My name is John, a 33-year-old Civil Engineer. I lived in Calabar, a state in the Southern part of Nigeria and worked with a Multi-national engineering firm till today. And until today, I didn’t think I needed a second chance.
My life was a fairy tale on the outside, the trophy wife, dream job, house and cars. I was the dream. The man every man wanted to be and every woman wanted to possess. Only on the outside of course. On the inside, I was a big bad bully, a wife beater, a cheat and a terrible employee.
My wealth didn’t come from hard work like some would think, it came from years of consistent cheating and lying. Years of manipulation and dishonesty but no one really knew that. Except me of course, and even if anyone claimed to know, they were too scared to confront me with it.
Till today, I had never really thought of my life. I didn’t have a reason to, if everything goes as planned I didn’t care what I had to give up to maintain the man I was.
Today I faced a judge I couldn’t see and an accuser who delighted in speaking of my crimes, even those I had almost forgotten. For the first time, I looked in the mirror and hated the image I saw. I wasn’t quite sure of my reason for disgust, was it because I faced death in the face and the fear gripped me or did I truly come to terms with who I had been this past year and faced my guilt with remorse? I couldn’t tell.
But I wasn’t alone.
The courtroom hosted three more persons whose crimes were just about to be read by the accuser.
I pondered in my heart as to who the accuser was and how he knew each one of us and the crimes we committed even in “secret”. I watched as he called out the charges of the blonde lady beside me.
Her multiple abortions and not so fascinating sex escapades with several men including the ones she robbed. The accuser laughed as he remembered the details, details she couldn’t deny. His laughter was torture enough.
I watched her expression, hoping to recognize any emotion at all, but I was disappointed. She didn’t even wince as the accuser made more accusations, she held her poker face with such pride as Serena Williams will hold a medal of honour. Maybe she didn’t care, maybe she didn’t see any wrong in her past life or maybe her conscience had smeared badly. But it wasn’t my place to judge, I was just as bad as she was. She could have reasons for her actions, in my case I had none.
The accuser interrupted my thoughts when he called out the young man who sat close to the door. He stood in fear, I looked at him and realised he was still a kid. What was he doing here? I thought to myself.
This wasn’t a place for children. I heard him attest to being eighteen years of age confirming my suspicion but as he admitted his age, he also admitted to a crime that shocked me more than it surprised me.
He admitted to killing his father. I was in total disbelief. I tried to find the answers because he couldn’t defend himself, he just kept sobbing uncontrollably as the accused taunted him with details of his crime.
Oh my God! I exclaimed.
How could that be? What was the reason? Was it an accident? So many thoughts ran through my mind as I sought a possible explanation as to what could have happened.
He seemed innocent, his tears and sobs were full of regret. But the accuser would have none of it, he called them crocodile. I knew there weren’t and I felt for him.
Devon! A voice shouted in the background. It trembled the building and we all shivered at the sound. I also felt the accuser shiver even if I didn’t see him. Then I turned in fear hoping to see the owner of the voice to my disappointment.
Devon! He called out again. “Let them be, I have come to speak for them”.
“Christian”, the accuser finally spoke. “This is no time for intercession you know”
I thought the accuser was uncomfortable, he struggled with his words and his annoying confidence seemed to sway off. But then, who wouldn’t bow to that voice, it shook the building and reset the atmosphere. So strong yet very calming.
“You do not decide when I intercede or not Devon”
“Why should you intercede”, I shouted.
I heard Devon let out a loud laugh. Finally, we know his name.
“You see, these are hardened criminals. They need no intercession, no mercy, no grace”
“I will decide that”, Christian said very firmly.
“Come on man! No shame in letting them go, the world doesn’t need them, you don’t too”
“And why do you think I don’t need them”
“Because you have more than enough saints to worry about”
“I don’t need enough Devon, I need all” Christian yelled.
“Very typical of you Christian,” Devon said mockingly. You would take the world on that cross……
Enough! Christian shouted.
Now get thee behind me! Suddenly, Devon whimpered in fear and took off. The atmosphere of the room suddenly changed. The energy became calm. Obviously, he was no match for Christain. I also didn’t feel fear anymore. I wondered if I was the only one who felt the same way.
“How about me, do I need saving too? The little lady in the corner spoke. I had almost forgotten about her, luckily she escaped Devon’s taunt.
“So tell me” she continued. How do you save a person like me? My world was turned apart…
“When you were raped” Christian surprisingly completed the statement. I saw the shock on her face.
How did you know? She asked him.
I know all things, Christian replied back. I also know that you poisoned the man who raped you.
“Oh, So you must know that the man who raped me was my father too”
“Yes, your earthly father”
“Christ” I shouted.
“Yes,” Christian answered.
“No, no I wasn’t talking to you, its a swear word man! I’m just surprised someone could do that to his daughter” I said
Christain laughed. “Christ, a swear word? You, humans, know too little. It’s nothing close to a swear word, it’s the most powerful name on earth. You wouldn’t know this, would ya”
He laughed again leaving me perplexed.
“Julia you are worth saving,” Christain said continuing his conversation with the little lady.
“All you need to do is believe”
“Believe in what, a world as dark as ours or the people as cruel as my father”
“Not the world or the people of this world”
“Then who or what”
“In me, I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE”
“This is too difficult” Julia argued.
“I’m here because I believe you all can be redeemed. You can have another chance, all you need to do is believe in me. Leave your past behind, come let me give you a new life”
“Christian”, the blonde lady called out.
“Chantelle” Christian replied her. Do you also believe this words that I say” he asked.
I know second chances are not for everyone, Chantelle said.
What did she mean by that? I thought to myself. For once in all of our lives, someone risked it all so we could have a better life, someone looked beyond our dirt and offered us clean clothes.
Come on Chantelle! I exclaimed
“Chantelle, Christian continued. I’m ready to change your life, but I need you to believe.
Well, I guess Devon was right, you don’t need all of us. You don’t need me. And she walked straight to the door.
Chantelle! Christain screamed. But she didn’t care, she just left the room.
My father! I heard Christain say. I felt the deep sympathy in his tone. The pain he felt.
John, Julia and Kelvin, Do you believe?
I suddenly woke from my dream, the generator had gone off and the room was pitch dark. I realized I was dreaming the whole time. But it wasn’t just a dream for me. It was my wake up call. It was another chance to make things right with God and with a man.
I turned and saw my wife sleeping. Her face reflected so much peace. She deserved better. I just realised she was more beautiful than she was the day I married her.
God had given me a SECOND CHANCE.