Life's Like That
Have you ever carried something in your hands, then suddenly fear it might explode? It happened to me last year. Or was it 2016? Not sure.
Well, there was this refrigerator my brother Joe Kagigite brought at our now beautifully lush-green home here in Kiserian where I live. Afterwards, I read its manual which contained such messages of caution as this:
This symbol indicates the possibility of death or serious injury.Then later on after the refrigerator was brought, I decided to check whether it had adjustable stands of its own. That meant placing it on a platform where I could see its bottom clearly.
And wa! As I was placing the refrigerator on the platform, I was filled with fear that it might explode in my hands. I am sure those messages of caution in the refrigerator's manual played part in triggering in me the premonition that it might explode.
By the way, it's not only objects we fear might explode but also people, especially the so-called tough guys. You see, some folks are like balloons in that they burst into temper at slight provocation.
That probably happened because some people tend to bear some resemblance with one another even though our finger-prints are all different. Like you may find a certain celeb smiles like one of your high-school class-mates.
By the way, it's not only people that bear resemblance to one another but also places. A good example is the hills of Hollywood where I have seen four of my friends photographed; the Hollywood hills look so similar to the Ngong Hills that form the Western horizon of my home-area.
I have been a victim of such mistakes on several occasions. The most comical was when I applied to Cornell College in 2006/07 round during which I put in great effort in submitting a strong application: writing essays, filling out forms, sitting for the SATs, getting recommendation letters and coming up with a high school transcript as well as mailing cassette recordings of me playing the piano and CD samples of an educational website I had created with my friends.
But imagine after mailing them to Cornell, it dawned on me later on that I sent some of those application components to Cornell College in Iowa and the others to Cornell University in New York - two completely separate schools in the United States. Interesting, isn't it?
And coming to think of it, such kind of change of conditions applies to our emotions as well. Like you might wake up one morning feeling gloomy only to feel happy and rejuvenated with energy later on in the day. Does that ring true to you?
And that's because of getting side-tracked by other thoughts. Like you might find as soon as I decide to go to the kitchen to pick sugar, I start thinking on how to overcome an emotion of hatred I have towards a particular person.
Because of that reason, I have made it a habit to jot down ideas as soon as they pop up in my mind. I never trust my memory, so I always carry a pen and a small notebook with me whenever going for my walks that are good for health.
I also didn't know the subject of sleep, which has attracted my interest given the way I have struggled with insomnia and oversleeping for the last ten years, has been dealt with in the Word of God which basically says the Lord always rewards us with sound sleep for a day well-spent. Life's like that for shizzle.
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Grace in the Morning
I can still remember that memorable day last year as if it were yesterday. It was the 13th of April, 2017. Of course I have recalled that date because I recorded all that transpired the morning of that day in an exercise book I still have to this day.
Well, I woke up earlier than usual that day: at about 3a.m. But because I wasn't psyched up to do anything at that wee hour of the morning?, I chose to stay in between the sheets - safe from the mosquitoes that milling around my bed. And from in between those sheets I have long since replaced, I could hear the mosquitoes buzzing with vigour and vitality.
And later on that morning at about 3.35a.m. I over-heard my slightly-crippled Mum asking Dad whether he had left the milk and sugar we needed for breakfast. After he said 'yes', Mum bid him farewell. Then Dad dashed off to a nearby tarmac road to catch a matatu to Nairobi where he plies his trade as a freelance accountant and auditor.
You see, Dad always prefers commuting at wee hours of the morning to avoid exorbitant fares when traffic reaches it peak at about 7 and 9 in the morning.
About an hour after Dad left, Mum received a call from our neighbour, Mama Mwangi, informing her someone was at our home's gate. And when she asked me to go check who was at the gate, I refused for a reason I won't disclose. Just know I refused to go. Period.
Later on that morning at about 7a.m. when our then house-girl woke up, Mum asked her to go confirm if there was still someone at the gate. The house-girl came to heel and went.
After staying for a period longer than I'd expect, she returned with news that someone had been killed near our gate. Wa! Alarmed like a deer that has spotted an approaching predator, I sprang out of bed and sprinted towards the gate.
And when I opened the gate, I saw - at about 100metres on the left side of the dusty road bypassing our home - a crowd of people obviously milling around the murdered man our house-girl had reported. I turned on my heel and headed toward the scene. And oh my!
As I neared the dead body stretched on the ground and covered with a red sheet, I saw from the protruding arms that the deceased wore a pull-over that resembles one that Dad wears. And that made my heart pound faster in my chest as I worried, "Could my father have been killed when he left home early in the morning today?"
My fears were relieved when I neared the dead body close enough to see the deceased wore blue jeans. And since my father doesn't wear jeans of any kind, I was certain beyond doubt that it wasn't him lying dead on the ground.
After feeling relieved and now at the nucleus of the murder scene, I asked one of the women milling around the scene, "Have you known who the deceased is?"
"Yes!" she replied, "He's my son."
Woooi! Slightly embarrassed for brazenly asking such a sensitive question, I conveyed my sincere condolences to her and then joined the men in the scene who looked less traumatized.
Since I was at the university in JKUAT a decade ago, I have always tried to resist the urge to mill around accident scenes like flies on excrements of human waste matter. But that morning, I couldn't resist the urge because I was curious to know who had been killed in a neighbourhood I know so well.
I longed to uncover the red-sheet to see the face of the deceased but I feared angering the already shocked crowd of people milling around the scene. So I chose to asked for his name.
