In my thinking thoughts, I realized that the New Year had just been ushered in a few days ago and people the world over had begun another 365-mile marathon in ways they are accustomed to. By Liberian tradition, people gathered at their respective places of worship on December 31, 2020 apparently to be in the presence of the Creator until the majestic Y2021 roared in with its vicissitudes, escorted by various shades of uncertainties, agonies and ecstasies. When a New Year comes in and the bells begin to toll at our respective places of worship, we traditionally affirm our “New Year’s Resolutions” with incredible solemnity, and much reflections of the challenges of the previous year.
By Mwalimu-Koh M. Blonkanjay Jackson (MsEd, EdM), Contributing Writer
In other Western nations, families and friends usually gather in thanksgiving as the sky is lit with spectacular displays of fireworks. In Liberia, the New Year is received differently. Immediately the clock strikes 12 AM, the streets become flooded with all kinds of people. Some are drunk with alcohol, some frustrated, some happy and amazed, while some are remorseful with contrite souls. They get into the streets with obscured musical instruments including cans, liquor bottles, old pots, sticks, and sing the lyrics, “Happy New Year me na die ooo; Oh oh me na die oh” (Happy New Year I did not die). They impede traffic and some fools among them beat on vehicles driving through. Pen-pen boys (motorbike boys) drive with unbelievable speed honking the longest to gain attention. There is usually no police presence so the scene is sometimes very rowdy and nasty. All this is demonstration of some of the ways people receive the New Year in Liberia.
Now, on New Year’s Day 2021, some of you affirmed to your Creator a resolve NOT to change, and hence, you entered the presence of God with blemishes and tainted dispositions still dangling from your wretched souls into the fresh New Year. As some of you entered half-conscious with your breaths stinking with alcohol, and as some of you entered still bent on quenching your promiscuous desires, others approached the throne of grace with much repentance, contrite spirits, broken hearts, and sought refuge for their indicted remorseful souls and made their resolutions.
Trash Can Resolutions
Unfortunately, no sooner than few days elapsed in the New Year than your resolutions got thrown into trash cans never to be remembered again until a baneful situation prevails and tragedy strikes you. Then you would return to the Compassionate Savior crying and rolling because you have the proclivity to behave like toddlers toying with toys.
Toddlers Toying with Toys
For the sake of the layman, “toddler toying with toys” is metaphorical of a preschool child or infant playing with her play-play things. She takes one, caresses it as if she is content and resolved to keep it; she drops it to pick up another with similar contentment. While she is playing with that one and somebody showed her the previous toy, she drops what is in her hand and goes for it. Her indecisiveness is understandable for she is simply a toddler mesmerized by the shades and makes of the toys. This is atypical of the manner in which Liberian people play with resolutions.
Before I be misconstrued, a resolution is neither a direct promise nor a vow; instead it is the tenacity, the determination, or firmness to do something you promised or vowed in the presence of man and God. In essence, your resolution is the oath you took on New Year’s Day, to conscientiously change a situation, or do something to its completion. It might help you to know that maintaining one’s resolution usually results to abundant blessings but failure results to bane, which is misery or bad luck.
Resolution Bad Luck
Unfortunately, bad luck bridles many of you like Satan sitting on top of a black horse and riding it to hell, because you play with your vows and promises like “toddlers toying with toys” Each New Year’s Day, you make resolutions but before it is January 3rd, you take on the same kind of living, and your resolutions are broken. When this happens the Creator does not relent but usually records it to act later or immediately.
In the Epistles according to Acts Chapter 5, the story is told of the sudden deaths of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira for making a promise to God and later lied to the Apostle Peter. Their resolution was to support the work of God and hence vowed to sell a piece of land and return “all of the money” to God. Just by withholding portion of their own money, God struck them down. This anecdote can be compared to the situation many of you could be faced with today. When you make a resolution to God and fails, He may not immediately strike you down, but might even give you a chance simply to act later if you do not return to your vows. This is what makes keeping your vows dire.
Fellow Liberians, do you sometimes wonder why your country Liberia was faced with so many surprises in Y2020? Did Liberia “toy with her 2019 vows?” Have you wondered why so many of our friends who were government officials passed on so soon to glory? County caucuses and top government officials do not see eye-to-eye and hence no development meetings are held, why? Why so many protests in the streets? Nimba County walked out of the 2020 County League with pride and dignity in the presence of a sitting President; In Rivercess, the only high school remains dilapidated and without teachers, year after year with no help in sight, why?
Why were so many bitter thesis propagated via radio talk shows against the ruling establishment? Why did the ruling party lose so many seats during the recent mid-term elections? Why did your business ventures fail? Do you wonder why you are continuously sick and sought cure from doctor to doctor with no success? Do wonder why all of a sudden your marriage or relationship has begun soured? What did you really do to your boss that he has suddenly started to ignore or hate you? But you lost too many relatives last year, what went wrong or was it simply destined to be so? Membership in your church is declining, the choristers are fighting over boyfriends and the pastor is eating the church’s money and lying to the congregation; how did this happen?
Albeit brethren, as you glide into this Y2021 and ponder those questions, do not be frustrated. The answer could either be God is acting on your broken resolutions and the vows you made and did not live up to; better still it could be a matter of coincidence and provision.
Whether you are contrite, relieved, or broken, remember God is still on the throne in Liberia and calling you to return to your resolutions. Who knows, from the unfolding events, He could be calling and waiting for the Republic of Liberia to stop “Toying with Toys” and return home to Him. Let me therefore, leave you with the words of Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909); a classic invitation hymn from the 19th century, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling” Note the 4th stanza.
SOFTLY AND TENDERLY JESUS IS CALLING (Liberia)
1 Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me;
see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home; you who are weary come home;
earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!
2 Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not his mercies, mercies for you and for me? [Refrain]
3 Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, passing from you and from me;
shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming, coming for you and for me. [Refrain]
4 O for the wonderful love he has promised, promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon, pardon for you and for me. [Refrain]
HAPPY NEW YEAR
About the author
The Rivercess Man, Mwalimu-Koh Blonkanjay Jackson is a triple Ivy League product, and a Jesuit protégé; Having completed his studies at Harvard, Saint Joseph’s, UPENN and Yale, Mwalimu-Koh Jackson returned to Liberia, served the GOL for four years, and returned to private practice as an Education Engineer and Business Entrepreneur.
He can be reached at 0886681315/ 0770 206645