Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category

the best things in life arent things

Growing up I thought life sucked. I was a smart kid closely nurtured by two able parents. The extended family was always present. Maua Town in Meru County was a complete set of a sub-set of communities. A community was either based on trade (Miraa being the gold mine), Politics (no one messed with Njuri Ncheke), or Religious affiliation (Christians and the few Somali Muslims had a mutual respect for each other). Mine was a staunch Christian community. Closely-knit and very strict on morals. The pastors and church elders provided able leadership. Grown ups were the role models. The children were required to respect adults and were answerable to the neighbors’ or friends’ parents as well.  Sundays were a real Sabbath. They began with Sunday school in the morning then hanging out at either of the other kids’ place after church and you’d find your way home once darkness kicked.

sunday school

My buddy Kimathi (Kim) and I were a 2-man army and we made it our job to make our childhood rock. We engaged in communal football matches, mchongowano, Sunday school stuff, and still beefed up with boys from ‘the other squad’ whenever the need arose. Chobo Ua was not for the faint hearted. The playlist consisted of Emachichi, Kiande, Roughtone, Henry Mutuko and a bit of Don Moen. Within no time we hit puberty and our habits and interactions advanced. It began with learning the urban slang. Sheng was such a cool way to communicate! Then from watching early cartoon shows like Sesame Street to watching football matches in entertainment spots feeling all grown up. From playing ‘banno’ with other kids and getting whooped by our moms because of dirt to playing pool in not-so-community-approved places. Sometimes we crossed some set boundaries and some people started pointing fingers. We did not care much though. We were beginning to get noticed. We were discovering the world and also ‘getting discovered’ in the process. We discovered and supported Arsenal. We discovered music with more catchy beats and ‘real bars’. Our playlist changed to Esir, Nameless, Juakali and Professa. Then 2 Pac, Biggy and Jay-Z. There was an actual world out there that was unexperienced. We discovered that the world offered much more than we had grown up seeing.

Then ‘growing up’ happened, and it was time to be granted freedom away from the nest. I thought life was about to get beautiful!

freedom

Wrong. I had just been released into the REAL world. The real school, The School of Hardknocks. I was about to learn crucial lessons through discouragements, disappointments, heart wrenching heartbreaks, wrong choices, outright mistakes, painful losses, masked ‘frienemies’, and the list goes on.  This is what constitutes pain. I guess the street phrase for this is “Life Happens”. Without it, boys won’t be men, the weak won’t get strong, and the strong won’t realize that they are strong. Worthwhile victory doesn’t come without a price to pay – just like you cannot bake a cake without breaking a few eggs. I have learnt to soldier through adversity instead of wishing it away. I say this confidently because I have loved and lost and won and cried myself to the person I am today – way better than the person I was yesterday.

Trials make you better while they make you sick – Lecrae

On the other hand, I have experienced extreme joys, wow adventures, breath-taking moments, been to amazing places, and met some really great people. Life in Nairobi’s Eastlands has taught me that the world can be a jungle and that just like in the wild, you’ve got to stay alert or else. You snooze, you lose. There is an upside to every downside. I believe there is a reason why God created “the other version” to everything: male and female, light and darkness, water bodies and dry land, David and Goliath. Likewise, there is always a head for every tail and a positive for every negative. Its all about the seasons: a time to win and a time to lose. Time to laugh and time to cry. Time to celebrate and time to mourn. A time to gather, and a time to scatter. Time to initiate and time to terminate. In life there has to be ups and downs. That is called being alive.

ups and downs

I have learnt that learning is a lifetime process that ought to be taken a day at a time. However, some of the life teachings I’ve received in my 20s are the basis to understanding myself and my place in this world. Back then I figured that by this age I would be much happier because I imagined having a few degrees, a six-figure salary, a souped up ride, and a drop-dead-diva for a trophy wife. Now I know better: The best things in life are free – like quite walks in the park, watching the sunset, sharing in love, seeing a smile on someone’s face and knowing you put it there, the list is endless. The best things are unseen. They are felt.

Even now I get discouraged
Wonder if they take it all back
Will I still keep the courage

I refuse to be a role model
I set goals, take control, drink out my own bottles

I make mistakes but learn from every one
And when it’s said and done
I bet this brother be a better one

If I upset you don’t stress never forget
That God isn’t finished with me yet

-2 Pac

thorn_in_the_flesh

If today was elections day and I was some republic, votes would probably qualify me as the least qualified person to lead the nation to the Promised Land.  My portfolio wouldn’t back me up much and a background check on my past would probably be my downfall. If history was anything to go by, I wouldn’t be the most effective commander in chief! If “me” was a corporation headed by myself, I highly doubt I would even make it to the Securities Exchange for investors to own a piece of me. The B.O.Gs would probably show me the door due to endless mismanagement and abuse of office. If I was a PC I would be that virus causing it dismal performance.

I would harbor zero bad intentions though. I would love myself too much to push myself down the drain, yet too insufficient to lead myself to glory. Blame it on the “forbidden fruits”!

I have discovered that I just could be my own’s worst enemy!

Not because I’m really “bad” – nor am I really good. I am trying my best to run the race well aiming for the prize. Well, at least the spirit is willing, but then the flesh is too damn weak! – Get it?

