That life is measured by the time of life is a seemingly gross understatement of life and an indicator of mystery that life cannot be perfectly measured by man. Evaluation of life is in the contents of life within the space of time. These matters are neither easy to streamline nor simple to handle for there are too many things consisting in, and interacting with, a life. Life changes and life changes things through time: no single life is simple enough for a life-time study by anyone. Perhaps another mystery of life is quantum of lives that unify into an individual life, besides the volume of things and number of other lives affected by an individual life. Attempt to understand a life is a good goal to set in life but it leaves more to desire at the close of the day. An effort to partition life and study leaves life in fragmented disagreeable form, and the learners in discordant state. Checking up the impacts of a life somehow plays down on health and wholeness of life, making such account scanty and incomplete. Life is too vast for a fast lesson to be fastened up. Acceptably, one cuts a chunk of life and fancies a story to represent a life during an occasion of life.
A birthday offers a licence for liberal tagging of tall tales together about a life. In this liberty therefore I say:
He is so humble, meek and gentle, he is my pastor
He is so simple, plain and forthright, he is my pastor
He is so kind, generous and gracious, he is my pastor
He is so ingenious and vast in wisdom, he is my pastor
He is so accommodating, tolerant and considerate, he is my pastor
He is so greatly endowed with virtues and selfless impartation, he is my pastor
He is so modest in personal expression but superfluous in projections of others, he is my pastor
He is so loving, so caring and so lowly, he is my pastor
To you, a great social crusader,
a true friend of the poor and lowly,
an exemplary leader and an effective mentor,
a good and honest shepherd and lively teacher,
To you, my dear pastor, Dr Sylvanus Ukafia, I wish a happy diamond birthday!
Godwin E. Akpan