Gratitude - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Gratitude



"Life is the most difficult exam. Most people fail because they try to copy others, not knowing that everyone has a different question paper." That is my favourite quote which has helped me to endure the criticism I have received whenever I tell people that I dropped out of university and have no intention of going back unless to receive an honorary doctorate.

I have nothing against a university degree. In fact, I wish I had acquired one in my early twenties when I still had the verve and vitality of a teenager. But a combination of poor decisions and bad luck conspired to rob me an opportunity to acquire a university degree.

At this juncture of my life as a 28 year old, my question paper isn't asking me to matriculate at university. I am not enthusiastic about going back to the lifestyle I experienced in my short stint at two universities: attending lectures some of which were boring, copy-pasting assignments from the internet, photocopying lecture notes with countless grammatical errors, cramming for exams only to forget the knowledge after the tests, hanging out with students who aren't passionate about their studies, and so on and so forth.

Aware that life is short and precious, I resolved a year ago never to spend hours and hours of my life reading something that is not entertaining, enlightening or inspiring. Going back to university would be going contrary to that resolution because I will be forced to read texts of which I have no interest.

So what does my life question paper say I do at this juncture of my life? It says that I continue honing my talents in writing, piano playing, public speaking, socializing, composing songs, designing websites, gardening and cooking.

It says that I work on my magnetism so that I radiate confidence and cheerfulness wherever I go. It says that I learn to handle criticism, disappointments and discouragements with grace. It says that I practice gratitude, a virtue that is on everybody's lips but in a few people's practice. So help me God.

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Celebrating the Mighty 4F

This is the Mighty 4F Class of '05 on our last days at Starehe Boys' Centre, Kenya's best high school during our time.


Like my friend Eric Kuria, I am so much attached to Starehe Boys' Centre for having found it superior to every other institution of higher learning that I have furthered my studies. It is so well endowed with modern facilities like a music centre, a magnificent chapel, a stately library, a swimming pool, a well-equipped clinic, tarmacked roads, automatic generators, computer laboratories, numerous pianos, flat playing fields and boarding houses that foster brotherhood.

But what impacted me most at Starehe were the friendships I forged in the Mighty 4F Class of '05. I became a better person by learning with those classmates who made me read a lot just so that I could catch up with their bright minds. And that led me to be the avid reader that I am today.

For some strange reasons, I used to get horribly nervous when reading to the whole 4F class as some of our teachers demanded. Sometimes my nervousness would make my voice quaver which I thought betrayed my fear but thankfully, no 4F classmate ever teased me about it.

Apart from academic excellence, the other lesson I learnt from 4F members is the value of hygiene after some classmates criticized a layer of dirt behind my ear which I attribute to playing volleyball on a dusty court that was tarmacked when I was in Starehe Technical Training Institute (STTI). I was also criticized twice for emitting bad breath which explains why I never forget to brush my teeth these days.

After we finished high school, I constructed a website for the Mighty 4F with the skills I was learning at STTI in '06; an initiative that made me discover I had talents in writing and web design. I was touched by the positive feedback I received from the classmates especially from Brian Nalyanya who applauded my efforts by saying that networking is crucial to success in the modern world.

Later on in 2012, I constructed a better version of the 4F website that required the classmates to sign in with the class and file numbers we were assigned on our first days at Starehe. I ended up learning PHP - a powerful programming language for developing web applications without which I would have been unable to set up this website.

In short, the Mighty 4F taught me more about the value of brotherhood than all my pastors at All Saints Cathedral, more about the value of technology than all my engineering lecturers at JKUAT, more about the value of good writing skills than all my professors at the University of Nairobi, more about the value of hygiene than all the doctors I have consulted in my life, and more about the value of aiming high than all the self-help books I have read on succeeding in life.

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A Proof That God Exists



As I was taking my daily walk on late Sunday evening, I was invigorated on gazing at the perfectly spherical slivery moon which seemed in my eyes to be freely suspended in the sky like a stringless balloon. I was left with the impression that the Creator must have used a mathematical set to design it. And I eventually found myself reciting this quote by Alfred Tennyson:
"The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains - are not these, O soul, the vision of Him who reigns?"
I was truly stirred to worship God, felt His peace and moved to disagree with atheists who claim the idea of God's existence is a delusion. Okay, let me reason it out.

Suppose I disassembled my sleek Lenovo Ideapad™ laptop, put the separated parts in a container and shook it. No matter how skilfully I shook it, never in a million years would the parts assemble themselves again into the sleek laptop I enjoy using. Its making requires intelligent and organized labour which in this case is a learned team of humans.

Similarly, there is no way the universe as we know it would have come into existence without a careful design by an intelligent super-natural being. For how else can you explain these amazing facts:
  • The Earth is just at the right distance from the Sun to make it possible to sustain life
  • The ozone layer exists to shield us from harmful solar ultra-violet rays
  • The Earth's atmospheric pressure balances with blood pressure without which blood would ooze out
  • The body of a healthy handsome young man (like me) has no unnecessary parts just like a well-engineered machine or a well-written story
I could go on and on to list all the amazing facts of our universe but I beg to stop there in the interest of time. And while am not sure whether I have succeeded in convincing you further of God's existence, I have been led on my part to dedicate the remaining years of my life to Him who reigns.

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