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.                                                                                                                                                                                     – 2 Cor 2:7, New International Version –

In an ideal world, my best treasure would be the know-how, ability, and will to keep me away from myself. And they say that you should “nurture and embrace the glorious mess that you are”!  Too bad. I am afraid that my best attempts at exactly that are leading to disastrous results. I am too insufficient to adequately nurture my “glorious” mess since my free-spirited nature aims at achieving freedom of the mind and body – mostly in not-so-“glorious” means. The natural and authentic me has nil regard to what really matters such as humanity, spirituality, eternity – matters of the spirit and the soul, you know?

Everything that is bad for me feels so good. All I’m saying is, I have a way of embracing bad habits that make me happy. I’m the type to take flu medication as I deliberately get rained on at the roof on a freezing night. Just to say I F’in did it! … You know the kind that sell their therapist crack? Yes.

Sometimes I get so carried away in feeling good that I get blinded to doing good. I know I am not alone in this. We all have ‘that thing inside us’ that cheers us up into screwing up while enjoying every minute of the thrill. I know this because I am human, and I am talking about humans. As long as you are flesh and blood, you are born with that “thing”.

That thing, right there, is The Thorn in The Flesh.

thorn

But then again, thorns are here to stay. No amount of discipline, morals, ethics, safety, righteousness, or praying will ever rid you of the pricks.  The thorn is inevitable. There are thorns in all aspects of life – whether good or bad. There is no escaping the damn thorn! Even roses have thorns!

thorn in rose

By now I am smart enough to know that I am stupid.

I may be cautious enough to guard myself over whatever else, just not the thorn. I may have the best of love and ambition for me, but the thorns are here to remind me that I am just a man. That I may wish the best for me, but wouldn’t get the best for me. That I am mortal. That I am dangerous on my own. Very dangerous.

I guess I need the Savior to manage the thorns on my behalf.

Runnin’ from the truth, full of 40 Proof
Half-naked looks, lies that I only wanted more of
Knew in my heart I was opposed to you
Knew I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do                                                                                                              Made in your image but I was more like a menace                                                                                                             – Lecrae –

grace

It’s My Birthday

Posted: July 11, 2014 in My Life

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please? Thank you. First of all let me state at this point that the piece below was actually written exactly two weeks ago. I know sometimes being two weeks’ late to a birthday notification can be quite unacceptable, but hold up, am a bonafide African. Lateness is our specialization. We plan for events late, send invitations late, turn up late, drag the program till it’s late, and leave late! My neighbor left the house too late for a Sunday service that he actually got to the church on a Monday morning! So relax, it could have been worse.

Back to the issue at hand…

That’s Right, Everybody Keep Calm, It’s My Freaking Birthday! It’s the day God breathed life into me to launch me into the universe with a mission that I’m probably yet to find/fulfill. Today a brother turned a year older. y’all probably wondering how old I am. Well, am officially in my late twenties! That’s right. So sit down and pay attention while I speak! Once again, Everybody keep calm, it’s my freaking birthday, and #TGIF!!.

Without further ado, first is the expression of gratitude. Call it the vote of thanks, even though the party aint over yet. In my life I have enjoyed the highs and suffered the lows, the bottoms. All in equal measure. I have, sometimes given out, but I’ve always received. I have given in sometimes, but I’ve never given up. I have been through tricky situations; heart aches, bad-looking sicknesses and injuries, made a few enemies, a few bad decisions and choices (well, maybe not a few), encountered traps from the enemy, failed a few times, and seen many other bad days. But thanks to the Almighty God, I’ve lived to witness this new chapter in my life. Today am alive and I am healthy. I’ve been through the fire but I’ve never burnt into flames. Instead, I have always emerged a stronger me with every new tough challenge. I’ve never said die! Indeed, God is good.

Then there are my loved ones. Those without whom, life wouldn’t have made much sense. Am grateful for the privilege of having that group of people they call family; with whom am much pleased. I’ll remain forever grateful to my parents for my greatest asset; my faith. My spiritual upbringing and of course investing in me in many other aspects of life. Let’s have a loud of applause to my two siblings who’ve always had mad faith in me. Thank you for positively influencing most of my life decisions even though you probably never noticed it. You’re always looking up to me, and I pray God that he will lead me as I lead you.

There is a special group of people in my life I call friends. Those who’ve been reliable partners through this journey; a wall to fall back to whenever I was out, those who cried with me whenever I (we) couldn’t take it anymore, the partners in crime, the bros who celebrated with me for every new job landed or new potential soul-mate found, my cheering-squad in every other race in life, those who laughed with me in the rare times of extreme joy, held me by the hand when I was falling, and of cause those very close ones who never let me do stupid stuff. Alone. My bros, I understand that the dynamics of our relationship has changed over time depending on a few factors, but I salute y’all. You’ve exhibited the two factors I admire most in friendships; loyalty and respect. Remember way back while in school, when we would have innocent fun, pledge our loyalty to each other, and envision the future us? Well, here we are, still keeping the good fight. Aluta Continua.

Before I bounce, here’s to everyone that’s reading this. Whether you had pizza for lunch or just made through another day hungry, whether you’re the pride of your hood/village, or the publicly recognized screw-up, whether they like you or not, whether you are happy or sad, I just came to tell you one thing, every next minute you live, God allowed it. Live your life and live it well. Every minute spent unhappy is 60 seconds wasted. You gotta do you and be proud of yourself. Do not be affected by their opinion about you because you are never as bad as they say, and you are never as good as they say. Thus, Your mission, friends, should you choose to take it, is to pursue awesomeness. Baraka Kibao. Baadae!