Overcoming the Past
As you may have deduced from the stories I post on this lovely blog of mine, I go for a walk everyday to my hometown of Kiserian, which is about three kilometres from where I live. I go for walks to keep fit and to control my weight. And to make the walks fun and enjoyable, I usually meditate and observe my surroundings while walking.
Early last week while walking in Kiserian, I spotted a young man lying by the roadside near a certain petrol station. He was lying on his stomach, so I didn't get to see his face. Nobody seemed to mind the sight of the idle young man, even the motorbike riders who were seated nearby waiting for customers. As I passed by, I thought of how pathetic the young man's life must be for him to lie by the roadside doing nothing during the day.
A few days later while going for my daily walk in Kiserian, I saw a young man near the same petrol station talking loudly to no one in particular. He was dirty and unkempt - the kind of ruffian that would scare a little innocent girl away. As I passed by him, I guessed he was the same young man I had seen lying on his stomach by the roadside a few days before.
Then last Sunday during my walk in Kiserian, I saw a small crowd milling around the stairs of a certain building in the town. Out of curiosity, I went to see what had attracted the crowd to the spot. And when I went near enough, I saw that it was the same young man I had seen talking aloud a few days before. He still looked dirty and unkempt. And he was talking angrily to the small crowd as a man interrogated him. The whole scene resembled that of a mob beating a small-time thief.
I didn't hang around and find out what had attracted the small crowd to the dirty and unkempt young man. Instead, I turned on my heel and continued my walk back home, finding it wise to mind my own business.
Later on while mulling over the fate of the young man who had appeared on my radar screen last week, I wondered what kind of a woman had given birth to him. I mean, which mother would permit his son to grow into such a miserable wretch as he?
Then I thought of what would happen to the wretched young man if he reformed into a good person. He would certainly suffer from unbearable guilt because of his miserable past. I have personally felt guilty over what I have done and said in the past even though I haven't been that miserable. How much more guilt the young man would feel! It could even drive him to commit suicide.
Overcoming the past can be a daunting task for those of us who have been miserable. Our conscience keeps on tormenting us with guilt and shame every time we remember something wrong we did or said in the past. But it doesn't have to remain that way. We can overcome the past and lead a life of joy and peace.
One of the most effective ways to overcome the past is to acquire knowledge by reading books. Knowledge will help us put everything in perspective. It will also help us learn that we are not the only sinners. So if you are having trouble in overcoming the past, my advice to you is: read widely and wisely.
Another effective way to overcome the past is to believe in a loving, forgiving God and then confess our sins to Him. The Bible promises us that if we confess our sins to God, He will forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness.
When I talk of confessing our sins, I am reminded of my boyhood days when I admitted my sins before a Catholic priest. I used to feel nervous while going for the confession sessions despite the fact that the priest was always seated behind a veil in a way we couldn't see each other. And I remember confessing such sins as killing an innocent animal. The priest would patiently listen to my sins and then recommend some prayers for me to recite in the church.
Even though I don't think it's necessary to confess our sins through a priest, I like the way the Catholic Church instills a penitent spirit in its followers. Such is the kind of spirit I would recommend to anyone struggling to overcome the past. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on overcoming the past, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Slaying the Dragon of Guilt". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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How I Got Swindled Out of Money
Last Friday, I had an interesting dream which I beg to tell you about. I dreamt of myself looking for new shirts to wear. My friend Samuel Njathi took me to a certain shop where I tried on a T-shirt and a polo-shirt. And when they fitted me, I bought them at Ksh. 2,900.
Then I went to that same shop to have a song of mine produced. And they charged me Ksh. 2,200 for producing the song. After the song production, I requested the attendant to transfer the song from her computer to my phone. She did, and then wrote me an invoice asking me to pay Ksh. 500 for transferring the song from her computer to my phone.
When she handed me the invoice, I was surprised and angry to learn she was charging me an extra Ksh. 500 for just transferring my song to my phone. I protested for being overcharged and then called my friend Samuel Njathi. As the attendant listened, I said to Njathi while full of emotion, "Imagine I have paid Ksh. 2,900 for buying shirts here, then Ksh. 2,200 for producing a song and now this attendant is charging me Ksh. 500 for just transferring the song to my phone."
Turning to the attendant, I frankly told her I wouldn't pay the Ksh. 500. And I stormed out of the shop unafraid.
As I was walking home from the shop, it dawned on me that I had also been overcharged for buying a T-shirt and a polo-shirt at Ksh. 2,900. I thought I should have bought them at Ksh. 400 as I did in other shops in Kiserian market.
Still while walking home from the shop, I feared the attendant may have deleted my song from my phone when I refused to pay the Ksh. 500 she was charging me. But I again thought to myself she couldn't have been smart enough to do so as I protested. I however decided to check my phone just to be sure if the song was still there. As I was checking the phone, I woke up from the dream.
When I woke up, I went to the toilet for a short call while mulling over the dream. Before heading back to bed, I wrote all that I had dreamt about while the dream was still fresh in my memory. That's how I have managed to recall it so clearly.
Thinking about the dream later on over the weekend reminded me of the times I have been swindled out of my money by people who have overcharged me for their goods and services. Like there was a time a decade ago when I was charged Ksh. 70 for a new watch battery and a strip for the watch. It was not until I got home that I realized I had been overcharged, considering a new watch used to sell at Ksh. 90 in Kiserian market. That realization made me feel bitter.
Then sometime in December 2014, I entered into a cyber-cafe in downtown Nairobi and asked the attendant how much she was charging for photocopying a national identity card. She told me it was Ksh. 5. Guess what! When I was paying for browsing the internet in the cyber, the same attendant gave me less change than I expected. She had charged me Ksh. 10 for photocopying my identity card. I confronted her about it by reminding her that she had told me it was Ksh 5 but she insisted it was Ksh. 10. Being the peace-loving young man that I was, I left her alone and walked out of the cyber. Later on in the evening of that day, I felt very bitter for having been overcharged. I don't like it when someone swindles me out of my money, no matter how small the amount.
And then sometime last year, I went to a certain cyber-cafe in my hometown of Kiserian to print business cards. And guess what again! The cyber-cafe attendant charged me Ksh. 10 per business card yet I had always paid Ksh. 5 in other cybers. Of course I did tell her what I thought the actual printing cost of each business card should be but when she asserted that it was Ksh. 10, I gave her the money and left the cyber an unhappy man. But then as I walked home, it clicked in my mind that the attendant had forgotten to charge me for browsing the internet in her cyber; that neutralized my feelings of bitterness and I walked home a happy man.
My dear reader, we are living in a fallen world. There are people out there who are swindling others out of money by overcharging them. So let's heed the advice of Max Ehrman, the author of the evergreen Desiderata, who advised us to "exercise caution in [our] business affairs for the world is full of trickery." Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on how I got swindled out of money, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometime back on "Dealing With Difficult People". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.