AS we are constantly reminded of the brevity of life, what would you say if you were to eulogize yourself knowing that death is an inevitable occurrence? Oftentimes, we deliberately choose to forget about it or not to discuss it until we lose a loved one. When it occurs, we tend to use euphemism to express it.
Some of us are so engulfed with bitterness toward self and others that we don’t even realize when we cross the line in our insidious quest to eliminate our purported enemies. It is not surprising that in most cases our purported enemies are our fellow brothers and sisters. We oftentimes forget that death is an inevitable end to all the madness in life.
Even when we are too busy planning on how to undermine others and or chasing after wealth for ultimate power, the last thing that comes close to our mind is death.
Well, due to scientific and medical advances, some people may now know when, where, and how they will die. Some people are diagnosed with terminal diseases and are given a length of time to live. Also, people facing execution know when, where, and how they will die. However, most people do not know precisely the time they will die. Most people do not know how, where, why, and when they will die. The nature of death to most people is still highly unpredictable.
Without a doubt, no matter how much wealth, accomplishments or successes in life or power, we must be conscious of death and no one will be buried with his/ her earthly possessions.
However, our only consolations are legacies and fun memories we may leave behind. How long those memories will last will depend largely on our work when we were alive. When people are gone, their legacy may or may not live on. I am hopeful that you would join me in agreement with the following statement: “History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.” –Marcus Tullius Cicero 106-43 B.C., “Pro Publio Sestio”, II, 36.
Let’s contemplate on this—if a body lying in state were to speak, what would it say about itself? Again, if you were to eulogize yourself, what would you say? Ponder for a moment and imagine that you went into rhapsodies replete with veritable statements in self-eulogy; would you quickly run out of good things to say about yourself? If you would take time to write your eulogy and follow the scripts religiously in your daily living, would that make you a better individual? What would you want people to say in your funeral oration? Would you want them to talk about the following qualities of yours: character, your service to humanity and community, and your behavior and attitude toward the needy?
It was stated that the first word in the book of character is honesty. Honesty is the most frequently referred variable when talking about one’s character. It seems to stand out in one’s character and it is easily observable and measurable both scientifically and non-scientifically.
Other components or traits of character besides honesty are integrity, humility, accountability, transparency, unselfishness, compassion, courage, etc. Zig Ziglar once said that, “The foundations of character are built not by lecture, but by bricks of good example.”
Similarly, service to humanity is another way to evaluate one’s worth when he or she was alive. Some people live selflessly for the most part. They contribute to humanity meaningfully in relation to their possessions. It is amazingly apparent that one cannot give what he or she does not have. A person cannot give peace or love if he/she does not have them. In the same token, hateful and angry people can only sow seeds of disunity because that is what they have.
Most often we focus on money as the only thing one can give. Riches are individually and relatively defined based on our respective backgrounds. People are products of their environments. As a result, our perspectives in life are different. In essence, you can give to humanity other things besides money. We are richly endowed with vast and variety of resources we could share with others if we so desire. It is evident that my spirit was captivated by what was embodied in the content of the words spoken by Leah de Roulet, a social worker, who counsels terminal cancer patients. In her words, she said, “I am led to believe that if there is a real purpose for any of us, it is to some how enhance each other’s humanity–to love, to touch others’ lives, to put others in touch with basic human emotions, to know that you have made even one life breathe easier because you have lived.”Service without reproach is seminal in public accountability. No matter where you are placed in life, it is both your moral and professional responsibility to discharge your duties in an impeccable manner. Those individuals in government should have the courage, the moral, and character to discharge their contractual duties and carry out their societal obligations without blemish. Most people go into politics to enrich themselves instead of serving the people.
The prevalence of venal politicians in Nigeria makes one wonder if there is public aversion of corruption. Our primary focus should be the interest of the people. Many people hold the same view, including Sidney Powell when he said, “Try to forget yourself in the service of others. For when we think too much of ourselves and our own interests, we easily become despondent. But when we work for others, our efforts return to bless us.”