it? Someone who was actively, along with his family, scamming me and mine. Why?”
And then God said, “The fact that he doesn’t need help now does not mean that he never needed help. Haven’t you wondered why you no longer feel any desire to help him? That desire to help him, it came from me. He asked me for help. I sent you. Now, I have withdrawn you. You once asked me, that whether or not you give things to people who actually need them or to scam artists, that I should give you the blessing of the giver and neutralize any plan to use your gift for evil. Can you say that I have not kept My Word? Can you say that you have not been watered?”

And I couldn’t. So I rested. But I refuse to give him anything else. There are many people, so many people who genuinely need help and I won’t help a faker when I know he’s faking. Not anymore.
I have many similar stories. Of people who burrow their way into my life because I’m supposedly nice and generous.
There was the woman who entered a tricycle with me and begged me to pay her fare. Actually the begging came after. She entered the tricycle, not knowing me from absolutely anywhere and looked me up and down. Obviously assuming that I could afford to pay both my fare and hers, she simply asked me to pay for her. I stared blankly at her, then she begged me.
Or the person I met at my sewing classes. The instructor is the one I actually blame for this, because he was the one who asked him to ask me for money. What, do I have Billionaire stamped on my forehead? Anyway, it was around the time I found out I’d become a lawyer and I believe in sharing happiness. But since then, he calls me almost every blessed day. And I’m crazy tired.
Once, I was walking back home from sewing lessons and I saw this woman begging. I walked by but, because of something (the fact that she had two kids), I went back and gave her some money. Then before I knew it, she sent one of her sons to shadow me. I mean, I gave her mint. And you can’t just have one mint note in your purse. How can? So her son walked behind me a long way off, asking me for money all the way. I actually planned to give him something. I did. But I wasn’t sure I’d have enough money left to pay the okada guy I planned to take, so I told him to leave me alone and he retorted something along the lines of “God will not bless you”. I want to say that I laughed but that statement made me so angry.
One of the funny tales I remember has to do with a certain woman who had a baby and was begging for transportation to go home. I gave her enough money to get home, then she looked me up and down, very contemptuously, might I add and said, “What about my baby?”.

When I was younger, as recently as 2014, I used to feel obligated to help people. Obliged to actually. Whenever I had the very human desire to not do a damn thing, I’ll remember my mom saying, “There are many people with very serious problems in this world” and I’d dip into my pocket and surrender whatever I had. There were times I wouldn’t have money for myself because I had given it to someone else who supposedly needed my help. Since 2014, I’ve come to realize that not everyone seeking help actually needs it. That not everyone who stands, kneels or lies by the roadside actually has a problem. I’ve seen a supposedly blind man look at a phone and make a phone call. In so many ways, I’m jaded now. I’ve seen way too much to believe everybody’s tall tales. I’ve been scammed a little too often to trust blindly.
Earlier this year and early last year, I promised myself I wouldn’t give a damn thing to anyone. I could actually imagine God laughing at me when I said that. I broke both those promises very early into the year.

But I’ve talked so much about the negatives. Let me tell you about the positives.

95% of every thing I own is a gift from someone. My shoes, my hats, my watches, my perfumes, my laptop. I hardly ever have to buy anything. The minute I think, “Ooh, I’d like that”, someone brings or buys it for me. No one ever had to tell me that if I give clothes, I’d get clothes. I wanted shoes, so I gave shoes. I got 4 pairs of shoes. I give perfumes, I’ve never had to buy perfumes for myself. In fact, I used to complain that people only ever seemed to give me perfumes.
This year, I want someone to send me a cake. So I will (complete the sentence).
There’s a lot of benefit to giving people things, honestly and no matter how many times I get scammed, how many times I get so mad when someone looks at my gift with disdain, I doubt I’ll ever stop doing it.

However, something I recently inculcated in my life, is to sniff out the motive for whatever I give. In 2014, I pretty much emptied my savings of 6 years in attempt to help God save me. Or take my life. Other times, I’d do something bad to someone, apologize, pray, still feel bad about it and then go on to give something I hadn’t planned to give. Guilt giving. I’m trying to eliminate that from my life. My top top top top love language is Acts of Service. I’m one of those people who goes awww when the man in a show cooks and cleans for his wife. I don’t awww as much when he brings gifts. Case in point- How I met your mother. The episode where Barney scrubs Ted’s apartment and fills the fridge with milk. His motives were “selfish”(I don’t think so personally), granted but Awwwwwwww! (Watch it). One of my most watched episodes of all time.
And I decoded all the things I wanted someone to do for me, no strings attached and I started doing them for others. Stand up so I can sit down in a BRT? Check.
Pay my transport fare? Check, due again though.
Buy me lunch? Check but it’s due again.
Send me a cake. Negatory. Anyone have suggestions?
Etcetera etcetera.