Those around informed me his name was Kinyajui but I couldn't connect knowing such a man from the area I was told he hailed from. But I figured out I probably knew him by face, if not by the name Kinyajui. I therefore chose to stick around till the police arrived.
The police however seemed to be taking light years to come. Luckily, two confident men showed up in the scene. From their rolling gait, I could tell they were going to fearlessly uncover the dead body and find out for themselves who was that lying dead on the dusty road. Being the quick-witted young man that I am, I followed them with interest.
Uncovering the dead body, they did. And I was somewhat gratified that I didn't know the deceased by face either. He looked like an ordinary folk whose favourite way of passing time was drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
After failing to identify his face, I left the scene while trying to conceal the joy in my heart which sprang - not from mockery over what had happened - but from realizing the grace of God. As far as I could tell, I was alive and kicking - so was my family and friends.
For what is grace? It is a gift from God to enjoy life's most important blessings - that's health and peace of mind as well as love from family and friends - without having paid Him for it. Realizing the grace of God that morning brightened what would have otherwise been a dull day on the 13th of April, 2017.
And today, thanks to that memorable morning, I have found myself reflecting on the grace of God as a result of which I have much to be happy and grateful for. How about you? Are you enjoying health, love and peace of mind to their fullest measure?
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the story above, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back titled Forswearing Thy Foolish ways and which I edited several weeks ago. Just click on that link in blue to jump straight into the story.
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King Solomon, the out-of-wedlock son of David, was once asked by the Lord to request for that one thing he desired most - so says the Holy Bible in the Book of 2nd Chronicles. I can imagine the excitement that boiled up in King Solomon as he contemplated on what to ask from the Owner of the Universe.
"Should I ask of me to meet the woman of my dreams somewhere out there tomorrow? Or should I ask for financial breakthroughs in the business I am trying to establish as a side-hustle?"
Surprisingly, or perhaps knowingly, King Solomon didn't ask for any material possession. Instead he asked for wisdom and knowledge. He must have understand that the renown that riches and beauty confer is fleeting and frail. And that mental excellence is a splendid and a lasting possession.
Being a faithful God, the Lord conferred Solomon with wisdom and knowledge. And that eventually made Solomon a man of wealth and honour. To this day, he is still recognized as one of the wealthiest men in the crowded canvas of human history.
Since the same God that Solomon worshipped is the same God I worship today, I have also decided to ask from Him that one thing I desire most.
You see, the same Sun that rose in the East in the morning here in Kiserian is the same Sun that shone during Solomon's days. And the same Moon that glistened last month here in Thuita's Home-town is the same Moon that beamed during Solomon's days.
So, don't you think I am in order when I say the same God whom Solomon worshipped is the same God whom I worship? And His holy name is the Lord, the Mighty One.
And that one thing I have asked from the Lord is love.
Now, the Bible extols the virtue of love. It even says God is love. Jesus categorized the love for God, for yourself and for fellow man as the greatest commandment.
Then St. Paul added to the mix of knowledge by saying love is the greatest virtue; greater than hope and faith. He added that even if we acquire a Masters' degree and a PhD. but still lack love, then we have gained nothing. (Well, he didn't say exactly that but he meant that anyway).
And by prioritising love, I think Jesus and St. Paul must have understand that if we acquire love in its truest measure, all other virtues such as courage, diligence and gratitude come easily into our lives.
When I look around in the modern world, the one person who seems to me to be the best living model of love is Bill Clinton. Here is the dedication part of his autobiography (see photo above) which makes me think so:
That dedication reflects a person who understands love in its truest measure. A person who loves living because he lives loving by not looking down on anyone - even the petty thieves that are the most loathed people in the world.
To my mother, who gave me a love of life
To Hillary, who gave me a life of love
To Chelsea, who gave joy and meaning to it all
And to the memory of my grandfather, who taught me to look up to people others look down on because we're not so different after all
Yes, that's the kind of love I have asked from God. To love Him with all my heart, mind and soul; to love myself and who I am; to love my fellow humans regardless of their sex, race, tribe, creed or sexual orientation.
As of loving my fellows humans, have you noted I have omitted disabled people from the list of spectrum of people I would like to love? And that's because we are all disabled in that no one is perfect apart from God.
You see, the impression most folks have when they hear of disabled people is those who are deaf, mute, crippled etc. But coming to think of it, there are people with ears but don't understand issues, with eyes but can't see the truth and with legs but hardly ever exercise to keep their bodies fit.
Yes, we are all disabled in one way or another. I just like the way Rev. Jesse Jackson said in his famous 1984 U.S. Democratic National Convention speech in San Francisco: that the disabled have their handicap revealed and their genius concealed while the able-bodied have their genius revealed and their disability concealed.
Anyway, coming back to the topic of love, I have also asked God for love in all my endeavours. For the moment, I am focusing on writing since it is the only hobby I can afford to practice daily. So I have requested God to convert that writing hobby from something I have to do to something I love to do. See?
I have also asked God for love to accept and appreciate life challenges because as you well know, being alive is not always an easy task. Unforeseen problems always arise - lack, theft, failure, criticism, rejections, disagreements, injuries, sicknesses, technological hiccups and loss of loved ones.
As for me, such are the kind of challenges I have asked God to make me love. Maybe that sounds weird to you but let's listen to these words of General George S. Patton, a senior officer of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theatre of World War II: "Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory."
That's the end of my story, my dear reader. Do have a lovely weekend. See you again here on Monday, God-willing. Adieu!