THE PRESERVATION OF SELF (PART I)
By Akin Ojumu
Choices! Choices!! Life is full of choices.
Duh! That’s an oxymoron – a no brainer. Everyone probably makes a thousand of them every single hour. What’s not so always obvious, though, is the motive behind those pesky little decisions people make on a daily basis. The motive behind every choice hides behind the shuttered windows of the recesses of the soul.
What informs our choices? Why do we do what we do? What powers the engine of our choices? What drives the decisions we make?
Understanding the motives behind our choices is a lifelong quest of mine. Even now, it remains a difficult one for me to write about. I continue to struggle to find the right choice of word to express my flailing thoughts. It’s like being asked to give a vivid description of the physical appearance of nothingness. Oh yeah! You go ahead and give that your best shot.
What’s life without a choice? We live and breathe this stuff. There is no hiding place from it; it follows us everywhere we go. We cannot avoid it, there is no refusing it, to not make a choice, is a choice in and of itself. Just as our body is made up of clusters of over a hundred trillion cells, our present state in life is an embodiment of the collective choices we’ve made up to that point in our lives. We are, in essence, a consequence of our choices.
From the very beginning of our conscious existence, we have been condemned to a life devoted to making choices. Since the day we bawled our way out of mother’s womb into this world, we became the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company called, “Choice PLC; the Maker of Choice.” Even the course of our present existence was set in motion by a single choice. The one made on our behalf by Mama Eve, the day she decided to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was a turning point in humanity. From that day forward, mankind and choice became locked in an eternal embrace of life and death.
In order to unlock the mystery behind what gives voice to our choice, the Garden of Eden will be the logical place to start. So off to Eden we go. Let’s pay a visit to the man and woman who set in motion the present predicament of the persistent questionable and harmful choices we make in life.
It was a typical day in Eden’s Garden. The sprawling estate was in a pristine state. A perfectly gorgeous summer morning: the clear blue sky showered sparkles of light on the luscious green trees, swaying gently to the rhythm of the slow-moving wind, traveling from the west. The air was filled with pure joy and music, all creation singing praises to their LORD and Maker. The sweet-smelling savor of their praises suffused the atmosphere, ascending up to the throne of Glory. Oh what a joy! What exhilaration!!!
Such was the day before evil took center stage. Who could have imagined that a great evil was about to befall the earth on this fateful day?
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the trees which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’ And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” Genesis 3: 1-5.
Evil descended upon the world from that moment, an eerie silhouette against the radiance of that beautiful morning. As it slithered its way into the scene, the creeping thing released a mushroom cloud of toxic vapor into the atmosphere, corrupting the lives all around.
In the twinkling of an eye, the singing, the dancing, and the rejoicing all came to an abrupt end. The tranquility of that day was shattered with a terrifying shriek; a wail of agony that continues to reverberate from generation to generation.