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Lost or found

Published by Tribune on Tue, 26 Aug 2014

Lost but found! Careless owner, stupid finder.'If you were in the kind of primary school I attended years back, I bet you are familiar with this phrase. If you did not, this is what we used to say each time a pencil or a pen got lost. The finder gleefully but somewhat mockingly screams 'lost but found', and the class traditionally and enthusiastically replies 'careless owner, stupid finder.'Those were times of uttermost innocence and sincerity. We lived life with total abandon- no fears, no worries, and what counted the most was being a child and having fun. Well, the paradise is painfully lost!Growing up transmogrifies us and ultimately, our priorities are revamped. We become laden with responsibilities, life begins to confront us with challenges and puzzles. We become engaged in an intricate and ferocious soul ransack with this sole aim ' 'to find our identity while simultaneously unraveling our idiosyncrasies.'The simplicity of finding and proclaiming the lost pen or pencil like we did as children is disparate to the complexities of the search for who we are through the maze of life. This other search requires a lot more skill than crouching under lockers and chairs.I remember the tale of the poor lad, who had all his life mined the dark tunnels searching to find that one thing that will change his fortune. On an auspicious day, at the bottom of the mines he came across a piece of gold coloured stone. Overwhelmed, he went proclaiming his good tiding to his father. His father was overjoyed momentarily but lapsed into a sobriety. He asked his son this question: is it tried and tested' The boy was astonished and with indignation replied, it is a large chunk of gold coloured stone! The father smiled and continued, test it son, try it and if it endures then you have truly found yourself a treasure. The poor lad was hurt but he had to prove that indeed he found something, so he sought counsel. He was advised to cast his finding into the furnace but he laughed derisively at the preposterous idea.Several thoughts crawled into his subconscious as he imagined losing his treasure. What if he did as his father instructed and lost his fortune' On the contrary, he wanted desperately to do away with the epithet 'poor'. No one in his lineage had ever amounted to anything. They were regarded the poorest people in the province. He wanted to be known differently and called something other than poor. So, he took the chance and cast the chunk into a fiery furnace he built. After all, he had nothing to lose.Seconds transformed into minutes, minutes into hours and the time came. With trembling hands, a pounding heart and sweat streaming out of his pores, he pulled out gold coloured dollop from the fire. It sparkled graciously as the sun reflected on it. The gold glistered radiantly much more than before. With bewilderment he beheld the transformation of the dull gold coloured stone. Yes! His stone had transformed into an alluring treasure, he had found gold!You can be certain that his life changed after that event. Well, he did find something after all and was never referred to as 'poor' for the rest of his life!Circumspection, patience, deracination and pain so much so that can be compared to the hotness of a fiery furnace often embody the unraveling of purpose but it is only a momentary agony that verily fades away like smoke vanishes into the air and leaves behind a trail of victory. However, it is a necessary mammoth task for any mortal who desires to fulfill destiny while on earth's sojourn. A laborious task indeed it is to unmask identity but a costly misdemeanor it also will be to down play and make subtle its significance in fulfillment because we seek never to experience the flinch or feel the sting.What makes the world remember us after we have passed on' How then do we immortalise ourselves, engrave our names on the stones of time never to be washed away by any torrent' Before you answer that, answer this: 'are you lost or found'. The key to legendary is embellished in self discovery.Finding that treasure on the inside of us is a painstaking task but in that fire of complexity and hardship lays the unraveled mystery of our identity and this is what separates us from the lost crowd.In every man lies an elusively wrapped drop of uniqueness which cannot be transformed into an ocean of ever flowing greatness when it is LOST.If we move past the 'what ifs', let go of the fears and doubts because the only barriers that have the power to hold us down are those we place on ourselves, then we will conveniently cross the hurdle. Pass through that furnace and yes you will get burnt but you would find that treasure that lies within you. You are a unique entity, find what makes you tick because our differences are never inabilities but idiosyncrasies.Search with ferocity and be that crazy finder and when you have found yourself, you would have left behind an indelible mark for the present and posterity.Onana is on the staff of the Nigerian Tribune. (veraonana@gmail.com)
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