I’m a medical doctor. Ghanaian Doctors have two first, broad options just like in most places worldwide: Physician or Surgeon. Simply put, a question of whether you’re more comfortable in the Consulting Room or the Operating Room. Without going too far into the nitty gritty of those options, let me just say that it’s the first question I ask junior colleagues when they’re almost through with their mandatory rotations through Housemanship and feel confused as to what path to take in terms of choosing a future specialty to focus on – “Are you a Surgeon or a Physician?” Answering it is the first real step in figuring out which path to take and believe it or nor, even an answer of “I’m not sure” has a direction in which it’s pointing the person. Basically, I’m asking them “Who do you think you are?”
Now the thing here is that I, in particular, am a Surgeon by blood – literally & figuratively. I come alive in the OR and I survive through most of the less exciting consulting room work because it’s preparing both the patient & me for the OR in a significant number of cases. I’ve leant towards Obstetrics & Gynaecology though and the most common surgical procedure there is the Caesarean Section. Done in time and properly, you save both the baby and mother in one fell swoop and even if she doesn’t bother to say “Doctor, thank you!” at the end of the day (like most do), it helps you sleep at night because you know you did your best that day.
In the effort to become better however, we time ourselves because our proficiency with the procedure may be evidenced by how fast you finish the operation – the underlying Truth, however, is that it’s better to take too long and not have to open up again because you messed up, than to finish at record speed with further complications on your hands!
In training someone to perform a Caesarean Section, it’s often important to teach how to get to the baby and deliver it in record time – under a minute preferably – because most reasons for a C/S involve a dire need to deliver the baby in haste. It’s very rewarding to deliver a baby in mere seconds, but with time you realise that it may be responsible for actually lengthening your total operating time! How?? In entering the abdomen and uterus for delivery, you have different options on how and where to cut but cutting wrongly, while it will result in quick delivery, is more than likely to cause you to have one hell of a time in closing up afterward!
In my short time supervising people learning under me, I’ve come across both types of people – those obsessed with a short operating time, and those dedicated to the Method. Considering the number of times I had to be called to try and fix some error or the other made by both categories, I’d say the former make the wrong choice every time. This realisation got me thinking as I tried to get better at my work since I began.
It’s thinking about all this that led me to a profound Truth about certain things in life. There’s the Door, and the Window. Entering through either Will get you into the House, but the Route you choose will change your Identity as far as the House is concerned. Just for a second, think of the Route as your choices in arriving at your desired destination – the House. Now, while some people will insist that the End justifies the Means, I beg to differ. I beg to differ because I’ve come to a Conviction – past a Belief & way past a Hope – that in this life, the Journey is far more important than the Destination.
“Why is that?”, you say? Well, for 2 critical reasons which serve to switch your point of view totally:
- Your Destination always changes – a new job, a financial goal, a relationship with someone; no matter how long and how hard you work at it, your purpose for doing whatever you do will always change and at times it swings so far off course that you abruptly find yourself supporting the other side! Can’t imagine it, huh? Remember how you felt about Jerry when you were younger? Don’t you consider him now at least half as responsible for all that unpleasantness as much as you damned Tom?? Now that you’re older it’s much easier to see the mischievous pest he was to the family and Tom because you reason better…through growth and experience.
- The real Goal of all the things that happen to you in Life is not to get you somewhere, but to Change you for the better! You’re not being forced by your mother to learn how to make palmnut soup just so you can make the soup, but so you gain the ability to wait patiently while you work, judge between different choices of taste, and many other things that you might not realise will change your life in tiny ways for the better.
Speaking of what I’ve learnt so far, the good thing of it all is that as long as you have a good Attitude about things, you can always come away with a lesson or two – even from your mistakes…
The Good Book describes the One who enters by the Door as the Shepherd – the Owner, you could say – while he who chooses to enter through a Window instead of a Door is a Thief, a Robber. It’s obvious that that verse spoke primarily of the comparison between Jesus and the Devil, but I stumbled upon another angle to it all…you.
A question you should try asking yourself in whatever you decide to achieve is “Am I going into this by the Door or the Window?” You’ve got to realise though that while Both the Owner and Robber end up inside the House, ultimately one of them Will be chased out because he has no Ownership.
Par exemple, James was approached by the Accountant and some other powerful figures within their Advertising Agency to spearhead a plot to overthrow Mrs. Sintim, his immediate boss and the founder of the Agency. The plan was to cautiously approach all the Board members individually before calling a surprise Board meeting and moving for a vote of No Confidence in her ‘creative direction’, shortly followed by a vote to install him – James – as the acting CEO in the interim until the arrangement can be solidified.
