The question on all our minds most of the time when forecasting the outcome of one generation succeeding another is whether or not family values, cultural ties and tradition would be maintained. Even if DNA and other biological features prevail it is hard to tell whether our mannerisms and perspectives in life would die in our generation or stay on through many more to come. Nowadays there is growing pressure on all of us to ensure that our children steer away from our failures and our mistakes. Like our fathers and fore fathers we desperately try to change the pattern of our children’s lives reflecting on times past and vowing never to see our children suffer the hardship that we endured. It is a good omen to desire a better world where things are easier and we each respect one another but it is a bad omen to believe that times past and the hardship we came through was a catastrophe in our lives. It is so easy to forget that if we had not endured what we did then we won’t be in a position to have the wisdom and better judgment to pass on to future generations. In other words the spiritual delineation is overlooked. We choose what was culturally correct, traditionally positive to reflect on and forget to tell our stories in the honesty in which they occurred. The truth is we are afraid of being looked at as failures by our children and future generations so we make our past reflect only what we consider to be good in the flesh hoping that one day our epitaphs would portray imagery of bravery, love and devotion to a good course. Who is to tell that by not trusting the instincts of our children and allowing them to face some of the trepidations in life that we undertook we are not preventing them from spiritual growth and their understanding of the word of God. In a way we seek sympathy from future generations for our mistakes when they should not be considered as mistakes but another time in life, another experience and another spiritual voyage.
In those times be they good or bad we did what we did because we thought that we were correct in our judgment, what future generations would do when faced with the same problem would depend on their judgment. The fact remains that unlike the biological features that depict generation to generation spiritual reproduction comes directly from our Lord and savior Jesus Christ . Through him we are all called to God and to the understanding of the word of God. This is not a family tree that goes on into infinity to discover our roots or bearings but a family tree that is perfected in an instant, a second just by accepting the word of God.
When my mum told me about this time in her life I viewed it as success in spiritual recreation than failure in the wisdom of man. She made a journey one day from my grand parents home based in the central part of the country heading back to our home in the south. The drive was from a town called Douala to another called Victoria (Limbe is what it is called today) with a pit-stop for the buses at a town called Tiko. She met a friend at the bus station in Douala and they both got on the same bus headed for Limbe. Their bus arrived early in Tiko and they stood around waiting for another to take them on the final part of their journey to Limbe. The transport system in Cameroon at that time was one big yarn. It was an arbitrage for the highest bidder to get a seat on the earliest possible vehicle that became available. The middle men made the market by getting the passengers for the drivers and adding a premium to all fares to support their efforts. I don’t know if the system is any better today but back then my mum said that she and her friend had to scamper around the parking courtyard in search for space in any of the vehicles headed for the south. They eventually came across a vehicle that was partially empty as some of the passengers battered heavily with the middle men for the remaining seats. My mum and her friend decided that the competition was far too complex for them and decided to approach the driver directly hoping that they stood a better chance of success with the key man. As they approached the driver and began negotiating their position she noticed my dad and another woman sitting in the front passenger seats of the bus. My mum was immediately taken aback by this and greeted him. My dad responded as though she was a stranger and ignored her pleas with the driver for a place on the bus. I would say that fortunately for my mum she and her friend where unsuccessful in getting aboard the bus as only one seat was available and neither of them wanted to leave the other behind. The fact remains that the humiliation of finding her husband with another woman and his efforts to completely ignore her was already enough to stomach without having to sit in the same bus and watch them for another hour.
This event took place when I must have been about twelve years old and I only heard about it in my early thirties. I am glad that my mum told me this even though it was very sad and not what I would wish for anyone. Her story and many more of the same are a testimony to what we all have to endure at different times in our lives. The home that I lived in had its ups and downs yet in my youth I never knew of the humiliation that my mum had faced by herself. I haven’t heard my dad’s side to the story neither do I stand in judgment of his actions but the fact remains that I can draw strength by the positive outlook my mum developed from such an occasion. Today she tells me that the Lord is her guide and had been during those tough times when she sat alone and cried in humiliation at what my dad had done. The interesting thing about this is that knowing my dad’s history he came from a home where he too was subjected to a father that had other interests elsewhere than his immediate family. In a way he inherited the culture and kept the flame burning to what was wrong.
Today when I look back to the tribulations that my mum faced I can gain hope from them and know that I do not have to retain the life my dad led. However I would live my life freely knowing that the only guarantee I have of not bringing the same hurt and humiliation to anyone else’s life is by trusting in the belief that God is in our midst no matter where we may be.