One thing about impartial, dead reality is that ubiquitous tragedies – feared guests you hate to have at your table – imperiously find their uncheerful, rugged routes to your life anyway. Tragedies are ostensibly mere alien stories when you are not a victim of their brutality. And they seem kindly partial when they hold other people in threatening brutality. It seems, tragedies are piously selective of their victims when you are not in their thrall.
You seek asylum in religion because you think the statue of the progenitor of your religion, the holy book, the anointing oil and praying objects are ferocious and fearsome to tragedies. In religion, you think you have found a deft solution to tragedies. You put the holy book in tragedy familiar spaces such as your car. And you sprinkle the anointing oil on your food and drink before you guzzle them. You clutch, caress and squeeze the holy book; a sign of lowly loyalty to the power of it. You become a religious “crybaby” sounding the potency of the holy book and the anointing oil with indiscriminate fervency; that they have made you impregnable, and a tragedy to tragedies.
Your squeezing embrace of religion seems to dovetail with cloistered expectations- expectations of protection. You are invincible under the loving arms of your religion. You think your cloistered expectations have shamed logic after all; the logic that tragedies are indiscriminate selectors of victims. The heathen logic does not apply to you. You are beyond the immeasurable reach of tragedies.
In the wild of your religious exuberance, you get word that tragedy has visited Brother Richard. He has lost a leg in a near fatal motor accident. Brother Richard is the Sunday school teacher at your church. A stout, dark complected, fire spitting brother who knows the book extraordinarily. He is a faithful brother, you know it. However, for tragedy to pick on him shows that he has some peccadilloes; peccadilloes which may be too great for God’s condoning or obviation. He is a victim of such a somber tragedy because he harbours some sins. You think. It cannot happen to you because you are under the protective canopy of a formidable trio- the holy book, the anointing oil and the God of your religion. In a spirited affirmation of your impregnability to tragedies, you restate the Pentecostal line, “it is not my portion”. Your religion assures you that you are beyond tragedies. You are simply untouchable. You rigidly keep all the commandments in the holy book. You will not take any chances. There can be no chink in your armour. You are fortified by God, the holy book and the anointing oil, and you will remain so.
Another faith shattering word comes to you. Your pastor, Nicholas, has been diagnosed of prostate cancer, the malignant type which has dutifully spread to his vital organs. He has just six months before he crosses into Death Avenue. This one hits you hard. Pastor Nicholas has been a paragon of what your religion represents- faith, love and grace. He seemed invincible; a spiky fish too deadly for any tragedy to swallow. Nevertheless, that tragedy chooses him for company means he has “little foxes”. You noticed how people praised him. Perhaps, the effusive praises made a sortie into his head and bowels causing him to belch pride. God simply wants knock off the arc of his pride by letting the tragedy of cancer consort with him. You express sternly in your head finding a guilty reason for your pastor’s tragedy. Again, you re-mouth, “It is not my portion”.
By a strange unfurling of despised kismet, you start to have unusual symptoms of an ailment you cannot name. Symptoms like lethargy, shortness of breath, nausea, swollen legs, swollen eyes and high blood pressure war against your system. You ignore them at first because you think somehow they will meet their untimely end without a pill fight. After all, tragedies of whatever kind detest you. They are just alien species who do not know the way to your door. In fact, you are fortified by a dangerous combination of God, the holy book and the anointing oil, and even certified blameless. You have been living by the holy book for fear of life’s tragedies. So you are tragedy-proof.
Alas! The symptoms persistently show their aggression. They form an enervating metastatic matrix almost shutting down your system. Then you go to hospital. Tests are carried out on you. You believe it cannot be grave. Grievous things do not happen to you. “They are not your portions”. After some pensive time, you go back to hospital for results. The doctor with a professional aspect and accent announces to you that your kidneys are revolting. They are almost grinding to a halt. And that means you are experiencing kidney failure. You are flustered. Words cannot tell the crust of your shock. After everything you have done to remain tragedy negative, it finds you in the most unlikely places. You are now a client of tragedy. It has found your lowest common factor (LCM). Welcome to tragedyville!
Your illness progresses dangerously. You become a philosopher. You now understand that tragedies come to all irrespective of religion, actions, inactions, deeds, attitudes, beliefs, class or race. Tragedies are generously distributed by fate to all at different choice times. About life’s tragedies they are dead reality which comes to all.
You know better now because you are involved.
P.S. Let none think that he is beyond the grasps of tragedies for they come to all at their leisure.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and a poet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 08167992075