Delight in Simple Things
A True Story
on Jul 22, 2020
It is a tale I have told again and again on this blog, but one which I seem never to tire of reflecting and narrating in fresh words. And that's how I went astray at the university in JKUAT in 2008 when I was in my second year. This is what happened: I completely lost interest in my studies and stopped attending classes at the university. I just hung around JKUAT doing my own reading.
Then one day in August 2008, an unfortunate thing occurred at JKUAT: students went on strike during which they caused a lot of damage. That led to the closure of the university and all students were commanded to vacate JKUAT. As for me, I didn't go home. I just slept in the open air like a wild animal and went for several days without bathing and changing my clothes.
The day JKUAT was being reopened, I remember boarding a matatu and suddenly fearing I could have been stinking for having neither bathed nor changed my clothes for several days. Fortunately, nobody I came in contact with during the matatu ride complained about me emitting a foul smell.
After JKUAT was reopened, we sat for our end-of-semester exams. Having not been attending classes at the university, I was completely unprepared for the exams. All I did during the exams was leave most of my exam questions blank without giving a damn. Though I never bothered to find out how I fared in the exams, I am sure I flopped all of them badly.
When we finished the exams, we broke for a short holiday. I also didn't go home during the short holiday. Instead, I spent much of my daytime at a national library in Nairobi City. During the night, I would go to sleep in a certain church in downtown Nairobi. I was living like a homeless street urchin.
Because I didn't pay fees for my second-semester, I found myself without a room to stay when we reported back to JKUAT after that short holiday. So I again began sleeping in the open air like a wild animal. Eventually, I was found out, taken to a police cell, diagnosed with a mental illness and forcefully taken to hospital.
Being hospitalized was such a demoralizing experience for me. By the time I was being discharged from hospital, I had lost my zest for living. Imagine I would spend my time lying lazily in bed with nothing to do, sometimes going for several days without showering, cleaning my room and washing my clothes. As a result of that lackadaisical lifestyle, I not only gained a lot of weight but also started smelling awfully.
I remember there was a time my brother Paddy criticized me for wearing a smelly sweater. He ordered me to remove it, which I did. And then there was another time Paddy caught a glimpse of deep cracks on my heels. Well, I can't recall the remarks he made on seeing the cracks. But I do remember him appearing sympathetic towards me. I was such a wretch.
With time, I have come to reclaim my life from apathy and laziness. I am now pleased to report that I have found joy in living. And I have discovered the secret to finding joy in living is taking delight in our hobbies and in such simple things as bathing and brushing our teeth. So these days, I engage in my hobbies regularly. I also shower daily and go for exercises everyday. As a result of taking delight in such simple things, I have gotten rid of cracks in my heels and regained my youthful swagger.
My dear reader, I urge you to also take delight in simple things. Bathe daily, brush your teeth everyday, bask in the Sun on a warm afternoon and make your bed after waking up in the morning. Such tasks are simple but they make a big difference in the quality of our lives. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on delight in simple things, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "What Freedom Entails". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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The Christian Life
A True Story
on Jul 17, 2020
As I wrote in my previous story on this blog, I used to religiously attend church at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi when I was at the university in JKUAT in the years 2007 and 2008. Not only did I play the organ at the cathedral but also enrolled for an evangelism course that sparked in me an interest to read the Bible. And reading the Bible made me religious.
A friend of mine at JKUAT named Mulinge Ndambuki must have sensed my religious nature because he commented one evening in 2008 on how nice a guy I was. While we chatted that evening, Mulinge said to me in Sheng, "Sisi wacha tuponde raha; tutaokoka tukikaribia kukufa. (Leave us to enjoy life; we will get saved when we are nearing death.)"
Even though I was deeply religious back in 2008, I was not the kind of person to demonize and sermonize Mulinge over what he had told me. I just took his remarks in good humour and continued minding my own business.
Coming to think of those remarks Mulinge said to me in 2008, I infer that he perceived Christian life as being very boring. Maybe he thought that allowing God in our lives makes us lose all the fun of living.
But is Christian life really boring? I don't think so. On the contrary:
- Christian life is full of joy: This joy springs from a deep faith that there is a God in heaven who cares about our affairs more than any loving parent could. Because of that faith in God, we Christians worry less. And one thing I have discovered about worrying is that it is very addictive. If we start worrying about little things, we end up worrying about everything. Such kind of worrying drains joy from our lives. Hence why we God-believing Christians are more joyful.
- Christian life is full of peace: This peace emanates from living an upright life that is congruent with Biblical teachings such as forgiving others, confessing our sins, communicating with honesty and labouring for our daily bread. As a result of living such a life, we suffer from guilt less often. And one thing I have discovered about guilt is that it afflicts both the wicked and the upright. But for those of us Christians who are ever busy doing something with our lives and saturating our minds with the Word of God, we feel guilty less often.
- Chritian life is full of courage: This courage comes from understanding and internalizing the Word of God. Throughout the Bible, we Christians are encouraged to live boldly and be ready to say "no". And courage is one of the key ingredients of successful living. If we lack courage, we attract in our lives all that is dehumanizing, such as poverty, oppression and manipulation.
- Christian life is full of hope: This hope comes from a belief that God is working out everything in our favour. We Christians also have this hope that a better life awaits us in heaven after we die. And this hope helps us to cope with the worries and frustrations that litter our every day living. It also makes us optimistic. And optimism, in turn, makes us have a sunny disposition.
Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to say that a Christian life is a constant high. We Christians also have our low moments when God seems to desert us. There are times we feel perplexed and overwhelmed by what is happening to us. As for me, whenever I have faced those low moments, God has always restored me to the path of peace and joy. I believe He will continue doing so in the future. After all, He is my redeemer.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the Christian life, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "My Redeemer Liveth". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.