"My dad ate one goat for ten years", John told me as we drove through Akuse junction towards Kpong. I had been seeing John come around my workplace in his boiler suit to service our air conditioners but we never spoke to each other.
That fateful afternoon, after we closed from work, I met John standing by the roadside with his two gas cylinders beside him. He looked so tired, restless, and, somehow, expectant. It was a common practice of almost all staff who didn't have their own means of transport to stand by the roadside to stop any company person for a lift.
For the first time, John, whom I knew from a distance was going to sit in my car. “Oh, thank you for the lift", he said, after he pulled his seatbelt to lock himself up. "I have never met you before", he said, with a tiring smile.
"Since I was engaged by the authority, I had never stayed here up to a month. I have always spent a considerable time in the North", I answered.
"I see", John responded, nodding his head continuously. "Anyway, only few people do what you have just done. We never spoke before and I didn't stop you but you did all by yourself to give a brother a helping hand...God bless you", John blessed me with another nod.
"Your gesture reminds me of how my dad and the whole family ate one goat for ten years. And we still continue to eat the remaining he left for us", John said, looking depressed.
"One goat for ten good years?” I asked in a great amazement.
"Yes, ten years and more".
John continued to tell me the story of my life. He told me how his father killed the only goat he had in the village at the time and shared it among all the villagers because hunger struck them. He told me how many people discouraged him on the decision to show this "insane" love.
According to him, everybody who had a share of this love, came every year to share their little meat they have with his father. The generations of these men also came to hear of this and still share their love with John's family.
As he narrated the story, tears glistened his eyes. "If my father hadn't sacrificed the little he had that day, my brother would have died", John agonized. "My father was just a cleaner in his company. Years later, my elder brother became sick. He took him to the hospital with no money in his account. But there too, the meat of the goat he sacrificed, paid. Till now, we have been eating the remaining of the goat he shared ten years ago.
In life, there is nothing you sacrifice without a reward. The little you have today may need that sacrifice in order to prepare you for a harvest of abundance. (Ecclesiastic 11: 1) "Cast thy bread upon the waters and after many days thou shall find it. “You may not know what your little benevolence will send to someone and what it will bring to you and your family. Learn to sacrifice.
Christmas and the New Year celebrations are all about love. Share the little you have with the poor, your workmates, your neighbors and any other person you can.
Written by Patrick K. Atsu
(Author of Invoking the Success in Your Relation)