Before You Go Naked
Reflection by: Fr Kelvin Ugwu
A woman in her late 30s woke me up one early morning. According to her, her husband beat her and threw her out of the house in the middle of the night. She had to sleep in an uncompleted building. She spoke to me with tears and I was filled with anger. I could not imagine any man doing such to his wife.
I decided to go with the woman to see her husband in their house. Of course, I was going there to make the man see how foolish he is. I met the man and he does not look like someone who could even kill a mosquito.
I sat down with the man and his wife for a discussion. We set out two rules that the three of us must STRICTY adhere to throughout the discussion. First rule: each person will be given the opportunity to express his or her feelings in SINCERITY while the other two will listen even if it took hours. Second rule: No one MUST interrupt the person that has the floor.
After the woman spoke which took more than 60 minutes in which most of what she kept saying was how irresponsible the husband is and how she has been coping with him, I adjusted my seat to listen to the husband.
The husband spoke for like 25 minutes. He was not shouting like the wife. But as he spoke, the woman kept interrupting him telling me not to believe him that he is a liar. In her own words: “you don’t know this man? He is a stupid man. He is a liar. He is irresponsible.” I reminded her of our second rule. But it only kept her quiet for a while.
In the man own words, “she does not listen to me. I regret what happened last night. Last night because I came home late, she woke our neighbours with her shouting. She told everyone that I went to sleep with prostitutes. She has been doing this, but last night was unbearable. You just needed to see this compound last night.” As he spoke, the woman sharply interrupted again, “. . . Father, don’t believe this man, he is a liar, a very foolish man.” I tried to remind her of our rules, but her voice was already overshadowing mine.
When my father was alive, I learnt from him that in a dispute between two persons, after the first person had finished telling you his own side of the story, you may see yourself going naked out of anger on the person’s behalf. But after the second person had finished telling you his own side of the story, you will immediately put back your clothes and regret why you went naked in the first place.
Before you go naked on any issue, make sure you have a full grasp of the issue from all sides.