A Duck In The Pond—Dr. Charles Apoki At 59
Social Insolubility—My Secret for Survival and Advancement
27th April, 2018, would be 59 years of my existence on earth.
I remain eternally grateful to Jehovah for sparing my life. I’m the only surviving member of the household I grew up in as the last child. My parents died about 3 weeks apart, although they were quite old. My three elder brothers also died in quick succession but God has kept me. In a very ironic way, I deliberately refused to note the dates of their deaths and burials.
The pressure of life was so much on me that I decided to develop the attributes of the duck in the pond. If it allows its feathers to get soaked by the water in the pond it cannot remain afloat. Even when it dives into the water it has waterproof feathers so it does not get bugged down.
This attitude has always helped me to survive, have a sane mind, and push on. I don’t let my problems and challenges dampen me. I don’t dissolve into my environment when it’s wet. I was in the ghetto with my friends but I was charting a different course. In my graduating class in medical school, my picture is not in the year book.
This attitude allows me to move in my own direction, at my own pace, and arrive at my own bus-stop. It has helped me to set my own agenda and benchmarks.
I am not a group person; it has never worked for me. I can be in a crowd and a group of people but my mind does not dissolve into the crowd. I’m socially insoluble by default. It is a defense mechanism. The fact that I’m socially insoluble had helped me to develop a strong hatred for the prevailing conditions around the family, the lifestyle of my elder brothers, and even some of my tribal inclinations.
The next thing was that I was able to dream different dreams from the young men in the ghetto. I also was able to chart a course different from our group of friends then. As a duck in the pond I was able to harness the opportunities in the pond, but I knew when to get on land. This flexibility of mixing in the ghetto and relating with the children of the elite reinforced my dreams and strengthened my resolve not to be sucked or get stuck in the pond. I could go into the pond and come out when occasions demanded. There were times I nearly got drowned in the pond.
Things could have been very different if not for the Hand of God, even though I was not a Christian.
The pond of poverty has its pleasures and pulls. It can be very adhesive and habitually magnetic. It takes a stronger force to be free from it. Most people who get stuck in the pond cannot be helped by giving them aid materials, until they detest that pond and admire the life beyond it.
I was able to take decisions. One thing that has helped me is the ability to take major decisions that will take me close to my dreams. Because of my social insolubility I don’t need the opinions of people to take major decisions. I married when it was not reasonable to do so. I was just 26 years old and I was doing my mandatory National Youth Service, then. I started buying land when my mates had not even thought of such things. I was also able to drive my dreams with so much vigour. I could do odd jobs and businesses like selling second-hand clothing as a medical doctor with my wife because I was not looking for the approval from my friends. In fact I had no one from my background, then, at Aba.
I always dare to move on. I don’t get stuck with issues, people, things, or even denominations. I’m not emotionally attached to very many things. I can walk away from most things. When it was time to move to Aba, I did. When it was time to sell the hospital and move from Aba, I did. When it was time to give up running the church, I did, and moved on.
A few days to my 59th birthday, I have resolved not to report on duty by 8 a.m., like before. I need to move on to other realms.
I’m currently doing a radio broadcast that is highly appreciated; the day I will need to move on, I will move on.
I concretized this approach from my itinerant ministry. No matter how much your host and the church enjoy your ministry, don’t get sucked in or soaked with their denominational issues. Know when your time is up; move on before they stop needing you. No matter how nice the hotel you are lodged in is, you will have to move on. I LEARNT to move even when they are urging me to stay and rest.
I noticed that as I get older, my sexual drive for my wife (of more than 30 years) is reducing, my appetite for meals is greatly reduced, and even the emotional attachments to my children has greatly reduced. My love for cars, clothing, and even buildings have greatly reduced. I then understood that, by His grace, next year I will be 60 years old this time. I will be entering the second half of my life. God is gradually reducing my attachments to this life.
All my thoughts now are, predominantly, about the future of this country, the legacy I will leave behind, and how many lives I can influence during this second half.
I have been the duck in the pond. God has been so good to me. I have seen the dreams I dreamt in the first half fulfilled beyond my imagination.
I have dreams for the next half. I believe God to see my great-grandchildren. I believe God to have grandchildren and great-grandchildren all over the world. I believe God to travel globally more from now on than I ever did.
Happy birthday to the Doc.—The Duck in the Pond.
I pray that God will keep you too to experience a long life of great lessons and fulfillment.
God bless you as you pray for me too.