A few weeks ago, I had an out-of-this-world experience while enroute home in a rickety danfo bus (the Lagos resident understands). I had given the conductor of the bus a N200 note to pay for my fare and was expecting N100 as change. It seems the lower denominations (100, 50, 20, 10, 5) of the Nigerian currency has been scarce in recent times and the only ones available are in a deplorable state.

After reminding the conductor several times for the change he was meant to give me, he eventually extended my way what seemed to be a N100 note that had been ambushed by hired assassins and left to die. Deplorable or tattered will be the understatement of the century when describing the note. Thin pieces of scattered transparent tape was used to put the piece of N100 note together. I wasted no time in returning the note back to the sender. I felt my destiny deserved better.

The conductor collected it back and motioned to me in a nonverbal terminology that meant that he had no other N100 note. I was upset with him. Why has the conductor chosen to be used by the devil to frustrate my life after a tiring day. I was upset.

I was about to demand that he give me a better note when I heard a loud voice within me. Whether it is Jesus or Holy Spirit or Heavenly Father, I honestly can’t say but all I know for sure is that I heard a voice within.

TAKE BACK THAT SAME NOTE!

I was sure I heard wrongly because I had recently been educating myself to REJECT what I don’t want in my life and this decapitated N100 note was definitely going back to sender in Jesus’ nam…..

TAKE BACK THE NOTE!

The voice insisted. As if knowing what to do instinctively, I told the conductor to give me back the same note. He seemed surprised but was eager to quickly give me before I changed my mind.

NOW STUDY THE NOTE!

I looked at the bacteria/virus-infested note and was sure this currency was carrying at least 36 diseases. The edges were torn as if a previous owner had attempted to wash away the stains on the note. The note had been torn into two (obviously due to rigorous use) and was being held together by a tape that ran across through its length. Although I rarely used that word to describe a living soul, I was sure I had found a non-living thing that I could say was UGLY.

SEUN, THAT IS YOU!

I immediately understood what HE was telling me. I felt a little uneasy but I understood. The voice continued…

THAT IS THE STATE OF YOUR LIFE. YOU’VE BEEN TORN APART MOSTLY DUE TO THE MISTAKES OF YOUR OWN DOING. YOU’VE GONE THROUGH SO MUCH IN THE PAST 3 DECADES AND YOUR EXPERIENCES HAVE LEFT YOU IN A SEEMINGLY DEPLORABLE STATE. HOWEVER YOU’RE STILL A PERSON OF WORTH TO ME. THOUGH THE TAPE OF MY LOVE IS HOLDING YOU TOGETHER AND ENSURING YOU DON’T FALL APART, YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU’RE STILL A PERSON OF WORTH TO ME. REGARDLESS OF THE CONDITION OF THE CURRENCY, AS LONG AS IT IS STILL IN A RECTANGULAR PIECE OF PAPER AND STILL SLIGHTLY VISIBLE, IT IS STILL WORTH WHAT THE CREATOR INTENDS IT TO BE WORTH. TO ME, YOU’RE STILL A PERSON OF WORTH. MANY HAVE REJECTED YOU BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH BUT YOU’RE STILL A PERSON OF WORTH TO ME. MANY PREFER THE BRAND NEW NOTES WITHOUT REALIZING THAT IT HAS’NT ACHIEVED MUCH PURPOSE YET. I CHERISH THE ONES THAT HAVE BEEN THROUGH TRIALS AND THOUGH THEY’VE BEEN TORN APART, THEY’RE STILL TOGETHER. LIKE THE TATTERED N100 NOTE, YOU’RE A PERSON OF WORTH TO ME.

At this point, memory fails me as to whether my eyes were teary or not. I was humbled. I was broken. I was SILENT. I decided it was imperative that I study more about currencies. And my study illuminated my soul.

I found out that it cost almost the same to print the N100, N200, N500 & N1000 note. Each has been printed using the same amount of resources and the only difference between each note is the purpose which the central bank has decided to attach to each.

We’re all made of the same physical resources: lungs, kidneys, heart, eyes, etc. However, our purposes are different. Our callings are nonidentical. I will not use a N100 note to pay for a BMW 750i; for that I would need a cheque or multiple N1000 notes to make the transaction easier. The question is whether or not we know how much we’re worth and what our purposes are.

Since that encounter that faithful evening, I’ve been eager to accept whatever tattered notes that anyone gives me as change. Sometimes I meet some people fighting with a conductor or seller over how ugly the change they’re being given is and I quickly intervene and exchange the currency in question with one of my own cleaner notes. Each time I do the exchange, I look at the note in my hand and declare with a smile from ear to ear: YOU’RE STILL OF WORTH TO SEUN AKISANMI.

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