I don’t know if you anyone ever told you that today was all that mattered; do whatever you could to survive the day and darn the consequences for the future would take care of itself. I’d tell you such counsel is dangerous at best and catastrophic at worst. Because believe it or not, the outcome of the future you’d encounter depends on the foundation of bricks you lay today. And looking back, I’d admit, I didn’t fall short of building a terrible foundation; no wonder my life almost came to total shambles. How did it all start? I’ll indulge your curiosity.
My father drank to his death after he was laid off from his security job and my mother was in no form to take care of us by herself. So she thought it wise to ‘distribute’ her children to her benevolent family relatives whiles she got herself a life. Come to think of it, I must have inherited her ‘survivalist’ traits. But I could blame no one but myself how my life played out after I arrived at my uncle’s house.
I wasn’t happy knowing that I was being shipped off to live with someone else and I had heard horrid stories of how terrible life could be under such circumstances. I was born lazy, my mother said it almost every day and I believed her. So becoming someone’s servant because I was a ‘permanent guest’ was a no-no for me.
Just a look at my uncle’s wife told me this was going to be a warzone. But my uncle was nice. I had to secure myself in the house in the quickest possible time. I actively searched out some leverage to hold on to. When I soon realized my uncle was being ‘nicer’ than usual, I knew I had a decision to make. I believed in ‘keeping myself’ till the Mr. Right came along but my present situation demanded a paradigm shift. I had to use what I had to get what I want and at the time, I needed security. After playing hide-and-seek for a while, I finally decided to ignore the tiny voice in my head and commit my first ‘major sin.’ What actually instigated the move was my auntie calling me a ‘lazy, good-for-nothing’ girl just because I hadn’t washed the dishes well. I was willing to go with the former insult although only my mother had the right to call me that but good-for-nothing? I had to prove her wrong in one way or the other. And then I thought, which better way was there than to take her place on her matrimonial bed? Diabolical thought, I know but you don’t expect a lazy girl to come up with anything more genius than that, do you?
So yeah, that happened; again and again. And it came with its material benefits. Money and clothes were no longer a problem. As intuitive as my auntie was, she suspected something was up when all complaints about my slothful attitude to house chores fell on my uncle’s deaf ears. She realized my wardrobe had changed and Uncle would admit he changed it without blinking. She knew she was in trouble and started threatening to throw me out. Thankfully, it was almost time for me to go to the university and I myself was counting the days to get out of the house. I was tired to playing Hagar to this old ‘Abraham and Sarah’ couple.
I got admission to the university and I was just ‘showing appreciation’ to my uncle for all his support when my auntie walked in on us. The look on her face was priceless! And the look of shock and horror on my dear uncle’s face was beyond amusing. I just made out of the room and house with ‘minimal damage’ to my body. Good riddance. I had the whole world to explore.
Oh, what a new big pond I found myself in! I was a small fish but I needed to grow. Romance was for campus lovers and I was way past that. I needed to survive and the ones with the deep pockets were the married ones like my uncle. Thanks to the ‘tutorial’ I got back home, I knew just what to do to keep the cash flowing. And because I was a good daughter and sister (at least), I used to send them some money from time to time. It was my way of ‘tithing.’
My college days were fun as I recalled it. But my cup ran full when one of the ‘angry wives’ tracked me down and paid some mobsters to give me a good beating. I was so lucky I came out it alive. I had received some threatening calls and messages from her but I didn’t take it seriously. I thank God she didn’t resort to an acid attack because that would have totally ruined me.
That was a rude awakening for me. I realized I needed a turnaround and I found God. I decided to make good of what was left of my life and applied for a masters’ degree overseas thanks for the money I had saved during my ‘hay days.’
I left to the UK, leaving behind my tarnished image and embraced the second chance. That was when I met my Mr. Right. Unlike me, he had grown up in a stable home and has always been a ‘good boy.’ If I could turn back the hands of time, I would change my past so I’d feel deserving of the angel that he was. Apparently, we were in the same college back home but we read different courses so our paths never crossed. I was anxious that he might have heard rumors about me but when he didn’t show any such signs, I was relieved. Campus was a big place after all.
After I had graduated with honors, he popped the question and it felt like my whole life was beginning to make sense now. We had to come back home for the traditional rites, something I wasn’t so amused about knowing my history but for the love of my life, I was ready to take the risk.
Unfortunately, one of his friends happened to be one of the many guys I had ‘bounced’ back on campus. He later confronted me about narrating my history to my fiancé unless I gave him a piece of the cake that I had denied him before. Was this karma? I called his bluff and refused because I was a different person now and I wasn’t going to be bullied to become who I used to be.
As if that was not enough, my fiancé took me to see his mother one day and lo and behold, my dear old auntie who happened to be a friend of the family was a-visiting!
You can imagine the near heart attack I got! She kept quiet whiles mother and son chatted and would flash me deadly glances every other minute. I knew I was in deep trouble. How I would deal with my fiancé’s friend and now her at the same time before I got to the altar was beyond me. She would definitely ‘de–recommend’ me to my mother-in-law to-be before that happened. And as expected, she called me later in the evening threatening to make my life a living hell after I had destroyed her marriage and rendered her a widow. I had no idea my dear old uncle had passed. I was saddened by the news but I had my own problems to deal with.
Four days to the traditional marriage and the guy’s threats got more frightening. I knew I had to confront it head-on since all my prayers for him to disappear didn’t seem to work. I found myself on his front porch knowing on his door but my feet rushed me back to my car before he opened the door.
I felt so guilty and I just had to offload it. I drove straight to my fiancé’s place and in tears, said I had something to confess. He listened quietly whiles I recounted my horrible life story. His response stunned me. He knew exactly who I was when his eyes first fell on me back in the UK. But he realized I was different from the rumors he heard back in college. So he got close to find out for himself. Apparently, he was in the know about his friend’s blackmail. His friend was of the view that I was still the same ‘bad girl’ on campus and he wanted to prove him wrong. I gaped at him, not knowing whether to be angry or relieved. How could he subject me to such a test when I had almost failed? He said he knew I wouldn’t go through with it and he was glad he was right about me. My auntie had also ‘briefed’ his mother about my past but he had managed to convince her that I wasn’t that person anymore. Was he for real?
As I walked toward the altar, my life events began to flash through my mind and tears threatened to fall but I wouldn’t allow my past ruin the makeup marking the beginning of my future. Thankfully, my auntie was a no-show at the wedding and I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding gift. Unlike me, my sister came out much better than I did and my mother was proud of us both.
My past was epitome of everything bad but when I found God and decided to lay my rags down, he turned my life around. But that doesn’t mean your past wouldn’t come back to haunt you. If it does, don’t try to defeat it using tactics of the past like I almost did. Conquer it with the new you and the God who makes all things new will prepare a fresh life for you and give you beauty for your ashes.