There is a painting whose possession Ive held for the past 4 years. I had it with me in my last three years in College, brought it down to Lagos when i started my internship in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, and when i finished and needed to vacate my room there, it was one of the very few things i brought back home. Sometime in the distant future, when you sit down to try to reflect on what the heck i was trying to say in this paragraph, I'd love you to remember one thing only- That I truly love this particular canvas. So now that we've established that one fact, let me go on to describe another painting-
the one i did not buy.Exactly... the actual painting i should have had all along! Perhaps, if i started from the beginning, you'd understand this random rumblings of mine. So that's where I'd begin. Where all good stories should begin anyway.
After 3 years of Med school. I concluded I had had enough! Chill... I don't mean of wanting to be a doctor, but rather of living in the hostel. Seriously. I couldn't take it any longer. For goodness sake, i spent 6 years in F.G.C.L (Ijay) living in the hostel. with its insecurities, decrepit social amenities, and pseudo-jungle habitation. After that, i was bundled in one mushroom like room or another for another 3 years in Unilorin and had to live with other people- an assortment of personal idiosyncracies, everybody with their own unique brand of madness- from time to time. Truth is, till date, nostalgic feelings of shared experiences flood my mind from all the camaraderie Ive been blessed with in the course of these co-habitations, but sometime at the start of my Clinical Postings, I felt i needed my own space so i got a room of my own off campus. One of the very first fantasies i had to fulfill was a need to own an artwork i could put in my own space.
Enter Post Office, Ilorin, Kwara State.
The fact that town planners (Or whoever the hell it is that names streets) couldn't even spend time to give this place a name of its own, but rather just looked round and called the area by the name of the first structure they could see- gives you an impression that Post Office is not your every day posh neighborhood. By extension, i wasn't out to get a painting by Van Gogh. In any case, I couldn't exactly afford any of these over priced works. At least, not yet. So i worked up to the first stall where art works were sold. That was where it caught my eye.
It was a water color piece. About 2.5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It was a landscape painting i almost swore had been drawn with the colors of the rainbows themselves! It depicted a sea side with birds, and trees, and tower houses and clear blue skies-each competing in cheerful colours, and depths of beauty as far as the eyes could see. It was like no matter how breathtaking the immediate scene was, each time i peered deeper into the landscape, i found out the scene that unfolded was even more awe- inspiring than what currently held my gaze. A sudden epiphany gripped my frontal lobes like a hungry baby, its mother's breasts. I realized that no matter how rosy things were, there was always the possibility that the future held even greater and brighter promises for me, and that i could never afford to be complacent in life but rather keep on forging ahead, gracefully, hopefully...
That was the day i wrote this. For me, life is definitely a beautiful journey...
The beautiful journey
A time not too far away
Is where I want to be
It is as beautiful as it is obscure
Yet my soul longs for it
Like an eagle for the skies.
Though I stand in pseudo-paradise
I clear my mind of lazy haze
Lest complacency becomes my lot
And I dwell in this place for ever.
I pick myself up forcefully
From my bed of beautiful
And trudge relentlessly
Towards a place that’s more beautiful
To a land that is pretty and fair
Where ravens of fortune shall bear me up
And springs of peace soothe my soul.
Someday when I get there
I’ll rest awhile
Before picking my mind up
To begin a journey
Towards the land that’s yet prettier and clearer
Not too far away…
So the question beckons. Why didn't i pick up that painting, but rather chose the one next to it. Equally beautiful, just a notch less inspiring. This one was also a seaside painting, of a ship that had just left the shores. A Little bird looked on forlorn as this ship set sail. Like a close friend had just begun his own journey into life- something which one way or the other, you finally realize is a personal experience, no matter the size of your family...or your heart. There was a calm look of acceptance on its face as it dawned on it that it was time for it to begin its own beautiful journey... alone.
Still, the question begs for an answer. Why this canvas and not the other? Maybe it was because, in some cynical parts of my soul, i feared this was closer to home than the other. It was like this one looked more realistic. More pragmatic... but beautiful nonetheless. Some other parts wrestle with this, and argue that this is just one of those decisions you make but are never quite sure why. But this two dissenting voices in my head are clear on one thing- that the life we've been graciously given was made to be a beautiful one.
As you set sail into this new year, here is wishing that you don't fall short of the great expectations the good Lord had when he made you.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!