Circumstance

You are defined by your actions, not by your circumstance.

Nothing is new, I couldn’t sleep. So, from my bed, at 3 in the morning I decided to look outside my window. Compared to the hustle and bustle of the week, it was peaceful and quiet. The office building opposite lit up the street but not one car makes its way down the road. I liked the tranquility. I realize, as my day has yet to come to an end, to someone else, less than an hour away their day would begin. Is it fair?

Every day the sun gracefully rises and sets to the west and every day carries different meaning, struggles and happiness. As I stare out my window, wide awake, I ponder upon the complex network of multi-cultured people that dwell on this planet, each one going about their everyday life. Again I ask, is it fair?

Just yesterday I read a quote by John Clarke – which also prompted my need to write this article – it stated “how can a slave and master both worship the same God, when both of them expect their prayers to be answered by this very same God?” I don’t know about you but Clarke definitely got me thinking. Atheist aside, we all believe in God (despite the various denominations). Belief is supposed to raise hope and give purpose to life. The fact is, all human beings have free will. It’s the ability to decide what we believe is best under our circumstances.

what-is-belief

Religiously, on the basis on free will and circumstance, how is it then that some are condemned for the choices they make? Who determines the right from wrong? As an atheist, over the years its been scientifically understood that humanity’s primary objective is to survive.  Only the fittest among us shall survive hence procreate over generations, which is through adaptation. Then again, in the endeavor to survive, why are others judged for their choices? It’s a perplexing concept.

As a Christian, my belief has always been that God gave us free will but we become responsible for our actions. Socialization instills in us the nature of morality, the right and wrong, the good and bad. Therefore, the decision we make have a personal reflection on oneself. Upon meeting a liberal English pastor, I began reflecting on my belief. According to him, I have a privileged outlook of life. Same goes to the many educated individuals in the world who don’t suffer in poverty. My socialization and status quo are privileged thus should not be taken for granted. He further explains, a child who is born and raised under poverty for instance, whose parents like all, only want the best for their child however incapable turns towards prostitution as a girl or dealing drugs as a boy, are they to blame for the choices they made under their circumstance? Since humanity is all about survival, then this child, with little to nothing, is s/he to blame for the poor choices? As to them, as a matter of life and death, they choose to live inadequately rather than the alternative. A common phrase ‘it’s better to do something than nothing at all.’ To be clear, I am not justifying any actions on the basis of poor circumstances. Rather, I want to understand the choices and behaviors that are influence by circumstance.

rich-and-poor

Alternatively let us consider the other coin, the world of the elite. It is not uncommon to use marriage as an instrument of securing wealth and social status. There consists of arranged marriages, marriages of convenience as well as marriages of transaction. Hereby, both parties mutually benefit economically as well as socially. According to the elite however, such behavior is considered acceptable. They have to consider the survival of generations. Nevertheless, when the same principle is applied between a member of the elite and a partner of a lesser cohort, society constructs such behavior as social climbing. The connotation of which is negative.  Shouldn’t those who are privileged be role models at promoting positive free will and not the vice versa?

The world is a complex food chain and human behavior makes it all the more difficult to decipher. It’s taken years for sociologist to understand patterns of human behavior, and there’s more in the horizon. Circumstance acts as the significant determining factor of human outcome but is not the sole factor for our actions. We as humans are responsible for our free will. Therefore acting on our instinct to survive we must use the cards dealt to create a fruitful outcome.

A Romance for the Decades

It’s a Cinderella story. Not the part where the clock strikes midnight but the part where the prince is determined to find the rightful owner of the shoe…

Isn’t it a cliché? Talks of true love, the one or happily ever after? Yes, life is not a fairy tale. But I have witnessed true love in my life; hence there’s no way I can believe otherwise. This couple’s love story is ordinary, at the same time, mind-boggling. The two strangers met at university, and that was the beginning. Eventually they got married and started a family of their own. Like I said, this isn’t a fairy tale, this couple has been through their fair share of struggles, through it all they have endured and prospered. This is my definition of a romance for the decades.

black

It is unfortunate to say, but I have never been in love. “A heart break is worse than breaking a bone” says my friend. Why? Her justification is simple. With a broken bone there is medication to numb the pain whilst there is no such medication for a broken heart. One simply has to endure every painful moment before they recuperate. Yet even with this in mind, I am determined to find true love.

The truth is I am at that phase in life where half of my friends are contemplating where the best rave for the weekend is where as the other half are happily engaged or pregnant. I am at a crossroad but, I envy the latter. To some, I openly indulge in their bubbles while others, well, actions speak louder than words (ahem, I worry for their egos). But I love them all the same.

Who are they? Who, despite the drawbacks of dating, have me willing to risk my heart for a taste of their happiness? They mean the world to me. They are conventional African man and woman. They wholeheartedly fulfill their conjugal roles, with the man and the breadwinner and the woman providing emotional support. But then, what makes them special? It’s a Cinderella story. Not the part where the clock strikes midnight but the part where the prince is determined to find the rightful owner of the shoe.

Being traditionally African, I have not heard much of their story, in fact, only the basics. Nonetheless, I saw a sane man go crazy; his actions were enough to make me a believer. The husband was willing to search all stores in the city to find the one specific shoe for his wife and would not settle for anything less. Although his efforts were fruitless, his actions go beyond commending.

rings

Sometimes in love, it’s the actions of each partner that are endearing rather than their verbal communication. This couple has celebrated 35 years together and the shared communion is still present today as it was when they first met. Many will share in the joy of this story. However, with modern times, the sacred institution of marriage has lost its significance. Couples tie the knot for various reasons but love doesn’t make it upon the top 3. The union of matrimony is a promise between two people, that should never be broken. But statistically, the divorce rate tends to be generally higher that those who rate of those who wed. What has society come to?

Therefore I shall admit, I want to find my prince. The one I will share my life with until death does as part. I want to imitate this couple, whose love will last for years, who additionally also happen to be… my parents.