A SUNFLOWER IN THE WILDERNESS

A name that used to strike fear even in the heart of the stoutest heart in Lagos is Oshodi. It used to be a terrible part of Lagos filled with hoodlums and delinquents coupled with unsavoury and filthy surroundings. But, this was way before Governor Fashola’s reign. He arrived on the scene like a fairy godmother and waved a wand of transformation over the location.

But despite the change, the place is still the last place I would expect any rational business owner to establish an outfit. This reason was why my mind was boggled when I took my dad to a diagnostic center he was referred to in the locale. I felt like a flower enthusiast who had discovered a sunflower in the desert.

Stepping into this cool totally air-conditioned white atmosphere from a dirty, noisy environ, made me feel I had passed through a dimensional time warp. Wonderment coursed through my veins as if I were a hillbilly seeing a mega metropolis for the first time. This site had more efficiency than a computerized bee hive, and there were enough LCD screens to make a clodhopper think he was in Times Square. With the teeming crowd of clients, the activity was reminiscent of an ant colony and also as orderly.

Seeing this laboratory right in the heart of Oshodi was like discovering a coruscating jewel in pig swill. It was almost unimaginable, the only unsurprising thing being that the outfit is owned and managed by Indians and not Nigerians. To cap it all, this business has been a real blessing to Lagosians because their rates are about the cheapest in the whole country. It costs an arm and a leg to carry out the same investigations in Nigerian owned diagnostic centers.

The questions that assailed my mind like a band of Visigoths attacking a legionary base are why, despite  the huge number of radiologists and radiographers we have in this country, it had to take immigrants to establish about the hottest lab in this city.What magic did they employ that our own people do not have?

As I thought about it, it occurred to me that some of the distinguishing factors are VISION AND FAITH. As different as these two indispensable factors might be sometimes there is actually a thin line between both of them, hence it is stated in the Holy Writ, that we walk by faith and not by sight. Faith sees what the ordinary eyes cannot see; vision sees what normal sight cannot visualize. To stand out beyond the frontiers of a life that is middling at best, we need vision. Someone said that the eyes that look are many but that the eyes that see are few. VISION MAKES YOU SEE WHAT OTHERS DONT SEE!

This is why Helen Keller said it is a terrible thing to see and not have vision. She went ahead to say that the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched but they must be felt with the heart. The question might arise that the Aston Martin 177 (since it’s connected with James Bond, I will give it the most beautiful car in the world) or the impressive Burj Al Arab Hotel can be seen and felt, thereby debunking her statement. But the truth is before they existed in the natural, they had been seen and felt by someone and that is why they materialized in the physical. Innovators had created them in their minds. They had lived in some believer’s heart. FAITH AND VISION ARE OF THE HEART! They make the tangible from the intangible. By the time the invisible things become visible, they become ephemeral and temporal and very soon will be taken over by more beautiful things in another person’s heart when converted from the spiritual to the physical. Before anything can exist on earth, the creator would have already seen it in his inner eyes, there would have been crystallization in his inner man where the physical eyes cannot probe. It takes a spiritual telescope to see the stars of possibility in this immaterial Milky Way. This telescope is vision. Those Indians had seen that center before they built it. Creativity thrives on vision. It is what makes the incorporeal real.

It is vision and faith that built that center in Oshodi, converted the Las Vegas wilderness into a neon city, turned the semi-arid untillable land of the Jews into bountiful yielding soil, and made Governor Fashola transform Lagos from a filthy state into a green land.

For us to move ahead as individuals and a Nation, the twin towers of vision and faith must become an integral part of our lives.

Do you know that lower animals like moles and bats cannot see but get along pretty well in their world? Moles build great tunnel systems and earthy skyscrapers (molehills might not be considered to be a big deal but for a small animal it’s noteworthy) yet we can’t build roads. even though bats can’t see, they navigate their air space but our air travel is still nothing to write home about. These animals can achieve these feats even though they lack sight because they have vision.

The truth is that our eyes cannot penetrate the stygian darkness of ignorance, the dense gloom of bad leadership and the murky depths of blackouts that permeate this nation/continent. Sight is useless in Africa because all we mostly behold are heart breaking and incapacitating things. We need vision. Our sight can only penetrate as far as a struck match in a bottomless pit. VISION GIVES A LIFT ABOVE LIMITATIONS WHILE SIGHT BOGS POTENTIAL IN IT!

In martial arts training, blind folds are used so that the trainees can depend less on sight and have other senses heightened. That is quite a lesson for us to place less premium on what we see around us and to increase the depths of our vision. For this nation and continent to move forward, we need more visionaries and more “Imagineers”.

Did I ever mention that Helen Keller was an American author, political activist and lecturer? She achieved all these even though she was deaf and blind. The distinguished lady was the first blind person that earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. SHE DID NOT HAVE SIGHT BUT SHE HAD VISION. So if we should ever listen to any expert on vision it would be her.

What about you? Do you merely see or you have vision? Do you have what it takes to see a sunflower in the wilderness?


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