Restitution is a must for anyone who claims to have any integrity or good conscience!! When we err, we owe a duty of making restitution; an apology is the beginning of that process!! Some people stifle their conscience by hiding behind age, or some form of superiority and they fail to do the right thing by owning up to their misdeeds and making amends!
There is a phenomenon that we all know as karma, the definition being that you reap what you sow; all actions have equivalent consequences! Some years ago, I read a beautiful book by an author called Gary Zukav; in it he likens karma to sending out a sound and its resulting reverberations. To him a sound is not an isolated event; it travels back and forth with company.
Sound travels and expands and the echoes are felt even after the sound is forgotten. In other words if you send out evil it will come back to you in bigger doses than what you originally sent out and vice versa! I like to think of karma as throwing a pebble into clam water; the ripple effect is felt over a wide area and may trigger events that are felt in the surroundings long after the pebble has settled at the bottom! For every action good or bad, there is a natural law of reaction!
My grandfather was the chief Ifa priest of Ile-Ife (the Araba) and while I never met him, I may have inherited an appreciation of the rich culture of the Yoruba! I was particularly fascinated by the Ifa mythology and thank God salvation came calling in the nick of time!$
I had spent quite a lot of time with one of my uncles and enjoyed learning about the intricacies of the interaction between the different deities! Olodumare was the main deity and credited with creation of the universe, the other gods were more or less his lieutenants who administered different aspects of the universe.
It is almost similar to Greek mythology as Zeus was the Yoruba equivalent of Olodumare. I learnt about Orunmila who was the product of a coupling between two women, who had dared to challenge Olodumare and do without men in the process of reproduction! They were almost successful except that their child was born without a single bone in his body; he was Orunmila.
In that state he had appealed to Olodumare who had pitied him and given him the gift of divination; that way he made his living without having to move; people came to him, to him the origin of Ifa is credited!
My uncle and I differed in our chosen religions (he was an Ifa devotee and the last of the priests) but he was a fair man who didnít begrudge anyone their right of belief, he did find it amusing and a tad embarrassing that all his children had become Christians who were desperate to convert him; it would have been nice to see him saved!! Some people kept him at a distance because of his beliefs but I have to confess that I was genuinely fond of him and enjoyed all his stories much to my motherís horror!
The one thing he always said to steer clear off was karma; in his mind, no one gets away with anything; there are no remedies for karma, you must restitute and get absolution! His own idea may have included cowry shells and goats but he always emphasised how important it was to beg for forgiveness from a wronged person rather than to walk away and carry the karma!
He likened it to having a hump, nothing can hide it, and you carry it around! He strongly believed that a conscience had a louder voice than any mouth, it will continue crying till it gets justice; either through restitution by the offender or an intervention by the gods!
I had found his argument more compelling than most people as it was not quite what I had expected from what had been a hitherto dreaded figure before I got t know him! I had thought his beliefs and choice of religion meant that he specialised in administering evil and my initial reaction at his person had been terror!
My first direct contact with him had been his voice penetrating through a fog of rage that had enveloped me in a fight with my cousin! I had been wrongly accused of misplacing something and had flown into a rage when the cousin had refused to apologise even when someone else had owned up! The venom that was spewing out of my mouth is better forgotten than written and he had intervened!
He demanded that I get my apology and took us aside to explain that all actions had consequences. To my cousin, he explained that anything I said would have justifiable ground in the spiritual and would likely come true, so apologising was her way of making peace and restitution. He was concerned that I would curse someone out of anger and began to counsel me on the power of the spoken word!
He said words carried spiritual power and authority, he explained the power behind declarations and incantations! When I tried to explain that I had been sorely provoked, he reminded me of karma and that even if my actions or utterances were in reaction to something, the words that I had spoken would also have karmic consequences for me as I would have set off another chain of events in motion that would have their own consequences.
I remember reading a novel where a billionaire had said his method of self preservation was a slight amendment to the Law of Moses!! An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was amended to an eye for a head and a tooth for a limb; it apparently kept people well away from his body parts!
I thought the argument was sound and before I knew better I strongly believed revenge was a very necessary act if one was to be respected! I have however found that theory impracticable as one never knows where to draw the line; believe me it gets very messy!
The amount of bad karma that followed the fictional billionaire transcended generations and his theory may have removed a few heads and limbs but in the long run, he had more tragedy that his billions could fix; I would call that bad karma indeed! It is very human to hit out when weíve been hurt and taking revenge at times is soothing as I must admit a perverse delight can be taken if one can dish out just deserts to people who cause hurt! It is my personal belief that some people are just thoughtless and mean; they should be made to wear the shoes of their victims and see how they would feel!
I have a healthy respect for the rule of law but get really exasperated where the punishment is unfit for some crimes. When two little girls were declared missing in the little English village of Soham a couple of years ago, I joined the whole world in outrage when it was discovered that they had been murdered by the caretaker boyfriend of their school teacher!
The press was inundated with photographs of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in their Manchester united t shirts and I remember crying when the news broke that both girls had been killed on that fateful Sunday that they went missing! Killed by a man who gave interviews appealing for their return; that led search parties and gave their parents hope!! My reaction had been to say to hell with karma, send the bastard to Lagos and let him be lynched Naija style; watching him dying by mob action would have been worth any bad karma!!
My new found fascination with the phenomenon of karma has to do with a situation where my counsel was sought! A friend of mine was severely hurt a couple of years ago and she is now doubly incensed that the person who hurt her so badly has the temerity to come begging her forgiveness so he could turn his life around!
This man, whom she had employed, housed for years had turned around to literarily rob her blind and eventually absconded out of the country. 5 years down the line he is back, claiming to have lost everything and that his pastor had told him it would never be well with him till he sought and got her forgiveness!
Having suffered a similar fate in the hands of some employees in the past, my first reactions had been to suggest she lock up the criminal and avenge her self with every means available but then again, whoís to say where it will end?
Supposing the guy dies in detention, commits suicide or somehow manages to transfer some of his bad luck across? My friend had made a full recovery from the financial setback and we both decided that raking up the past would cost more time and even money than it was worth, so she will give him the absolution he so desperately wants!!
Between his conscience and his pastor, they could take it from there. It seems when you wrong people, itís never too late to make amends and restitute!!
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yoma jemigheye warri, Nigeria March 30, 2012
Great inspiration, Debbi thanks I never knew dat conscience cries louder dan voice n der4 restitution is very important inorder 2 live a blessed life. Hmm great words
ololade lagos, nigeria November 25, 2009
thanks for the article. pls kindly send me debbie ogunjobi's email. my email is temmy88 at yahoo.com
Kunle Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria April 26, 2009
Your article on restitution illuminated the inner recesses of my mind. Up till this moment, I was bent on levelling up with a friend by paying him back double -fold the way he had paid me. It hurts to find out that those you rely or repose confidence in would play Judas to you anytime, anyday.
Reading your piece has indeed mellowed me down.I have decided to forgive him and go ahead with my life.Inspite of the drawback however, I shall continue to wish him the best of luck.
Funke London, United Kingdom January 03, 2008
Thank you for this article.
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