Sometimes, I do stuff that specifically can never be repaid.
My point is simple. Wherever you can, whatever you have, do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be money related. It can be as simple as helping a woman hawking drinks lift the basin onto her head or standing so someone else sits or calling passengers for a bus or taking the fares and sorting out change if the bus has no conductor.
But you have the power. So much of it. And you might not see what your sacrifices will bring for you but I once read this prayer:

” Lord, may we never lack people to stand in our defense. May our good gifts and our sacrifices continually speak for us in the evil day”

Somebody say Amen!
*

By the way, as soon as I’m done with Ebube’s story, I’m going on strike.

*

http://www.shadesofbrownnigeria.blogspot.com.ng/2016/02/dear-african-womanyou-are-not-good.html?m=1

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9 thoughts on “Thanking the Blister that I refuse to let become a Scar Ep. 2

  1. You are truly of a different kind of specie with a heart of gold. I feel your discontent and whatever in between.
    Seriously I dont or can’t seem to fathom the reasons why so many people especially Nigerians have this entitlement mentality. Its scary and crazy when you experience these things.
    Givers never lack they say but who auction that statement. The only consolation of the whole thing is that you will never cease to receive your blessings and favour that accrue to being a giver. God will always make sure of that.
    I’m someone like you too as about 60% of things I own are gifts.
    Thanks for not letting those blisters turn into a scar thereby demoralizing your giving spirit especially when some givings clearly confuse our sense of reasoning sometimes.
    Great post as usual!

    1. The entitlement mentality of some people deserves a special post. I don’t have time for it though. Nor the inclination.
      I firmly believe that givers never lack but I’m currently being very specific in my giving.
      Amen, amen and amen.
      Thank you so much Immanuel.

  2. I feel your pain dear as many people take advantage of those who give and I bet that they see how good you are and decide to ask over and over again. I give too…a whole lot and most times I give all that I have because I feel that no matter how much I give, I’m still better than the person who asked for my help. I know someone who bears close resemblance to the person you spoke about in your narrative, he became a pest and continued asking and asking and worse of all, even borrowing and never paying back but I struck and when I did, he didn’t like it.
    I am not going to tell you to stop giving because giving in itself is a gift, some people are ‘givers’ and others are receivers, and I’d rather be a giver than a receiver because it means that I have in abundance.
    I can totally relate with ungrateful beggars and I was like ‘what?’ when you said that the beggar asked you for money for her baby too. I get it, Nigeria is tougher than it was last year and trust me when I say that last year was tough so, this year is sooooo tough. A lot of people have had to struggle so hard to make ends meet but it doesn’t mean that everyone they see dressed nicely or looking like they have no care in the world, doesn’t have any use for money.
    One of my major prayers is the prayer for discernment. I always pray to be able to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, good and evil, bad people and good people and it totally works.
    I love this write up and I could totally relate.

    1. Discernment is a very important gift. Honestly. But I don’t ask for discernment myself. I ask God for the blessing of the giver and that he neutralizes every plan to use my gift for evil, whether the evil is meant for me or not.
      Definitely, so many people have it tough and I really like helping people.
      Apart from the motive for helping that person, it’s important for me to be able to relate to that person as normal too.
      Keep giving, Adaeze. I’m guessing there are a lot of testimonies you’ve received as well?

  3. Strike kwa?! Been batting PHCN issues and fuel scarcity wahala so I haven’t read this post since 😦 and my battery is currently 6%. Will give a robust reply as soon as PHCN calls off our quarrel 😉
    I won’t go into my mishaps with giving sef, I learned plenty in junior secondary school! Right now I give only what I can forget about, I give and forget I gave.

    1. Amazing philosophy. Personally, my mom always taught me to give something I personally would love to receive. So I give the things that pain me to give.
      Sorry about PHCN. Tell us about work soon, eh?
      Waiting for your more robust reply too.

      1. Maybe it’s because I don’t like “things”, I’d rather you spent time with me and we do stuff together than giving me gifts or money (well money is always welcome though).
        Truth is human beings will disappoint you again and again. Even family will break your heart over the most trivial of things, but you’ll bounce back, forgive and move on. That’s the resilience of the human spirit and being a Christian only makes it easier.

      2. In every relationship you need to do the work, make the time investment and get to know the person, whether they are family or friends or colleagues.
        But there’s always a place for things too. And of course, human beings will continually disappoint. I once had a roommate that lived by the mantra, “no expectations” either her of her or from her. I did not agree completely with it then or now. But that’s a story for another day.
        Take care of you Adaezenwa, yeah?

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