Developing a Sense of Humour
Earlier on in this decade when Mum used to run a grocery shop in my hometown of Kiserian, I happened to visit her in her shop one night at around 7.20p.m. when there was an electrical power failure in the town. The whole Kiserian was black with darkness. As I was walking in the town that night, I spotted an acquaintance of mine in the darkness. And because I didn't know him by name, I tapped him on the back to grab his attention.
No sooner had I tapped him on the back than electrical power returned in Kiserian lighting the whole town, which prompted the acquaintance to turn to me and joke, "You see the way I am powerful; you touch me and the lights come back!"
I found that joke so funny and well-timed that I burst out laughing. The acquaintance had made my day. I am sure he also felt better emotionally for cracking that effective joke.
Given how great I felt that night after the acquaintance made my day, I now believe it's wonderful to possess a sense of humour. It makes life interesting and improves self-esteem. And because a sense of humour is that valuable, let me share with you, my dear reader, two lessons I have learnt in life so far on cracking effective jokes.
The first is, be quick to take advantage of an opportunity to be humorous. Don't delay because if you do, telling the joke late might not produce the intended effect.
A couple of years ago, I recall one evening I quickly took advantage of an opportunity to be humorous. That evening, I was walking towards Kiserian when I saw an elderly friend of mine called Baba Waweru strutting along the road with his black-coloured dog. I greeted him jovially from the opposite side of the road, then I asked him, "Is that your dog?"
"Yes!" Baba Waweru answered.
And then I jokingly inquired from him, "Why is it as black as Satan?"
Well, maybe that question doesn't sound humorous when I translate it to English but trust me, it was so funny when I uttered it in my mother-tongue of Kikuyu that it set some women nearby convulsing with laughter.
The second lesson I will share with you on cracking effective jokes is that a humor which works in one situation might not work in another. I learnt that lesson the hard way a couple of times. Allow me to tell you of one example.
Back in 2003 when I was in Form 2 at Starehe Boys' Centre, I was taught Geography by a soft-spoken lady called Mrs. Juma. One Friday, she happened to be teaching us on the last lesson of the day. After the bell rang and her lesson was over, she picked up her teaching materials and started walking out of the classroom while wishing us a happy weekend. From where I was seated, I shouted to Mrs. Juma, "And you too teacher. Rest in peace."
On hearing me say that, Mrs. Juma turned to look at me, wearing a facial expression that revealed she was like, "What the hell?" And the joke made one of my classmates giggle.
Encouraged by how funny I had sounded by telling Mrs. Juma to rest in peace during the weekend break, I found myself repeating that joke a couple more times till one Thursday night.
That Thursday night, I was leaving All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi after a choir practice when I passed by a few fellow choristers who were also heading to their homes. Instead of wishing them a good night, I told them to rest in peace, a statement that made them become stiff with silence. I could tell that I had scared them and that my joke had not worked this time round. Since then, I have always been leery of telling people to rest in peace.
There you have them: that is, the two lessons I have learnt on cracking effective jokes. I urge you to strive to be humorous as you go about your daily life; it will improve the quality of your life. Before I finish, let me leave you with this quote by the author Hugh Sidey, "Above all else, go out with a sense of humour. It is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life." Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you have enjoyed this story of mine on developing a sense of humour, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Thriving". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Confessing the Need for God
Sometime back in the year 2014, I became interested in owning a hymnal called Songs of Fellowship which I had come to like when I used to sing with the All Saints' Cathedral 9.30am English service choir. And because I couldn't afford to buy a copy of the hymnal, I approached several choristers I had sang with in the cathedral for help.
As usual, my friend Michael Njeru was among the very few choristers who bothered to reply. He told me he had a personal copy of the hymnal which he lent me for one month. During that one month, I went through the hymnal, photocopied the hymns I liked, and then returned it dutifully to Michael Njeru.
Among the hymns I liked in the hymnal was one I hadn't heard before titled "O Breathe of Life", a simple hymn with a tuneful melody and inspiring lyrics that have spoken to me in a manner I can relate to. I have particularly come to like its second verse which goes as follows:
That verse aptly captures what has happened to me. I have been bent and broken by life's challenges till I have confessed the need for God. Okay, let me tell you the full story.
O breathe of God come bend us, break us,
Till humbly we confess our need;
Then in thy tenderness remake us,
Revive, restore for this we plead.
When I was at Starehe Institute in 2006, I began to doubt the literary accuracy of the Bible, something I never hid from people. I used to argue with anyone who cared to listen to my rantings about how I thought the Bible was a fictitious book of the Jews. Like at one time in April 2007 while having my hair washed with chemicals in an attempt to make me appear fashionable, I found myself arguing with the woman washing my hair. Unable to stomach my arguments, the woman said this of me to her colleagues, "This is one of those people who pretend to be intelligent." I could tell from the tone of her voice that she thought I was one big fool. And I was.
Over the years since that time in 2007, I have faced challenges and committed mistakes that have made me confess God's need and turn to the Bible for guidance. For instance, I have suffered from excessive guilt; I have failed in several ventures such as getting rejected at top American colleges; I have tried running a political campaign only to find myself lacking the charisma I thought I could radiate - I could go on and on to list all the setbacks I have faced and the mistakes I have made but I beg to stop there in the interest of time.
Those challenges and mistakes have made me confess the need of God in my life. These days, I always commune with Him everyday not only to pray for my needs but also to give thanks. My past mistakes and challenges have made me wiser, so I not only pray for things but also for wisdom, knowledge, insight, understanding, good judgement and discernment. I also pray that I may be filled with love, peace, courage and gratitude each passing day. And I am always keen not to forget praying for courage.
I do meditate on the Bible as well since I now believe it to be the inerrant Word of God. And from my meditations on Scriptures, i have come to value honesty and hard work. Believe me, I have been working hard to be a good writer and a creative musician, hobbies that I am striving to turn into profitable work.
My dear reader, if you are facing challenges in life such as suffering from excessive guilt or going through messy relationships, I urge you to humble yourself and confess God's need as I have done. Accept that you can't lead a fulfilling life without His insight and intervention. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on confessing God's need, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "How I Came to Believe in the Bible". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.