A Disturbing Heartache
A True Story
on Dec 18, 2019
Last Saturday, my parents were attending the wedding of one of my cousins. Even though I have never interacted with the cousin who hails from a wealthy family, I decided to also go for the wedding so that I could get to know people. We left home at around 12.45pm in a taxi. As always, I carried in my bag a book to read during any idle moments that may arise.
When we got inside the taxi, the first thing the driver did before switching on the engine was uttering a prayer. While leaving home, the driver preached to my ailing mother how important it is for her to have faith in God if she wants to get healed from her ailment. And as we were heading to the wedding, I noted the music he was playing in his taxi was all gospel. I loved some of the songs I heard, especially Don Moen's "God Will Make a Way". And I also noted the driver had put religious quotes in the taxi. The quotes I managed to read were "God First" which was on the windshield, and "God is My Protector" which was on a sticker glued on the dashboard. The taxi driver was such a religious man.
As we got stuck in traffic, I read the book that I had carried in my bag. Perhaps because I was in a good mood, I enjoyed leafing through the book. I recall reading that insecure people find it hard to apologize to those they have wronged because saying sorry makes them feel weak. I also recall reading from the book on how we can maintain our integrity by not talking ill of those absent.
We arrived at the wedding venue at around 3.00pm. So we missed the wedding church service but we were on time for the reception. By the way, the wedding venue was in the posh Windsor Golf & Country Club, which is about twenty kilometres from Nairobi City.
While we were alighting from the taxi, the driver asked me to leave my bag in the taxi but I refused. With the bag on my back, I walked into the tent where the wedding reception was being held. I found people lining up for food, so I also lined up. On being served with food, I scanned the tent for people I knew. Most of the folks in the tent were strangers to me but I recognized a few faces.
After I became satiated with food, I began walking around the tent, talking to the people I knew and introducing myself to those who were strangers. And I was carrying myself around the tent confidently as if I owned the place. Mark you, this was Windsor Golf & Country Club, a place that is frequented only by the rich.
Guess what! When I went to a certain table and sat next to a white woman ready to initiate a conversation, a guard came and whispered to me, "I want to talk to you." He led me out of the tent. And as we were walking out of the tent, fear ran its icy hand down my spine. Had I done something wrong? I worried.
When we got out of the tent, the guard informed me that people were suspicious of me because of the bag I was carrying on my back. He asked me to take it to the car. I humbled myself and took the bag to the taxi driver who was seated inside the tent. Upon telling him what the guard had instructed me, the taxi driver just put the bag under the table while telling me I should have listened to him when he asked me to leave the bag in the taxi.
I then went back to the guard and apprised him that my bag was in the custody of the taxi driver. Looking satisfied with my action, the guard asked me to sit down and relax in one place. I went inside the tent and got seated while feeling bothered by what the guard had put me through.
Guess what again! As I was sitting down pondering about the action that guard had taken on me, the wedding emcee approached me from behind and inquired from me whether I had an invitation card to the wedding. I replied that it was my parents who had the card while pointing to him where they were seated. He then left me alone.
Although the guard and the emcee had talked to me in a kind manner, I felt hurt by their suspicion of me. It was like I was a nobody in the wedding. So much was I hurt that I lost my appetite for the cake that was being served. The good thing with me was that I remained calm throughout the whole ordeal.
I continued feeling the hurt in my heart on our way back home, so much that I didn't read when we got stuck in traffic as it is my habit. At one point as he drove home, the taxi driver told my parents that I was asleep while I was in fact mulling over how I had been treated like a nobody in the wedding. It hurt me like hell.
Over the past few days, I have caught myself replaying in my mind the images of the guard informing me that people were suspicious of me because of the bag I was carrying and of the wedding emcee inquiring whether I had an invitation card. And the ache that those memories have inflicted on my heart has made me more sensitive to the heartaches of other people.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on a disturbing heartache, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Gaining Wisdom in Pain". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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A True Story
on Dec 13, 2019
As I have said before in this blog, I first read the endearing autobiography of Bill Clinton in 2007 when I was a first year student at JKUAT after my Communication Skills lecturer lent me the book. Imagine I read the 969-page book during my first semester at the university while keeping up with classwork. And I still managed to pass all the first semester subjects. I was such a diligent student.
