Reflections at Thanksgiving : That card from Ambassador Sylvester Rowe : How the little things we do for people mean a world to them

WHENEVER I wanted to reflect  on a profound incident that occurred  to me this year , something  happened  and I had to  postpone it. The other time I wanted to write about it, our inimitable social organizer Linda Musa of  UNDP was leaving for her new assignment in Ghana. Linda Musa was in the spotlight then  and the show belonged to her and I did not want to steal the limelight from her .  Since this event means so much to me and I believe it has an object lesson for my readers  and followers , I then thought it was better to in fact  wait and write about it when it  would make a better  impact . Therefore , I decided to wait patiently  for Thanksgiving  to bring  up the issue  to give its object lesson  the significance it deserves.  Thanksgiving is here at last and it is time for me to  now write about it.



The moral of this story is that certain things we do for people that we consider insignificant and little are very huge and though we may not know it, they mean so much to the people we render these acts of kindness .  The second lesson is that there are still very thoughtful and kind people among our citizenry  and since our fathers taught us to always appreciate what other people do for us , my conscience will not be clear if I did not share this with my readers as a mark of appreciation.” Oh, it was just a card,”  the cynics would say. “No it was not ! ! ! “, I would say. I will explain in full why it was more than a card.

Godless people in our midst , without any iota of human kindness  and understanding, selfish people who only think and care about themselves,  may dismiss  this again as Propaganda ( As if they know what the word really means ) , but any decent and civilized human being with human compassion and understanding   will recognized the decent fact  that in life, we must always demonstrate love to the sick and people themselves  who receive favors must always appreciate what others  do for them. Our modern civilization would mean nothing if people do not express appreciation, especially for the little things that mean so much. . As a journalist, who is vocal and expressive, writing my own appreciation in article form is always my own manner of returning good deeds done to me. My own parents taught me to appreciate so I do not feel free until I have demonstrated my appreciation to people who do certain things to me that prove that they care for me.

2014 has  been a bad  year for me. Presently, my country is in the grips of a deadly Ebola outbreak that has killed thousands of my fellow countrymen and women . As the grim statistics are released daily, there is no Sierra Leonean who is not very sad. I am very sad.  On a personal level too , I have been demobilized by a nagging cardiac problem that came very close to prematurely  terminating my sojourn on this earth. I had to undergo a major and risky  heart surgery at the Robertwood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey in March . I want to thank my doctors for discovering the problem before it was late and for   working with me on a problem that turned out to require a much longer period of recuperation than I ever thought, given the complications of the surgery and the effects of  other multiple ailments . I want to also thank my boss, His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma, his ministers , some ambassadors , the Head of Chancery,   party officials, friends , well-wishers and my family for standing by me during this difficult, roller-coaster  time in my life. I have already written volumes of thanks to President Koroma, HOC Mr. Alhusine Sesay, Ambassadors Bockarie Stevens, Osman Keh Kamara, Amadu Koroma,  Rupert Davies, I.S. Conteh, Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara,  Social Welfare Minister Moijue Kai-Kai,  SRSG Zainab Bangura   and all the good people it is not possible to name here who showed me God’s love during my period of sickness .

Today, I want to talk about a Get-well card I received shortly after my hear surgery from Ambassador Sylvester Rowe –erstwhile Deputy Permanent Representative  ( Political ) of Sierra Leone to the UN and a one-time world famous radio and TV broadcaster with the SLBS in Sierra Leone and the UN .

As we all know, in this day of  computer technology, physical get-well cards are no longer the vogue, not because they are no longer relevant, but because we have become accustomed to seeking the easy way out  to  express our goodwill, sympathy and condolences to people through e-mail . However , it must be said that physical cards have a personal touch that technology will never obliterate.

When you consider the rigors involved in going  to a pharmacy or store to buy a card ,  the time it takes to write carefully-thought-out emotions in it, walk to the post office, wait in a queue before posting it in a  world where people are now so busy that even tying their shoe laces is a big task, you know that somebody must really love you and think very much about you to go through all these inconveniences  to be able to procure and send you a physical get-well card. That was one of the reasons I was so thankful to Ambassador Rowe when I got his card. I knew it cost him something to have been able to send me that card , but  because  he is a caring person, he decided to forgo his own convenience to do it.

