How are you, my dear reader? Hoping that you are well, I am going to tell you something special today. It's not the usual yadda yadda.
I was reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey the other day when I learnt from the internationally acclaimed best-seller that we (yes, you and me) have two sections in the brain: the left and the right.
The left brain deals with words, the right with pictures; the left with parts, the right with wholes and the relationship between the two. All that means the left brain is where we analyse issues while the right is where we creatively visualize things.
Given the brilliant stories I have been posting in this lovely blog of mine, I believe my left brain is in good working order. But my right brain still needs to be exercised. That's why I have decided to be spending some time visualizing the kind of life I'd love to lead, beginning today.
After all, if I don't visualize the kind of life I desire to lead, how will I know that my dreams have materialized? Or to put it in Biblical language, how will I know God has fulfilled the desires of my heart?
And what kind of life do I desire to lead? Okay, let me begin with the material world.
I understand from the Scriptures that we don't live to eat, but again, we can't live without eating. So I desire to have enough genuinely acquired money not only to keep my body well-fed with a balanced diet punctuated with an occasional glass of wine but also to afford a decent life.
And a decent life begins by living in a comfortable abode. I envision my abode to be a home here in Kiserian - an area I have come to love and appreciate because of its year-long lovely weather and its green landscape demarcated on the Western horizon by the world-famous Ngong Hills.
Surrounded by a well-manicured green lawn and a well-knit kei-apple fence, my home shall basically be made up of a magnificent mansion like the one in the photo above, and a farm which I shall christen "The Garden of Eden". I will stuff the mansion with books, music, movies, modern appliances and comfortable furnitures as well as with rare and beautiful treasures.
And in the Garden of Eden of my home, I will set aside sections for an apiary, an aviary, a cow-shed, a fish-pond and a garden of vegetables which I shall separate with orange groves because as my siblings Joe, Bob, Paddy & Symo can attest, orange trees grow robustly here in Kiserian where I am currently living with our wonderful parents.
As well as connecting me with nature, such kind of farming will also provide my future family with eggs, meat, milk, fish, fruits, honey and vegetables. That's awesome, isn't it?
Besides building a magnificent home, I also envision having enough money to purchase a sleek car, to travel around the globe and to conduct a colourful wedding, God willing.
That's for the material world. Now let me visualize myself developing my mind, body and spirit - the most precious assets of a human.
Of developing my mind, I can visualize myself turning the pages of a book, getting engrossed with what it's saying and pausing occasionally to reflect on how its message relates to my own world, to historical contexts and to the opinions held by particular authors.
Of developing my body, I can visualize myself walking (my favourite physical exercise) and stretching with rollers according to recommended levels while eating at appointed times because, as all wise men know, too much eating leads to excess weight.
Of growing my spirit, I will be praying, singing and connecting regularly with nature which is the visible work of God as the wonderful old hymn How Great Thou Art puts it in verse one which goes like this:
I have always felt every word of that verse in my heart in the couple of times I have sang it with joy. And it's my faith that I will feel it again and again in my heart when I sing that verse to myself while gazing at the Grand Canyon in the United States, at the Coral Barrier Reef in Australia, at the Himalayas mountain range in China or at another magnificent work of God that I may be honoured to see before I depart from this grand and beautiful planet.
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow'r thro'out the universe displayed...
Then sings my soul my Saviour God to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art!
Enough about me. How about you, my dear reader? What kind of life do you envision for yourself? Join me in this journey of making productive use of the right brain which as I have told you, is where we creatively visualize things. Think about your future in pictures.
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Reconnecting With God
Yesterday late evening as I was going to check whether a certain bunch of banana fruits I had seen on our farm was still there or stolen, I was greeted by a sight of the full moon freely suspended on the sky to the East of the farm. Good heavens, what a majestic sight it was!
The Moon was so perfectly spherical that I had the impression God must have used a mathematical set to design and construct it. Then I found myself reciting the following lines from A Midsummer's Night Dream by William Shakespeare:
And the sight of the moon has set me thinking about God because like it, I was also designed and constructed by Him. But I must be more important in God's eye than the Moon because I am more fearfully and wonderfully made because I possess reason, feelings and life.
Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
I thank thee, moon, for shining now so bright;
For by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams
I trust to take of truest Thisbe sight!
I have decided to reconnect with this God who created me whom I know as the Lord, the Mighty One. By reconnecting with God, I mean tapping to the powerhouse within after experiencing a setback in life that could be anything from a rejection to an illness to a loss of loved one.
As for me, I usually reconnect with God through believing, praying, singing and studying His Word. Of believing, I have this time round deepened my faith in God by thinking of Him as my source of strength and guidance. You see, I didn't choose to be alive; I just found myself in this planet as it must be the case with you. Or did you apply to be born and live at this particular time?
And since I owe my life to God, I have decided to hand over the running of my life to Him. That means I will cease worrying about anything and instead pray about everything. Like I have prayed my parents may live to see me walk down the aisle with my princess charming, wherever she is.
Of praying, I have this time round asked for peace in my life using a prayer Dr. Geoffrey Griffin, the founder of Starehe Boys' Centre, used to utter during Friday assemblies. It went like this;
O peace, what a pleasant and precious feeling to possess! Now that I have trained my mind to stop worrying, I believe peace shall always reign supreme in me as I journey in this life in a planet characterized by death and sorrow.
Show [me] O God,
Your mercy and Your grace,
So that my heart may be stirred to worship,
And my life may know Your peace.
