Some years ago, I was told the story of an old man who suffered greatly at the hands of his wife when he got very sick and was bedridden. Unfortunately, the wife was an impatient woman who treated him harshly – she didn’t feed him well enough, change his beddings often, or take the time to make sure his room was always clean; she also didn’t clean him properly when he toileted. In fact, the story was that the man was often left so hungry that once, he ate his own feces. This is a true story.
That story is one that has stayed with me for a long time. Often, I would wonder at the wickedness of the wife’s heart for I could not comprehend the reasons for her horrible behavior. On a visit with my father one day, I discussed the story with him, expressing my shock at the woman’s wickedness. Expecting my dad to quickly condemn such an act, I was surprised to get some silence from him. When he spoke, I, in one of those eye opening moments, realized the difference between youth and old age for in his words, I saw another aspect of the age old cliché – you reap what you sow. He condemned the woman’s acts but again, he said there might be a back story to that story.
‘How was the relationship between the man and his wife, especially when they were younger? Was she treated well or was she used and abused at his whims? Did he cherish their vows or did he make her miserable almost all the days of his active life?’ At my protest, he explained that he was not in support of vengeful acts or wickedness in any form for our battles should be left for God to fight on our behalf, but after his many years on this planet, he’s come to realize that a lot of times, we really do reap what we sow. You can imagine the whirlwind of thoughts on my mind as I left my dear old dad that day.
In our many relationships, whether it’s with friends, family, colleagues or spouses, sometimes we act only for selfish reasons. Somepeople get it right, giving their best even when they don’t get the best of others. But for some, they give their absolute worst and ironically, they are the ones who expect the best of others. Digging deep, I found the back story of that story which was that the wife had been abused all through the marriage; she was a woman who never had a moment’s peace in that relationship when she was weaker so now she’s stronger, she has become a bitterly, vengeful woman. This does not excuse her actions in any way for they are absolutely condemnable but it makes you reassess the type of relationship you have with people in your life. How well do you treat them? How helpful are you? Do you lend an ear, even if you can’t afford to lend a hand, in times of trouble, or do you quickly turn your face away when they have a crisis because you hate to share the burden of others? Are you willing to suffer some inconvenience to help a friend or do you place too much value on your time and space? Do you always focus on what you can get out of a relationship – rendering help only to people you know you’ll get something from? Are you a good spouse to your partner or do you take delight in terrorizing him / her, making sure you render them a physical and emotional mess? Do you agree or offer to help a needy colleague or do you quietly watch them fall flat on their faces so you can get ahead at their expense? Maybe, you even throw them under the bus so you can shine in front of the boss. Well, whatever the case, just remember the tired but true cliché – you really do reap what you sow.
Some may ask – if this is true, then how about the many amoral and corrupt people who enjoy so much fame, wealth and success? What of the people who backstabbed their way to the top? What of the lying cheating bastard person who is happily married to the husband or wife of someone else? What of that promiscuous neighbor who sleeps with older women for money – he is doing so well now, is he not? What of that old school mate of mine who will die before you chop his one naira, but still, everything seems to work perfectly for him? What of the husband whose abuse of his wife has cemented his position as the head of the house? All I can say in response to this is another cliché – the grass is always greener on the other side. From the outside, it may appear like these people are getting away with their bad behavior but that might not be the case. We might not see the fruits of their labour but somehow, I believe it is there. They may be reaping theirs in the form of wayward children, blood sucking relationships where they are surrounded only by people who want something from them (no genuine friends),strange losses in their lives, heart wrenching betrayals, or in the case of the old man – a bitterly vengeful wife who maltreats him when he’s down. Or maybe, just maybe, they are not even reaping anything but are cruising enjoyably along – who knows? Whatever the case may be, I think we should all try to always put in our best in our relationships even if we don’t get the best out of it. You want to make sure you do all within your power and limitations to sow well so you can reap well. I sure will be doing the same.
Share your views, drop or reply comments below