Dealing With Disappointments
A True Story
on Dec 3, 2023
Let's face it: disappointments are part of life. No one escapes them. I have personally come to expect pain and disappointments as I journey through this crazy adventure called life. That's why I regularly sing the wonderful old hymn "Father Hear the Prayers We Offer" whose second verse goes as follows:
And I have faced disappointments ever since I was a teen in high school. In March 2007 for instance, I felt so depressed when I was rejected by MIT that I had trouble waking up the following morning. Getting rejected by MIT, my dream university, was a disappointing experience.
Not forever by green pastures,
Do we ask our way to be;
But the steep and rugged pathway,
May we tread rejoicingly.
Then in December 2019, I turned up for the wedding reception of one of my wealthy relatives. My sole motive for going to the wedding reception, which was held in a high-end hotel on the outskirts of Nairobi City, was to know my relatives better. So during the reception, I kept moving from one table to another to greet attendees and chat with them.
My movements must have unsettled the wedding organizers given the way one guard finally came to where I was and called me aside. He then instructed me to remove the bag I was carrying on my back and settle down in one place.
Although the guard spoke to me in a kind tone, his command wounded my pride so much that I was unable to get out of bed the following day, which was a Sunday. When my eldest brother Joe Kagigite visited us with his family that Sunday, I felt too low in mood to interact with them.
And then yesterday, I was psyched up to travel to Nairobi tomorrow to produce a hymn I have been working on. But when I phoned my music producer, a genial and tech-savvy chap named Sylvester, I was disappointed when he informed me that he will be unavailable for six days since he will be travelling out of Nairobi today.
As you might have realized, one of my main ways of dealing with disappointments has been sleeping. What you may not know is that watching adult films on the internet has been my other way of relieving stress caused by disappointments. But these days, I have matured a lot. I now meditate and turn to God in prayer when faced with setbacks.
Yesterday when I was disappointed by Sylvester's unavailability, I remembered a wise remark I once read that said, "Don't confuse mere inconveniences with real problems." I also remembered a blog story that explained why four-year old kids are always happy; it's because they don't hold on to pain, even when things don't go their way. Remembering those tidbits of knowledge cheered me a little.
Just to cheer myself some more, I imagined that Sylvester will be unavailable tomorrow perhaps because God wants me to meet the woman of dreams on the day I will travel to Nairobi to produce my hymn. Or maybe God is saving me from a road accident that I would have been involved in if I was to travel to Nairobi tomorrow.
Such imaginations, weird though they may seem, comforted me a great deal. And frankly speaking, they form a far much better way of dealing with disappointments than sleeping and watching adult films. I intend to continue dealing with disappointments in such a manner.
While I endeavor to deal with disappointments responsibly, my role model will be my Dad who is now 73 years old. Dad is such a mature and worldly-wise man. Nothing ever seems to faze him. He always gets out of bed every morning regardless of how his previous day was. Even when his phone was stolen one day in 2021 and the thief withdrew all the money in the phone, Dad still woke up the following morning as usual.
My beloved reader, I challenge you to also develop constructive mechanisms of dealing with disappointments. Instead of turning to drugs and alcohol in the face of disappointments, perhaps you can indulge in a hobby or talk to a trusted friend. And don't forget to view disappointments as opportunities for self-mastery since, as the saying goes, "smooth seas don't make skilful sailors". Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed reading the above story on dealing with disappointments, you might also enjoy another one on "A Disappointing Day" which I wrote last year. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
Living in Freedom
A True Story
on Nov 28, 2023
One morning in 2015, I was preparing to have tea at Rose of Sharon Academy in Nairobi where I was teaching piano when someone phoned me with an unsaved number and said he was calling from CID (Criminal Investigation Department). He started interrogating assertively, making me cringe in fear. And if my memory serves me well, he used my name, which meant he knew who I was.
Sensing that I was becoming fearful and nervous, the caller lightened up and disclosed that he was Silah Tarbai, a classmate of mine in high school. Gosh! I felt relieved. Silah had scared the living daylights out of me.
I soon learnt that Silah had gotten my phone number from my blog, which is why I have become leery of sharing my number online. And he must have begun his phone call with a pretence that he was calling from CID just to frighten me a little in our usual high school mischief.
The fear that Silah aroused in me when he deadpanned that he was calling from CID must be what a young man with unkempt hair that I once met felt when he spotted a police car on a road leading to my home. He worriedly asked me if the vehicle was really a police car.
To tell you the truth, I hate living with such unhealthy fear. What I desire most - even more than wealth and fame - is the freedom to be myself, something that I have not always been privileged to possess.
If you don't know my life history, let me inform you that I grew up as a confused and timorous teenager. I used to feel horribly awkward and aloof in social gatherings. It was like I was in a prison of my own making.
Then when I became an adult, someone started bullying me, thus denying me the much needed freedom to be myself. He would bully me when I was at home and when out there in the streets walking. Guess who that bully was? It was me!
Yes, I bullied myself a lot by reminding myself of my past foolish deeds, by worrying what others thought of me, by remembering those who had offended me, by fearing something could go terribly wrong in the future and by thinking I didn't have what it takes to be a success.
Such negative thoughts left in their wake feelings of guilt, worry, bitterness and insecurity in my soul. Sometimes the guilt would get so intense that you'd think I had committed one of those heinous crimes that land people in prison.
In an attempt to extricate myself from that self-imposed prison, I have in the last three years worked diligently at leading a disciplined life. I have been getting out of bed every morning and staying active during the day, mostly by reading and meditating.
My efforts are bearing fruit because for the past four months, the quality of my thought life has improved. I have felt wonderfully freed from all shame and condemnation.
As I endeavor to keep up the momentum of being at peace with myself, I am figuring out that the key to living in freedom, in addition to leading a life of integrity and discipline, is acquiring knowledge and applying it in my day-to-day living. Especially the knowledge in the Bible.
Actually, the whole point of the gospel of Christ is to set us free from guilt, worry, bitterness and insecurity. Jesus Himself quipped that He came so that we may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10)
Maybe that's why Rev. Sammy Wainaina, the former provost of All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi, encouraged me to feel free at the cathedral when I turned up for church service on one Sunday in 2012. He told me, "Feel free! Look around. Is anyone here after you?"
My beloved reader, I exhort you to also strive to live in freedom. Free yourself from all evil and lead a life of integrity. Entrust your life to God for He cares for you. And acquire knowledge, discipline and understanding because, as they say, only the disciplined are free. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on living in freedom, you might also enjoy another one on "What Freedom Entails" which I wrote about five years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.