Arising and Shining - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Arising and Shining

I am finding it necessary to shed the truth over some issues I have lied in the past as I embrace the virtue of intellectual honesty just so that I can have peace of mind. The other day, I confessed that most of the stories in my previous website I called Polly were full of lies, exaggerations and plagiarism. Today, I proclaim that my childhood days were not always as happy and blissful as the plagiarized stories in my previous website suggested.

On the contrary, I was often ridiculed at home and at school as dull and dowdy; sometimes even harshly beaten despite the fact that I was a goody-goody boy. Well, I wasn't such a deadly dull and dowdy child. But I wasn't bright either which is why those ridicules and beatings affected my self-image and made me grow into a confused timid teenager.

While I have succeeded in becoming a clear-thinking gentleman thanks to writing, I must confess I have struggled to shed off the timidity I acquired in childhood. I have however been encouraged to awaken the leader in me by the following anecdote in Dr. Myles Munroe's book, The Spirit of Leadership:
There was once a farmer who lived in [a] village and also was a herder of sheep. One day, he took his sheep out to pasture, and while they were grazing, he suddenly heard a strange noise coming from a patch of grass, which first sounded like a kitten.

Led by his curiosity, the old shepherd went to see what was the source of this insistent sound, and to his surprise, he found a lone shivering lion cub, obviously separated from his family. His first thought was the danger he would be in if he stayed too close to the cub and his parents returned. So the old man quickly left the area and watched from a distance to see if the mother lion or the pack would return. However, after the sun began to set, and there was still no activity to secure the lion cub, the shepherd decided that, in his best judgement, and for the safety and survival of the lion cub, he would take him to his farmhouse and care for him.

Over the next eight months, the shepherd hand-fed this cub with fresh milk and kept him warm, safe, and secure in the protective confines of the farmhouse. After the cub had grown into a playful, energetic ball of shiny muscle, he would take him out daily with the sheep to graze. The lion cub grew with the sheep and became a part of the herd. They accepted him as one of their own, and he acted like one of them. After fifteen months had passed, the little cub had become an adolescent lion, but he acted, sounded, responded, and behaved just like one of the sheep. In essence, the lion had become a sheep by association. He had lost himself and become one of them.

One hot day, four years later, the shepherd sat on a rock, taking refuge in the slight shade of a leafless tree. He watched over his flock as they waded into the quiet, flowing water of a river to drink. The lion who thought he was a sheep followed them in to the water to drink.

Suddenly, just across the river, there appeared out of the thick jungle bush a large beast that the lion cub had never seen before. The sheep panicked and, as if under the spell of some survival instinct, leaped out of the water and dashed toward the direction of the farm. They never stopped until they were all safely huddled behind the fence of the pen. Strangely, the lion cub, who was now a grown lion, was also huddled with them, stricken with fear.

While the flock scrambled for the safety of the farm, the beast made a sound that seemed to shake the forest. When he lifted his head above the tall grass, the shepherd could see that he held in his blood-drenched mouth the lifeless body of a lamb from the flock. The man knew that danger had returned to his part of the forest.

Seven days passed without further incident, and then, while the flock grazed, the young lion went down to the river to drink. As he bent over the water, he suddenly panicked and ran wildly toward the farmhouse for safety. The sheep did not run and wondered why he had, while the lion wondered why the sheep had not run since he had seen the beast again. After a while, the young lion went slowly back to the flock and then to the water to drink again. Once more, he saw the beast and froze in panic. It was his own reflection in the water.

While he tried to understand what he was seeing, suddenly, the beast appeared out of the jungle again. The flock dashed with breakneck speed toward the farmhouse, but before the young lion could move, the beast stepped in the water toward him and made that deafening sound that filled the forest. For a moment, the young lion felt that his life was about to end. He realized that he saw not just one beast, but two - one in the water and one before him.

His head was spinning with confusion as the beast came within ten feet of him and growled at him face-to-face with frightening power in a way that seemed to say to him, "Try it, and come and follow me."

As fear gripped the young lion, he decided to try to appease the beast and make the same sound. However, the only noise that came from his gaping jaws was the sound of a sheep. The beast responded with an even louder burst that seemed to say, "Try it again." After seven or eight attempts, the young lion suddenly heard himself make the same sound as the beast. He also felt stirrings in his body and feelings that he had never known before. It was as if he was experiencing a total transformation in mind, body, and spirit.

Suddenly, there stood in the river of life two beasts growling at and to each other. Then the shepherd saw something he would never forget. As the beastly sounds filled the forest for miles around, the big beast stopped, turned his back on the young lion, and started toward the forest. Then he paused and looked at the young lion one more time and growled, as if to say, "Are you coming?" The young lion knew what the gesture meant and suddenly realized that his day of decision had arrived - the day he would have to choose whether to continue to live life as a sheep or to be the self he had just discovered. He knew that, to become his true self, he would have to give up the safe, secure, predictable, and simple life of the farm and enter the frightening, wild, untamed, unpredictable, dangerous life of the jungle. It was a day to become true to himself and leave the false image of another life behind. It was an invitation to a "sheep" to become the king of the jungle. Most importantly, it was an invitation for the body of a lion to possess the spirit of a lion.

