Becoming Like Jesus Christ - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Becoming Like Jesus Christ

My friend Joe Mazzella who lives in the beautiful state of West Virginia in the United States once shared with me an old, fictional but wonderful story which provoked my imagination. And because the story was fictional, I beg to modify and re-narrate it in my own words as follows:
When the great Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Last Supper, he decided to use living models of Jesus and his twelve apostles. He first began by painting Judas Iscariot when he spotted a man whose face appeared vicious, malicious, avaricious and hypocritical. Then over the next three years, he successfully found other men whose faces appeared like each of the other eleven apostles.

After he finished painting the final apostle, da Vinci was lucky to spot a man whose face looked like that of Jesus in that it radiated joy, hope, love, peace, faith, goodwill and self-control. As he was getting painted as Jesus, the man inquired, "Do you know who I am?"

"No, I don't know you," replied da Vinci.

"Well," the man responded, "I am the same man you painted as Judas Iscariot three years ago!"
While that story is fictional as I have pointed out, it does teach us valuable lessons to all of us: that the appearance of our faces reflect the condition of our souls and that it is never too late to change our character.

So let us strive to become like Jesus by making our faces radiate joy, hope, love, peace, faith, goodwill and self-control. Let us strive to turn our our fears into courage, our mockery into compassion, our foolishness into wisdom, our ignorance into knowledge, our anger creases into laugh lines, our idle moments into creative moments and our sorrows into hope of a better future on Earth and in heaven.


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Scoring in Life

This is the 2006 Brazil soccer team. More on it in the story of mine below.

When I wrote in my previous story of my wonderful experience in my days at Starehe Institute, I forgot to tell you that I also did watch football especially the English Premier League and the 2006 FIFA World Cup while at the institute. I found it exciting to look forward to matches which provided me with enough tales for showing off to friends.

Of the numerous world-class footballers that I got to know back then, there was one who stood out from the crowd from my perspective. That was Ronaldinho de Gaucho.

I admired Ronaldinho not only for his good looks and dribbling skills but also for his trademark grin. He seemed to be in love with the game as some other footballers frowned on the pitch. I so much admired him that I put his image on the home window of the software I developed on the 2006 World Cup soccer fixtures.

And when the world cup began in June that year, I strongly rooted for Brazil which I fervently believed would win the cup because of its then talented attacking combo of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. But alas! The team was sent packing after a quarter-final loss to France which made me so heartsick that I was unable to attend church the following day.

But I still love Ronaldinho whom I occasionally watch in action on Youtube during his heydays in which he won the La Liga and Champions League with FC Barcelona, Copa America as well as the FIFA Confederations Cup and the World Cup with Brazil - the benchmarks of a truly remarkable football career.

No wonder he was selected once as the European Player of the Year and twice in a row as the FIFA World Player of the Year. To the best of my knowledge, only Ronaldo (of Brazil) and Zinedine Zidane can rival Ronaldinho in their range of football accomplishments. I stand to be corrected.

Although I no longer watch live football matches these days, I treasure the lesson I gleaned from the game: that the performance of a football team is not judged by how well it plays but by how many goals it scores. So a team can play well by dribbling skilfully and making clever passes but if it fails to score, it is no better than that of lousy players.

And after reflecting on that lesson, I have discovered that life too is like a football game in that we have to score on the important aspects of life such as health, wealth, peace and love if we are truly to be remarkable. If we try to live well by eating a balanced diet, reading regularly and exercising physically but still struggle with low self-esteem, loneliness, poverty and hatred, then we are no better than alcoholics.

As for me, I am trying to score on those important aspects of life especially on my finances which are pitiably low at the moment. I hope to score well like FC Barcelona's current prolific attacking combo of Messi, Suarez and Neymar.


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Blooming Where Planted

These are some of my buddies at Starehe Institute where I bloomed (from left) Duncan Kinai, Stephen Mutevu and Theophilus Kamwaro. Now that I am in touch with Kinai via Whatsapp, maybe I should ask him why he was shouting. No, I will not.

Starehe Boys' Centre, a well-endowed institution of which I am a proud alumnus, had an institute during our time where students from the school's secondary division could enrol to pursue a course in Accounting or Information Technology (IT). I didn't want to proceed into that institute as my high school years came to an end in November 2005 because someone had led me to believe the institute was not for sophisticated young men like the one I had grown up to be.

As fate would have it, I failed to get a job after high school and my attempt to enrol at the upscale Strathmore College in Nairobi backfired simply because my parents could not afford to put me through that college. So I had no option but to report back to Starehe in January 2006 to join the institute where I had wisely applied for admission just in case things failed to work out.

And alas! My experience at the institute turned out to be wonderful because I took advantage of the marvellous resources at Starehe to grow intellectually. Like I learnt how to use a computer in the Institute labs that had a commendable student-computer ratio of almost 1:1. I also kept aflame my interests in public speaking and music thanks to the student meetings and several pianos in the school.

But the greatest resource at Starehe Institute was time. The IT course I pursued was relatively easy and the teachers were lackadaisical. Like one Mr. Kagete would go for a week without turning up in class to teach us. I took advantage of those free times to swim, play football, do personal reading, improve my computer programming skills and browse the internet where I learnt more about the top American colleges that I applied for admission.

And on Sundays, I would sneak out of Starehe early in the morning to be with my hometown Catholic Church youth group where I almost fell in love with Gloria Thigwe, a charming young lady who has long since been married to another man. I used to sneak out of Starehe because I thought it was wise to interact with the outside world instead of getting confined to the school throughout the week yet I was an adult complete with a national identity card.

As I reflect on those good old days at Starehe Institute, I feel proud of myself for blooming at the institute where I found myself planted against my wish. And that's the kind of blooming I am trying to achieve at the moment when I have found myself planted in my rural home at Kiserian in the Great Rift Valley. I am blooming impressively given my current levels of peace and creativity which I thought I could have attained only by attending Harvard, Yale or Stanford where I was denied admission thrice.

So I encourage you to also bloom where you are planted. Like if you are in a remote village school, study like never before and mesmerize students from elite schools with your literary skills. And if you have been forced back to your rural home because you went broke in the city, farm with some passion till your agribusiness becomes a case-study at Wharton Business School. Bloom!


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