Of singing, I have this time round sang Guide Me O My Great Redeemer, a hymn I came to like during my days at Starehe Boys' Centre. We used to sing that hymn with vigour and vitality during a church service held before breaking for each and every holiday.
And we sang it with such zeal that we might have cleaved the roof of Starehe Boys' magnificent chapel (see photo above) with our pleas for guidance. But our zeal sprang not from an earnest plea for guidance from God but from a joy that we were finally heading home after more than twelve weeks in school at Starehe.
I have come to love that hymn these days because of the way it calls on God to guide me. And I have come to love it so much that I have committed it to memory.
And finally of studying God's Word as a way of reconnecting with God, I have this time been reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Now, I know some may yell at me, "Oh Thuita, for Christ's sake, that Stephen Covey's book is not God's Word!"
Well, I am alive to the fact that people usually refer to the Bible, and only the Bible, as the Word of God. But for me, any book, magazine or newspaper that helps me understand God and life better is God's Word phrased differently.
As from the Stephen Covey's book, I have learnt to attain emotional independence. That means the way I feel should never result from the way others treat me but from the way I accept myself as a brilliant and charming young man. Adieu!
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The 8th Commandment
Unlike Karl Marx (the father of socialism), I am a great believer in the marvels of Science as well as in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Like I can spend some time reflecting on how computers have impacted the world and on how obeying the Ten Commandments changes our lives for the better.
I have discovered that God came up with the Ten Commandments for our own good just like the way man comes up with traffic laws for our benefit. Or would you love to be hit by an over-speeding driver under the influence of excessive alcohol?
Take for instance the 8th Commandment ("Thou shalt not steal") which, as you already know, is the subject of this story of mine. God must have made that law so that every man could get rewarded for his efforts and so that we could prosper as a society. And boy, wouldn't you love to live in a prosperous nation that has plenty within its borders?
To make things clearer, let me give an example of a farmer who decides to plant a garden of paw-paw plants. (I understand they call them papayas in America, right?)
Well, the farmer prepares his land, buys seedlings of paw-paws and plants them. And then as they grow, he weeds the garden and adds manures to it while watering the paw-paw plants because, as all fools know, water is life.
Then after a year of such diligent labour when the paw-paw fruits begin to ripen, I stealthily pluck some of them for eating and others for selling without permission from the farmer. What have I done? Of course, I have stolen the paw-paws.
And by stealing, I have failed to reward the farmer for his efforts. I have also impoverished the society in several ways: and one of them is discouraging the farmer from planting more fruit trees on his garden, at least not until he fences the garden and hires guards.
I have given that example from experience because I used to break the 8th Commandment by doing all sorts of stealing before I became a true Christian (or, as a Jew would say, a godly man) in mid 2016. Okay, let me tell you how I used to steal.
When I was a first-year student at JKUAT in 2007, I got into the habit of taking books from the library without permission by simply tucking them inside my clothes while moving out of the library. Back then, as must be the case with all thieves, I didn't think I was stealing as such. I thought that was a cool way of growing my mind by reading the books outside of the library.
And on several occasions, I went unnoticed until one fateful afternoon in 2009 when the alarm at the entrance of the library went off. Wa! I had finally been caught thanks to technology. Or as the Swahili people would put it, my forty days as a JKUAT library thief were over.
Luckily, the librarians who handled me that afternoon were very understanding after they learnt I had escaped from JKUAT hospital where I had been admitted a few days earlier. I wonder what would have happened had I been caught at an earlier time when I wasn't in the hospital. Probably I would have been remanded in a police cell and arraigned in court because a university student is an adult.
By the way, later on in this decade in a fit of righteousness, I returned all the books I had stolen from JKUAT library from 2007 to 2009 and hadn't returned by then. They weren't that many. I think they were two.
The second theft I committed was against a neighbour we used to call Mmeru who has long since moved to a more posh estate in Nairobi. That was back in 2010 when I noted during my strolling that she had a garden of guava trees that had succulent fruits.
I got into the habit of getting into the garden to have four or five guavas until a small boy I later learnt is called Denno caught me one fateful day. Big as I was back then, I felt timid when Denno confronted me by threatening to report me to Mmeru.
Denno didn't report me to Mmeru but when he noted how timid I was when he confronted me, he morphed into a bully. Later on, he would often call me a thief in presence of people. And he once coshed me with a stick on a Sunday afternoon as I was coming from church. What a canny, hell-raising rascal Denno was!
But perhaps the worst theft I have committed was plagiarizing other people's writings. You see, beginning in late 2010, I developed the habit of editing brilliant stories and mailing them to my friends as if they were my own, some of whom would compliment my writing prowess.
How I wish everyone would now know all the stories I wrote before mid 2016 were full of lies, exaggeration and plagiarism. That's before I became a true Christian.
And yes, plagiarism is is a form of theft - a violation of the 8th Commandment. My Roget's Thesaurus classifies plagiarism under stealing together with burglary, poaching, pirating and cattle-rustling.
Coming to think of it, plagiarism is stealing for shizzle. Take for instance the stories I post in this lovely blog of mine. They are a product of years of learning, thinking and experience. So don't you think someone who copies one of these stories to present as his own has committed the same offence as someone who plucks a paw-paw fruit from a garden without permission from the farmer who planted them?
As for me, I have now resolved to continue obeying the 8th Commandment to the letter by not even photo-copying books and pirating software. I will be buying genuine materials because I now believe in an all-knowing God who will reward me with wisdom, knowledge and happiness for obeying His commandments as the philosophical Book of Ecclesiastes says in verse 26 of Chapter 2.
How about you? Will you join me in this journey of obeying the 8th Commandment? Please do. Thank you.