We share superficially. We know that when we share we might be known and exposed. We only share what will help us retain a relationship for a while. Husbands don’t share enough with their wives. They give shabby reasons for not sharing. Children do the same. If someone gives them money especially if they are students, they will not tell their parents less it lessens what they will get from their parents. Of course there should be trust in sharing. People don’t share because of their past experiences and they do not want a repeat of them. In a family of many, a father weighs his words before speaking to his wife even before his first son who has become a menace in the community.
His intimidating posture can make his dad keep quiet when he is swimming in the pool of vices. Some people feel that sharing in today’s world is frightening and that is why many wear masks and hide behind clichés and greet people with a polite hand-shake and plastic smiles. We cover a lot in our relationships with others. Everything is ‘patchpatch’ to avoid being misunderstood. Saving one’s face is the order of the day. Negotiation is good rather than confrontation and allows us to remain in friendship. We maintain artificial friendships. All are in the name of ‘i don’t want his wahala’. How do we then maintain a healthy friendship? How do we help each other grow? It is by discovering and seeing the trusting side of each of us. Some of the sides exposed may frighten us but because we love, we accept that side and help the person change knowing that change is gradual. In helping people change, we should not be judgemental. We should be sympathetic and put ourselves in that person’s shoes.
The time we failed doesn’t matter but when we rose is necessary. We cannot help a person change when we assume to be ‘Mr Right’ all the time. The human aspect of us must be used to help the person. How we overcome the human aspect is important. Jesus’ model of treating our fellow man must be applied all the time. Love is a powerful way of dealing with a person locked to himself, a person afraid to share, person who keeps every hurts and disappointments of life to himself alone. Love helps to open the door of his heart to heal his woundedness. As he begins to see the power of love, his real self begins to emerge. He begins to see the universe unfolding. He begins to see that shared vision leads to growth and creativity. We should not spend all our lives building boundaries that separate us from each other, suspecting each other, hurting ourselves by building castles in Spain and unrealizable dreams.
We can only overcome all these when we build trust in others and by overcoming the cultural hang-ups in us that distances us from others. This is a great behaviour that creates mistrust; the inability to come together to build a sustainable society. Sometimes, ethnocentric sentiments blur the vision of living together as a nation. We need to work on ourselves, and local nuances, tribal slurs that negate others and use Jesus’ values to wash away all these tribal hang overs to be world class instead of local champions. The problem we have in Nigerian politics is that a great number of politicians are on different political wave lengths which make Nigeria ungovernable. Some of their aims are utilitarian; self –interest “what can I get” at the expense of “what can you do for Nigeria”. Sharing with those who have different aims can be difficult. They forget that problem shared is problem solved. Some of the politicians fight one another instead of solving our problems together. Shared ideas help to promote unity and understanding
• Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of many books and a social Justice and Peace Advocate.