Akunnaya means 'her father's wealth'. 12/05/23
I was speaking to my dad, or rather my dad was talking to me, last week when he called me ‘Akunnaya’. I know we talk about butterflies when we fall in love or when our crush finally looks at us, but I believe I felt something bigger than butterflies as that single word reverberated in my ears before slinking into my heart.
Because I did not trust my knowledge of my language, Igbo, I asked him, ‘What does Akunnaya mean?’ He said, ‘her father’s wealth’. Her father’s wealth, I am my father’s wealth.
The details of our conversation prior to that are a private matter, but I can tell you for free that my father is my first love. I did not know this before, but I know it now. We do not bear a serious facial resemblance, but I write because he can write. I love reading because he loves to read. We share a love for organised spaces, and we both hate when one thing moves out of the form or position in which we placed it.
But growing up, I never realised how much like my dad I looked. I felt because my elder sister took his fair complexion and I took my mother’s dark caramel skin tone, I looked more like my mother. I was wrong there. I know that now. I am the apple that did not fall far from the tree.
I read in a Bible commentary that there are three kinds of riches; riches in who you are, in what you know and in what you have – and that riches in what you have is the poorest of them all. I believed that, but now I see that the analogy might be suffering from an oversimplification of the stated facts. Maybe material things are not the only thing that can be had.
If I am my father’s child, then he has me. If my father calls me his wealth, then he must be rich in what he has, me. I am not rich, I have not accomplished much in life, and I have tried and failed at many things in my over 20 years in this world – perhaps it is why this name has held something within me and keeps it from falling apart.
The world is a place where you are known for what you have done, but my father loved me from the first day my mother announced she was pregnant for her third. The world is a place where you are ignored if you cannot state what you have achieved, but my father loved me before I could speak my first word. The world is a place where you are beaten down when you fail to maintain the image you have put up, but my father would welcome me back home after the world has rejected me. The world is a market that I go to every day, but my father is home, where I must come back to every day.
Akunnaya. I am my father’s wealth. But not because of what I own – I have nothing; I have accomplished nothing. I did not give him anything or do anything to make him love me. He loved me from the first day he knew he would have me. He made the decision to love me when he made the decision to have me, and he has stuck by that decision all my life since I have known him.
If my father, a man plagued with the curse of Adam like every other human, can love his child like this, I must be guilty of underestimating God’s love for me. I must not really understand God’s love for me. I must not be able to comprehend how much God loves me. I must not. It must be beyond me.
Today and every other tomorrow, I will dedicate myself to seeking God’s love. To understanding His commands, because if He is love then everything He commands must stem from love and must be for my good. I repent of every disobedience, big and small.
If He is my Father and I, His child, then I must look like Him. I am the apple, and He is the tree. I will dig deeper to see understand how I look like Him because I do. I do look like Him.
And so do you.