So as to get more insight on how I too could achieve my dreams, I bought my own copy of the autobiography when we broke for a long holiday at JKUAT in December 2007. I re-read the book during that long holiday and again in 2010. While re-reading it, I was inspired by the following words of Bill Clinton in the prologue of the autobiography:
When I was a young man just out of law school and eager to get on with my life, on a whim I briefly put aside my reading preference for fiction and history and bought one of those how-to books: How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, by Alan Lakein. The book's main point was the necessity of listing short-, medium-, and long-term goals, then categorizing them in order of their importance, with A group being the most important, the B group next, and the C the last, then listing under each goal specific activities designed to achieve them. I still have that paperback book, now almost thirty years old. And I'm sure I have that old list somewhere buried in my papers, though I can't find it. However, I do remember the A list. I wanted to be a good man, have a good marriage and children, have good friends, make a successful political life, and write a great book.On analyzing the life of Bill Clinton, I have realized that he achieved all those life goals that he set when he was a young man. He has been a good man; he has been happily married to Hillary Clinton; he has had wonderful friends around the globe; he became President of the United States and led his country to peace and unprecedented prosperity; and he wrote a compelling autobiography that stirred me to action.
What I find wise about Bill Clinton is the way he put "being a good man" at the top of his goals. I find that wise because at the end of our lives, what matters is whether we were good people. Don't you agree?
Inspired by Bill Clinton, I also penned my life goals in 2010. I basically copied Clinton's goals, then added several more. And when I publicly shared the goals on email and social media in 2015, some people criticized me for setting many goals. Even my senior brother Bob Njinju thought my goals were too many to be attained; he advised me to focus on one.
Coming to think of it, Bill Clinton wasn't that stupid to set as many life goals as I did. He was smart enough to focus on a few he had the ability to accomplish. That's why he succeeded in attaining them. So I have also decided to focus on a few life goals. In addition to being a good man, making great friends and having a wonderful family, my other goals are becoming a gifted writer and a best-selling musician.
Over the past three years, I have been working hard at becoming a gifted writer by reading a lot and practising the writer's craft. Even with all that diligence, I still feel I have a long way to go in becoming a great writer. But I am nonetheless impressed with the progress I have made so far because these days, I no longer plagiarize the writings of other authors.
As of becoming a best-selling musician, my focus is on composing hymns with tuneful melodies and inspiring lyrics - the kind of hymns that will leave people humming them as they commute to work. So far, I have produced five hymns which haven't been as great as I'd have loved them to be. The hymns are available in the videos' section of this blog.
From my experiences of composing hymns, I have found it hard to come up with tuneful melodies and even harder to come up with lines that rhyme. Some people have praised me for writing good English, but the fact that I have trouble coming up with rhyming lines for my hymns leads me to believe that I am still not a master of the Queen's language. I however believe that with focus and with God's help, I will eventually evolve into the great hymn writer that I am aspiring to be.
Recently, I watched on TV a choir of more than a hundred people sing the wonderful old hymn "Joy to the World". And as I listened to the choir, I felt envious of Isaac Watts, the composer of that hymn. Isaac Watts must have been bursting with pride, as he reposes in heaven, to see his hymn being sang by a prominent choir. Such is the kind of achievement I'd love to attain.
My dear reader, I beseech you to also set life goals. And don't make the mistake of coming up with too many life goals. Select a few that you have the ability to achieve, and then focus on them. The keyword here is "focus". Remember sun rays are harmless but when focussed with a magnifying glass, they can start a fire. It pays to focus.
 I have extracted this passage from the prologue of My Life by William J. Clinton, published in the United Kingdom in 2005 by Arrow Books.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on setting goals, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Imitation is Limitation". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.