I’ve spent more time driving a car this year than any other year. My disdain for driving in Lagos has morphed into something I often look forward to doing. I’ve learnt that complaining doesn’t do me good so I try to make good use of my time while driving by listening to ebooks from my subscription with Scribd. And so it happened that while I was driving on July 11, I was lost in thought regarding the concept of God’s perfect timing. I’ll wait for you to get your 75cl bottle of chilled Zobo before I continue. Ready? OK, let me gist you the story.

My father had called me to come help him relocate his vehicle from his Victoria Island residence to another location. Upon delivering the portion of meat he ordered (yes, I sell cow meat too, 8 people share a cow and drop 20k each and my dad was one of the 8 slots that booked days before), I took to the the wheels of the 2nd biggest vehicle I’ve ever driven in my life: Toyota TUNDRA. The truck was less than 1 year old and I was tempted to change my prayer point of a dream BMW 750i to….lai lai, never.

While driving the Tundra on 3rd mainland bridge, I was lost in thoughts regarding how my relationship with my father has transpired over the last few decades. Somewhere down memory lane, my thought-train stopped at the year 1993. I smiled. It was the year that had so much loaded for me as a teenager. From driving my father’s vehicle to burning the clutch to being sent to a disciplinarian relative to attempting suicide for the first time to becoming a Christian, 1993 was the year of the century for me.

In an attempt to please my secondary school classmates, I had bribed my father’s driver, Sunday, to take me to school with my dad’s latest ride: Dodge RAM. That was the biggest vehicle our family ever had. It was like owning a Lincoln Navigator in those days. I was not considered a G (shot form for GUY) and I needed to prove to my classmates that I was a happening somebody that not only could steal my parents properties to sell to classmates but could also take their cars to school without their permission just to show off as being COOL. Talk of peer pressure of life. My classmates were impressed, I think.

A few days after impressing them, I took to the wheels of the Dodge RAM. This time around, Sunday was not in the vehicle as an assistant culprit. That was the first time I would attempt to drive and it ended up being an unforgettable event that dominoed into other memorable events in my life. Barely 500 meters from the house, the vehicle was rendered immobile because I had burnt the clutch. I was in deep trouble and my classmates were not there to bail me out.

I was eventually summoned to a family meeting, sent to a disciplinarian uncle, attempted suicide because I felt I was unloved, and the rest is history. And all that 27-year-old memory came tumbling down into my mind in a 27-minutes+ journey from VI to….

And then I started smiling. I was smiling at the fact that I’ve indeed come a very long way. Infact my transformational journey, though still ongoing, is the key reason why I have a passion for teaching children and sharing knowledge. If you’re a parent reading this, please believe me when I tell you that that wayward child CAN change. Considering the list of atrocities I committed, I wondered why my parents didn’t disown me then. And I thank God they didn’t give up on me.

But my point is this. As much as I wanted to look good in front of my peers and fellow neighbors in Abule Ẹ̀gbá that cared to see me, driving my father’s Dodge RAM was not the right timing for me. Forget timing, I didn’t even have his permission to start with. And at the end of the day, I got celebrated by peers but was disciplined by my family. At the end of the day, I was considered a G by my ISL classmates but was confirmed a rebellious & stubborn child by my family.

Fast forward to July 11, 2020. The same father gave me the keys to his brand new Tundra to drive unsupervised for 30 kilometers to… I think I shed a tear or two. The tears came rolling when I realized that in between 1993 and 2020, I had be blessed with 5 different cars by this same father. I was reminded at that instant of the love my FATHER has for me & YOU.

No, I’m not trying to brag about how many cars I’ve driven and never had to pay for. I’m trying to make you see how sometimes what we do prematurely – and many times, we know it is premature – to make others see us in good light, that very thing is making our family and HEAVENLY FATHER see us in bad light. And even though we may get all the congratulatory messages and likes on social media, we forget that we’re enroute to burning the CLUTCHES of our destinies.

I know it’s been said many times as a cliché, but I’m beginning to think that maybe God’s timing is really the best. Stressing ourselves to look successful or good in the eyes of the world so that we can be celebrated may take us back to my 1993.

Anyways, I have to stop now. I sense that your Zobo has finished. I assume there are life lessons within these writeup that you can decipher beyond the ones I pointed out. Whatever it is you’ve gotten from this, please include this: NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON THAT CHILD WHOSE FUTURE SEEMS BLEAK. The child may just be experiencing his/her 1993. Don’t worry, their 2020 (minus Covid-19) is coming, and that future is as bright as the transfiguration moment the 3 disciples witnessed with Jesus on a mountain some two thousand years ago.

As for me, I need to prepare myself to once again help my father move a vehicle from point A to point B later tomorrow. Good morning.