"He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward...And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward." - Jesus the Messiah
Bending down to retrieve the wallet from the unpaved, dirty road, I looked left and right to see whether I was being watched. My teenage mind hadn't been corrupted enough to consider taking money that wasn't mine to be a normal activity in today's world. In between leaning my torso downwards and positioning my knees in a full squat, I had already lined up the itinerary that the money was going to serve. Yoghurt, sweets, video games, football boots, you know name it: I had it all readied to be bought, mentally i.e. I was now in a straight standing position, skimming through the wallet as I counted my newly-found riches. I counted...uhm...bah! What the heck, I doesn't matter how much I counted - I counted a lot of money, and that's what counts! Yet, my teenage mind was acting like a virgin facing the prospect of having sex for the very first time. I was excited, apprehensive, scared and curious all at once. In the end, I came up with a brilliant idea. I would find the owner of the wallet and give them their lost property, with the hope of a reward or tip for my 'righteous' act. As I started asking around, I couldn't help but feel that all I wanted to hear from everybody was, "No, the wallet isn't mine."
It didn't take long before I found the owner of the wallet: a woman. Precisely, a middle-aged woman who was in the white house across the dirty road. I came to this information when the attendant at a nearby corner store told me about how he he had seen a woman getting out of a taxi just where I found the wallet, and going into the white house. This was after he had confirmed that the wallet wasn't his. After a series of 'Agoo' shouts, and respectful bangs on the black, metallic gate, a woman's head appeared over the wall. She wore a big smile on her face as I showed her her wallet and proceeded to handing it over to her through the now-open gate. I lingered a while to see what my reward would be, and there it was: a simple thank you, a warm goodbye wave, and a firmly shut gate. What disappointment, and yet, what sense of vindication I felt. This paradox of emotions needed to be expressed, so I ran home to tell my parents what I had done.
At home, I told my mother first about the wallet I had found. Without even letting me finish my story, she asked me for it; upon which I told her that I searched and gave it back to its owner after having found her. My mother reacted with great anger, sadness and despair, almost like a jilted lover suffering from unrequited love. I was confused. I was expecting a message of congratulations and a hug, maybe. Yet, all I got was a long face. Next, I told my father the story about the wallet and my mother's reaction when she heard what I had done. My father shook his head in disappointment at my mother's reaction. He looked at me, nodded his head and said, "Well done Akwasi! Pay no mind to your mother; you did the right thing." From that day onwards, whenever I find a missing coin or any form of money, it reminds me of these two things:
1. Righteous acts wrought solely in expectation of material blessings or a reward, often leads to disappointment.
2. The unit of measurement for all forms of human separation, classification and distinction is called 'Money'.