The meeting at my local Church assembly has just ended with everyone wishing each other a great new year full of love, riches, and peace. The usual wishes, you would say, because what else do people tell each other on a new year? Ah yes, full of health too. As we came outside the Church building to ride home on our city bicycles, Fra Alberto reached out for my warm phalanges which were tucked away in those khaki slip-on gloves, and said, “Happy New Year, Dan. I wish you consistency.”
Now, that was an unusual wish for a new year. Truly, I had received all the other wishes from my fellow brothers and sisters in the Church. But I was not satisfied to the point where I would gladly accept such an atypical wish. Moreso, at the time, I was going through a wave of depressive thoughts surrounding my professional accomplishments, which largely owed its occurrence to external factors beyond my control. So, at first, it felt like an accusation or even an indictment hearing a friend wish me consistency. I wondered why he would start the year with an attempt to upset his fellow brother. However, I knew Alberto personally, so the last thing he would do would be to say something unpleasant to me, and certainly not after the Sunday service on the first day of January. I shook his hands, forced a smile, and wished him the blessings of God for the year.
As we rode home that afternoon, I could not help but ruminate over what he said. Although we talked about how grateful we were to God and our plans for the new year, I craved a slit to insert this question that has troubled me for several minutes. The question would be simple, “why did you wish me consistency instead of any other good thing?” And finally, the opportunity was created when a vehicle drove by at a high velocity. Suddenly we found ourselves talking about how badly people drive and why the local government had not thought it necessary to design and construct a bicycle lane on this much-trafficked road. This was a detour from our new year plans and aspirations.
“Why do people drive mad even on the first day of the year?” Alberto quizzed.
“It could be the excitement of seeing a new year,” I answered.
“So excited that you lose your sense of moderation and risk running under your tyre other individuals?” Alberto insisted.
“Well, not everyone possesses the virtue of temperance. We live in the world, not in the Church, my brother.” I tried to help soothe his painful reaction to the driver’s painful action.
Just as Alberto was about to rejoin the main discussion with, “Forget these people, my dear, let us continue our discussion,” I released my sphincters so the question arising from his undigested wish can freely flow from my bowels through my mouth to his tympanum.
“Please, why did you wish me consistency for the new year? Is there something you think I should know? Can you expatiate?” I asked.
“Ah, too many questions at once Fra Dan. Can you expatiate your reasons behind these questions?” Alberto retorted.
“Nothing really. I am just curious to understand this curious wish of yours, dear friend.” I responded, smirking.
Alberto smiled, observing the genuine perplexity displayed all over my face. “Dan, consistency is the best wish you could receive.”
“How do you mean? What makes it better than the wishes for good health, riches, peace, and others I got today? I quizzed, more curious now to understand why seeing his reiteration.
“You see, you are my friend. I sincerely desire that God will help you to achieve consistency in all areas of your life this year. Once you get this, all the other wishes you got today will be met. Without it, this year will be a waste.” Alberto explained.
Upon hearing this explanation, I began to understand how much I lacked this wish in previous years. I became more curious and wanted Alberto to teach me further about this. He seemed to know so much about this concept, but I was dry on it. So, I enquired further.
“Please, can we spend more time on this? I would not mind coming to your place, or you can come to mine later today so we digest this before we return to work tomorrow.”
Alberto then told me he had learnt this concept from a senior colleague at the hospital the previous year. And I can tell how transformed his life has been since last year. Majority of the goals we had set out to accomplish in the spiritual, professional, and material the previous year all came to fruition in his life. We were resident doctors, but Alberto was in orthopaedic surgery while I trained in paediatric heart surgery.
Curious to understand the details of consistency, I applied to meet with this senior colleague, peradventure he would teach me the same principle. So, I set out on a journey that birthed this book.
Fra is the short form for Fratello, which signifies Brother.
Thanks for reading. Every Friday, a new chapter drops. Do not miss it.