But there is yet another important reason that I appreciated the card so much : The mood in which it met me and what it did to me.

I  thank His Excellency Ambassador Sylvester Rowe from the bottom of my heart for that  wonderful card  .

I describe it as wonderful because it had a therapeutic effect on me that day that I must pass on to my readers  to show how our acts of kindness –even what we consider the little things –affect others . A little act of kindness you might do ( Little in your own eyes ) may have greater and far-reaching effect on someone else.

On the day the card arrived, I was feeling very depressed and disappointed with life , because of what looked like a very slow healing process to me . I am a preacher and I know that God is good and he cares for us but we all do experience moments in our lives when we lose our faith  . It was that day for me. My spirit was very low and my faith had gone . I was wondering why such an ailment had befallen me, of all people, and why after the operation , more complications appeared to have been triggered . I was having periodic palpitations and had just called my cardiologist and he had told me what to do and also advised me to go to the Emergency Room if the palpitations continued . The kind of symptoms I was experiencing made me feel like  I had become a hopeless case and was  only marking time on earth and that the end was coming  soon . It was at that moment  that Ambassador Rowe’s card arrived.

When my son came home from school, he brought in the mails. I was lying sick and despondent on my living room couch. I refused to have anything to do with the mails because of the way I was feeling. However,   I saw what looked like a card sticking out of the bunch of mails ( It was colorful) and had the urge to  look at that, at least .  I thought it was an Xmas card from somebody that had come in late. When I opened the card however , it was a GET-WELL  SOON  CARD   from Ambassador Rowe . What was most dramatic about the card were the words of faith Ambassador Rowe spoke to me. The words and the bible passages got illuminated and virtually jumped out of the pages. .  They immediately  ministered to my emotions and my spirit. Wait a minute, I asked myself. Did God time the arrival of the card to coincide with the day my faith was in the depths and I was thinking of death ? The coincidence was indescribable. This was God talking to me to have faith and to believe that I will get well.

Words cannot describe all I felt. But a certain calmness and feeling of well-being went through me as I savoured the words of faith and confidence Ambassador Rowe was expressing.

It was as though God had allowed the card to arrive at my most pronounced moment of discouragement ,  despair, despondency and fear of death , to assure me that that he is real and to  assure me of his love and care .The Bible verses and Ambassador Rowe’s assurance that all will be well had a dramatic effect on me. God had sent somebody I had profound respect for to talk to me and bring back my faith.  My faith leaped within me and I began to feel good .I began to assure myself that God  loved and cared for me as I had always felt  and one sign of this was that he was sending significant people in my life, who cared, to assure me that all will be well. It was a confirmation of the assurance in my subconscious mind that God is loving and He  cares for me, whatever the situation, otherwise he would not have sent somebody to send me a card that would have arrived at my point of breaking down . The card from Ambassador Rowe reactivated my faith that minute.  I decided to meditate on the soothing words of the card and I found my depression leaving slowly . My faith returned with such momentum that I was soon reciting Bible passages in my mind . No evil shall befall me. I shall live and declare the works of God.

I will never forget that card you sent me, Ambassador Rowe.  I waited for a significant moment–THANKSGIVING — to speak about what your card meant and did  to me for you to know how much I appreciated it and May God bless you, sir, for your thoughtfulness, compassion and the time you took to go to the store to  buy the card and  to the Post Office to mail it to me. It demonstrated a remarkable caring attitude worth sharing . We never know how much our acts of kindness affect others . To some people, it would look like a simple card but the effect created by that card was profound .I will never forget it.

During thanksgiving, we give thanks  to God for his tender mercies and his abundant goodness to us . At the same time also, we use the opportunity to thank God for the people he has placed in our lives and their acts of kindness that mean so much to us. I have decided to use Thanksgiving to thank Ambassador Rowe for his card.

May God bless Ambassador Rowe for that card, because only God knows what my despondency would have led to that day , as a cardiac patient .

THE LESSON TO US ALL  : Let us never fail  in our duty to do the little things for people that end up meaning so much to them. That card was God using a man  to minister to me  at my most despondent moment.

I will ever remain grateful . And that is my reflection for this year’s Thanksgiving.


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