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My sweet mother was the burden bearer on my road to greatness – Edward Onoja

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I recently completed a small apartment for my sweet mother which I will be formally handing over to her soon by the grace of God. Of course, I have helped people, including providing shelters for people at various times in my life. Each one we were able to do comes with its own satisfaction but none of them is as significant or as satisfying as building a house for my birth-mother, no matter how small.

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The reason is not far-fetched. Success is a journey and we travel farther when we have people willing and loving enough to take time off their own journeys to carry your luggage as you travel yours. Jehovah is our Ultimate Burden Bearer, but without doubt, among humans, my mother was the first and one of the greatest burden bearers of my life. A story from my teenage years which happened exactly 35 year to the day today will suffice to illustrate.

When I gained admission into Federal Government College, Kwali, Abuja in 1985, we were to resume on November 2nd of that year. Due to a mix-up, mother and I left the village, Ogugu in the morning of 1st November, journeyed through Ankpa to Okene by-pass where we boarded a ‘luxurious’ bus heading up north via Abuja.

It was getting dark when we arrived the FCT, and mistaking Government Secondary School, Yangoji for FGC Kwali we disembarked and the bus zoomed off. By the time we discovered our error the transport was long gone. In those days traffic was nearly zero on that stretch of road after dark so there was nothing for it but to hoof the rest of the way to my school, which was still 5.1km up the road on the Lokoja to Abuja highway.

Me, once I travel small on any vehicle during my childhood I develop intense nausea, and with it severe headache. That meant I was in no shape to carry my own box, loaded down and heavy with books and other paraphernalia prescribed in the very lengthy prospectus for a fresh student resuming secondary school. Poor mother had to do the honours. I cannot remember how many hours it took us to walk those kilometres, mainly in pitch darkness except for the occasional flood of light as an occasional vehicle sped by. I do recall it seemed like forever and I was nearly passing out when we arrived. I did not remember to ask how mother was doing.

I have since reflected on this event, many times over the intervening 35 years, and there is no doubt that mother bore my burdens that night, like she had done for years before and would do for years after. Even today when she is retired and one can afford to give her some level of tender loving care, she is still on permanent duty as my burden bearer – in prayers and in counsel.

“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13.

Is it not amazing that the Almighty God chose to liken Himself to a mother when it comes to describing His ability to comfort us? My mother’s love helps me to understand that divine analogy. It is doubtful if any other being on this earth is able to comfort like a loving mother. Her ability in this regard is certainly divine. I testify that my mum was all of that and more.

“Children are God’s love-gift; they are heaven’s generous reward.” Psalm 127:3.

Today, her sacrifices have birthed men and women of means who can give her almost everything her heart could wish for, yet, she continues to be the one giving us comfort. Children are truly a reward. Even if I had little by way of material wealth in this life, I would be only too glad to allocate my mum her due share. Unless parents who were irresponsible as their children were growing up, only foolish people see their parents as burdens. Every parent who laboured to raise children deserves to receive as many rewards as possible from those children.

Dear Mother, You bore my burdens for years, it is now my turn to shoulder responsibilities for you. I am honoured, and I count it a privilege from the Almighty God Himself that I am able to succour you in any way at all as you continue to age gracefully for us. I could never repay you for the years and years of sacrifice on behalf of the family, as in, nothing will be enough, but just understand that your little boy will never be too big to be your little boy.

I love you mummy.

Eddie.

 

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