Asking for a day to think it all through, he was surprised to find himself parked outside Mrs. Sintim’s residence at 9:10pm that evening as he tossed the idea about in his head. A CEO at 32 years of age was 5 clear years before his audacious life plan goals and though his eyes did light up at the thought, a niggling memory at the back of his mind that wouldn’t let him have any peace with the plan was of how the Deacons and Elders had come together to push his father – the Rt. Reverend now, but then common Priest F. F. Oduro – out of his very first vicarage after 14 years of priesthood, under false pretenses. He’d seen the hurt in the stoic but calm-hearted priest’s eyes first when the transfer order came through without even a fair hearing, but he’d also been at home to see grown men begging the priest for forgiveness on their knees another 14 years later when the truth finally came to light on the matter. He could also just see the ruin of a building that church now was whenever he drove by on the highway on a journey to and from Cape Coast.
Sighing resignedly, he opened the car door and walked up the drive to ring the doorbell. It’s not worth it, he thought when he realized his mind was already made up.
Then there was also Agyeiwaa who sat in the swiveling chair, her friends all around as she grinned from cheek to cheek, showing off and admiring Edem’s diamond ring on her finger.
“True love really exists o.”
That was Ellen. Self-designated Frenemy #1 since childhood. It was not until Secondary School that she stumbled upon the saying “…keep your enemies closer…” which happened to perfectly describe the relationship between these two ladies. Living in the same neigbourhood, going to the same schools and having almost the same friends seemed like Life’s grand plan to keep throwing them together to see how high the sparks could fly!
This time however, Agyeiwaa had the clear upper hand! Inviting Ellen to be one of her 7 bridesmaids at this bridal shower was the ultimate putdown she could engineer to shove Ellen into the place she deserved once and for all – beneath her feet! And everything was going according to schedule. The Vera Wang wedding dress was in, hair & nails were all done and on point, the Engagement had been a real life fairytale covered by 2 different photography studios, and the first prints were already on Instagram and were already at 300+ likes in just under an hour! She’d put Ellen in charge of checking that out every few minutes of course and the only thing that somewhat dented her contentment with that arrangement was Ellen’s brave face to the annoying task.
“Time to call my boo!”
She got up dialing Edem’s number on loudspeaker, and continued in a sing-song voice as he answered the call.
“Hello boo of life!”
“Hi booboo of life!” He responded good-naturedly and she could almost see the catching way his cheeks dimpled whenever he smiled.
“Hope you and your boys aren’t doing anything naughty this night o,” a pout evident in her voice now.
“Oh, is that your worry? I’m going to pick up some meat from this new joint I found so we all pig out and catch up on some matches this evening. Relax, koraa. At least that’s one advantage to marrying a big boy now, isn’t it?”
“Okay o, honey. I hear you. Call me before you sleep ok? I love you. Kisses!”
“I love you too baby girl.”
He clicked off just as all the girls chorused as if by intention, “Awwwww!”
Agyeiwaa was solidly on Cloud 9 this evening and nothing could bring her down.
“Hello! Auntie Bea, ɛte sɛn? Saa? Okay, mereba sesei ara!” [Hello! Auntie Bea, how is it going? Is that so? Okay, I’m on my way!]
Ellen came closer to whisper in her ear “Auntie Bea o, she just got to town and apparently Kobby isn’t at home. I’ve got to go open the gates for her. I’ll be right back, okay?”
“Oh sure. No problem.” If you like koraa, don’t come back. I’m sure this’s all paining you but you can’t say anything. Ɛnhye wo!
Smiling beautifully, Agyeiwaa dismissed the thought of Ellen before she even exited the hotel suite.
“If you don’t come back early you can meet us at the Lounge, okay?” Elikem shouted after Ellen as she hurried out.
“Where have you been Ellen? We already finished our first round of drinks without you” Elikem’s voice was already sounding a bit slurred.
Lightweight. Ellen thought, smiling as she sat down and stretched over Agyeiwaa, snapping her fingers to attract the attention of a passing waitress. “One bottle of Moët please!”
Something caught in Agyeiwaa’s throat just then and she got up from the comfy loveseat not really understanding what had got her worked up just then until she found herself dialing Auntie Bea’s number.
The number rang until it cut abruptly. Then barely a minute later, her heart skipped a beat when she got a WhatsApp alert from Auntie Bea – ‘Ayeforɔ*, how are you? Is everything okay? I wish I could be there to watch you tomorrow o. Anyway, God bless you. Let me know if I can help with anything. :* ‘
Her heart then began to race as she suddenly felt a need to sit down, staring at Ellen who now had a glass of champagne in her hand, laughing at one of the other girls’ antics.