After looking back and forth at the farm and the jungle a few times, the young lion turned his back on the farm and the sheep with whom he had lived for years, and he followed the beast into the forest to become who he always had been - a lion king. [1]
That anecdote has touched me because it is kind of figuratively talking about me in that I have lived my life like a lamb yet I was born a lion. So I have resolved to awaken the lion-king in me: that is to believe in myself and to be all that God intended me to be. Or as Prophet Isaiah put it, I have resolved to arise and shine for my light has come!

[1] I have extracted this anecdote from page 26-29 of The Spirit of Leadership by Dr. Myles Munroe, published in the United States by Whitaker House in 2005.


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Obeying God's Laws

As I wrote in my previous story, I matriculated at the University of Nairobi (UoN) on September 2010 to pursue a degree in Political Science, History, Economics & Public Administration. I came to love studying the course and the writing that went with it that I regained the vitality that I had lost in my traumatic experience I had at JKUAT. My renewed vigour made me lose excess weight.

But then the unfortunate happened: I was unable to raise university fees from the several friends I approached for help. That must have frustrated me because I woke up one morning and sent threat messages to my family that I wouldn't go back home again. Alarmed, they began searching for me. They tried contacting me via phone but I ignored their calls and SMS including one from my father in which he wrote of how my mother was crying because of me.

Eventually, I was tracked down through the mobile phone network after which I was forcefully admitted at UoN clinic for about three weeks. I didn't take note of the exact prognosis that led to my admission in the clinic but I do remember how guilty I felt after I was discharged from the clinic. It was a terrible vortex of guilt - the kind that makes you think the whole world is criticizing you.

To make matters worse, I lost the vitality that I had acquired upon enrolling at UoN. I remember wondering one night why I had lost my writing creativity. My loss of vitality made me gain weight again. And it has taken me a long time to get my groove back to consistent levels.

On reflecting about all those incidences, I am reminded of a verse in the Book of Deuteronomy that says if we obey God's laws - enemies will come to us in one direction and they will scatter in seven different directions. But if we disobey God's laws, enemies will come to us in one direction and we will scatter in seven different directions. I hope you have noted the difference, have you?

For me, I disobeyed God's laws while at UoN by threatening my family with text messages and I ran away in seven different directions of which four were forcefully getting admitted in the university clinic, feeling terribly guilty, losing vitality and gaining weight. But at least I learnt the value of obedience the hard way.

I will therefore from now henceforth be keen to obey God's laws so that I can live a life of peace, prosperity and contentment. So help me God.


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Thuita's Principle®

If you have read my stories on this website, then you know I had a hard time in understanding the intricacies of Electronics & Computer Engineering at JKUAT. I simply couldn't piece together the courses we studied in class in an effort to know how a computer works. Like we would learn Calculus, Organic Chemistry and Engineering Drawing but still couldn't relate that knowledge with how electronic gadgets function. That engineering course was in two words, completely harassing.

So I smartly dropped of JKUAT in my second year and when I returned home to contemplate my future, I found myself in a quagmire of how to acquire a university degree. I tried re-applying to American colleges but was denied admission by all the three that I chose to apply. My brother Gatonga then suggested that I pursue to degree level the Diploma in Information Technology I had acquired at Starehe Institute. That sounded like a good idea since I had enjoyed learning web-design and computer-programming in the Diploma course.

Eventually though, I chose to matriculate at the University of Nairobi (UoN) on September 2010 to pursue a degree in Political Science, History, Economics & Public Administration. It was a good but imprudent decision. Okay, let me explain.

It was a good decision because I broadened my knowledge at UoN. I loved studying History especially of African nations, some of which I learnt have been ruled by dictators who have milked public coffers like their personal cows. And I related the knowledge I gleaned from History with what I learnt in Political Science, like that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

But matriculating at UoN was an imprudent decision because I began the course without having a guaranteed source of money to fund my tuition and upkeep expenses. My father struggled to raise my first semester fees because unlike when I was in JKUAT, this time I wasn't on a government subsidized degree program.

I eventually and ignominiously dropped out of UoN after my first semester but after having learnt what I call the Thuita's Principle® which states as follows:
"Never start a project without knowing where to get resources to fund it to completion." [1]
This principle basically teaches us not to start a project unless we are sure we have enough money to finish it. Like we shouldn't start constructing a mansion when we only have money for laying the foundation. The principle can save us from becoming the laughing stock in town.

[1] This principle has been copyrighted with the Kenya Copyright Board. All rights reserved worldwide. DO NOT QUOTE IT WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR.


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