Their eyes locked for a second and understanding flashed between them as Ellen laughed even harder. Probably the most curious part was the thought that flashed through her mind as she wondered whether Edem’s ex-wife – her boss – ever smelt Gucci’s Guilty on her too as she came back from ‘lunch’ one of those times…
Caesar could remember how the Pastor’s words sounded in his ears when he accompanied Aisha for their first official introduction to the church to announce their upcoming marriage.
That was like 5 days ago – okay, 6 days (it was now 1:15am) – and he lay in bed trying to muster up the urge to pray.
He blamed Paa Kow for all this nonsense. He was the one who had started all that talk at work on the need to test the car before you drive it off the lot! He’d started in with tales of small ‘members’ and frigid women and ended over 30 minutes later with an emphatic assertion that it wasn’t natural for a man to not ‘get some’ before he got ‘locked down’.
The concept had burrowed into his subconscious and taken root until he found himself bringing up the idea to Aisha 2 days before. As if he’d had a recorder on him, he put forth every carefully crafted argument Paa Kow had proposed, systematically breaking down Aisha’s every objection. By the time he was done, in fact, he was even more thoroughly convinced than when he’d begun.
She stared up at him, a curious look on her face as she smiled.
“Okay sir. When do we do this?”
He was shocked to silence for a second and finally spluttered “F-F-Friday night. I’ll close early and grab something for us to eat on my way home. Cool?”
“Sure, love. Count on me…”
Come Friday night. Caesar had gotten some Chinese food from a restaurant on the way back and some ice cream for dessert. Paa Kow was most helpful in providing directions to where to get scented candles, edible massage oils and the best in latex ‘protection’. He’d also given Caesar a copy of his ‘Getting Laid Mix’ CD, winking conspiratorially. That part, Caesar admitted to himself when he got home, was decidedly creepy…
Having still not heard from Aisha by 8:30 in the evening, he called her but she was unreachable. She however sent a message shortly after, postponing the meeting to 10pm instead and asking him to eat without her because of some last-minute emergency that had arisen at work.
Lying in bed alone at 1:00am, he’d run the full gamut of emotions already. He’d started with anger at being stood up because she still wasn’t picking his calls or replying his messages now; then slowly slid into feeling stupid at the whole notion as he began to itch from all the rose petals he’d sprinkled liberally all over the bed; then into apprehension and fear at what Aisha’s silence meant to everything they’d created together in light of his sudden silliness. His foolishness, especially at having listened to a degenerate cad such as Paa Kow for advice, weighed him down.
“God, I’ve been foolish. I listened to the wrong advice and I’ve wronged You and Aisha. Please help her forgive me. I don’t know what I’ll do if she decides I’m not the man she’s always wanted to marry now. I don’t know what came over me. Sex is just a minor part of marriage as You intended it, I see that now. And choosing to do it now is inherently wrong. Please teach me how to do better. She’s a wise woman and I love her even more now. Please don’t let me have messed this up…”
He fell asleep restlessly, alternating between dreams of him trying to flog a grinning Paa Kow with a heavy belt, and of him running after Aisha’s figure as she vanished around a corner, his legs moving like through thick coal tar no matter how much he exerted himself…
In light of what almost happened – and what could happen if she’d informed Major Rtd Josephs of Caesar’s nocturnal intentions for his daughter, only for him to appear at her parents’ house – he decided to spend the day in prayerful contemplation instead…
Sunday morning found him seated in church, praying his heart out still, even going on his knees a few times. He’d confessed all his sin, surprised now to realise that he’d even had such dark recesses within his heart and had almost come to the place of thanksgiving for the whole sordid episode when he heard the pastor say “Pair up with the person standing next to you and pray for their future”. He turned to the right and was reaching for the hand of some young starlet standing there who smiled coquettishly at him when he heard a loud “Ahem!” accompanied by a tap on his shoulder.
He turned to see Aisha looking at him, trying to frown in mock disapproval but her smile kept breaking through.
“I’m so sorry Aisha! I never realized that-“
“Shush. It’s prayer time. I understand. Let’s pray.”
“Heavenly Father, thank you for this beautifully flawed man you’ve brought into my life. I love him and I pray that you continue teaching him how to love me properly, even as you teach me how to love him well…”
His words caught in his throat as he heard her pray and before he knew it, he’d gathered her into a hug right there in the church hall.
“I love you Aisha.” He whispered silently into her ear.
“I love you too, you dolt,” she whispered back, returning the hug and then whispering again, “Kronkron ma Ewurade**!” before shoving him playfully back.
They continued to pray…
Last word folks – If You Don’t Have Ownership in Whatever You Do, No Matter How Tightly You Tie Yourself To What Isn’t Yours, You Will Lose It. Totally. Seriously. Guaranteed. Definitely. Fo’ Shizzle.
*Ayeforɔ – Bride
**Kronkron ma Ewurade – “Holy unto the Lord” (A common Pentecostal church greeting)