Positive Quote For Today

"The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself."— C. JoyBell C.

Part 1: Trusting God Completely

With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from a blog called Selah Home. All rights reserved worldwide.

As I have narrated before on this blog, I first read the autobiography of Bill Clinton in 2007 when I was a first-year student at the university in JKUAT. That was after our Communication Skills lecturer - an amiable professor named Paul Njoroge - lent it to me. I read the 969-page autobiography with the zeal of a he-goat on heat. And I read it because I wanted to understand how Clinton overcame a modest background to get elected twice as the President of the United States.

One JKUAT library employee advised me to stop reading about Bill Clinton when he spotted me carrying the autobiography. I didn't heed his advice. Instead, I continued devouring the autobiography till it got worn out. Thankfully, Prof. Njoroge never reprimanded me for returning to him the autobiography in a worn-out state.

Although I did really mess the autobiography by reading it till it got worn out, my efforts were not in vain because I gleaned a number of valuable lessons from it. Among the lessons were to develop a liking for people, books, music, sports and movies as well as carve out some time for solitude.

I was also moved by a short essay that Bill Clinton wrote when he was a boy in primary school. The essay resonated with the kind of person that I was. Later on in 2012, I modified the short essay [with apologies to Bill Clinton] to make it fully reflect the kind of person I was and what I aspired to be. Here's how my modified version of the essay read like:
I am a person motivated and influenced by so many diverse forces that I sometimes question the sanity of my existence. I am a living paradox - deeply religious yet not as convinced of my exact beliefs as I ought to be; wanting responsibility yet shirking it; loving the truth but often at times giving way to falsity; believing in moral rectitude but at times viewing obscene materials. I pity those, some of whom are very dear to me, who have never learnt how to live; I desire and struggle to be different from them but more often, I am almost an exact likeness. I detest selfishness, hatred, jealousy, envy and cynicism but I feel them in myself every day.

What a little boring word - I! I, me, my, mine, myself - the only attributes that enable worthwhile uses of these words are the universal good qualities which we are not too often able to place with them: love, faith, trust, regret, responsibility and knowledge. But the acronyms to those good qualities which enable life to be worth the trouble cannot be escaped. So I, in my attempts to be honest, will not be the hypocrite I hate, and will own up to their ominous presence in this young man, endeavouring in such earnest to be a gentleman.[1]
After modifying the short essay to what it reads like above, I drilled it into my memory with relative ease. And by striving to live upto what I mentioned in the essay, I have ended up becoming a more truthful, authentic and discerning person. These days, I always tell the truth in all that I say and write. My faith in God has also increased thanks to the Bible study that I indulge in once in a while.

Even though I have indeed grown in faith, I still feel deep in my bones that I am yet to trust God completely. There is still a spirit in me that is clinging to doubt, worry, guilt, hatred and some other vices that the Bible condemns.

So as to fully trust God, I have resolved to continue studying the Bible and reflecting on its message. The other day, I subscribed to daily devotionals which I will be receiving on my email. I believe the devotionals will help me grow in faith.

Apart from reading the Bible, I will also be listening to great hymns. Hymns such as "Fight the Good Fight" which beseeches us to "cast care aside and lean on His guide". Not only will I savour the music of the hymns but also reflect on their lyrics.

And why do I want to trust God completely? So that I can experience the never-fading sense of inner peace that I desire. In a world full of suffering and broken dreams, I believe a relationship with God is the best choice a person can make. That's all I am saying.

[1] I have modified this passage from an essay on page 58 in My Life (paperback edition) by William Jefferson Clinton, published in the United Kingdom in 2005 by Arrow Books.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on trusting God completely, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Growing Our Faith in God". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Skills I Never Acquired

With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from the Twitter page of StP Communications. All rights reserved worldwide.

Some of my earliest memories are seeing my senior brothers play with small toy cars on the compound of our home. Theirs weren't the sophisticated toy cars that I see parents these days buy on the streets for their kids. Instead, theirs were home-made stuff. They made the toy cars using wires, with lids of plastic containers as wheels. And they made them with such skill that their shapes resembled those of real cars.

My senior brothers were also adept at drawing pictures as well as building furniture and small huts. I remember with nostalgia how my senior brother Paddy used to construct small huts as we grazed cattle during the December holiday of 1993. He constructed those huts with blades of wild grass that grew abundantly in the field where we grazed the cattle. Whenever it rained, we would take shelter in those huts - small though they were.

I also remember one morning in the early '90s when my senior brothers Joe Kagigite and Bob Njinju took turns drawing each other on paper. They had with them coloured pencils that my parents had bought for them. And oh my, how impressive those pictures were!

When I grew up to be a primary school-going boy, I somehow lacked the will and aptitude to make toy cars and draw pictures. Like there was a time in 1997 when we were required to make toy vehicles during Art & Craft lessons at school. Guess what I did! Well, I just presented my senior brothers' toy cars in school.

Perhaps due to my lack of dexterity in drawing pictures and making toy cars, I never used to understand anything in Art & Craft lessons that we were taught in school by a teacher named Mr. Gathigi. Imagine during the subject's multiple-choice exams, I would do a lot of guesswork.

My inability to understand anything in Art & Craft wasn't for want of studying. I used to read a lot on the subject, especially books by an author called Malkiat Singh. But it was as if what I read entered my head in one ear and out in the other because I would retain no knowledge in my head. The little that I recollect in my readings on the subject was how frequently I came across the statement "...also referred to as..." in Malkiat Singh's Art & Craft books.

Fortunately, that Art & Craft subject was scrapped from the primary school syllabus when I got into Standard Eight. Had the subject not been removed from the curriculum, I wonder how I would have fared in the national primary school exams known as KCPE which I sat for in November 2001.

Besides drawing and making toys, another skill that I never acquired when I was growing up was cooking. I was such a poor cook that sometimes when it was my turn to prepare meals at home, my family members would complain about the quality of my food. Unlike my senior brothers, I wasn't great at cooking ugali and chapattis, two of the most popular meals here in Kenya.

My senior brothers also knew how to bake cakes, which they did during my birthdays in the late '90s. Because we never owned gas or electric ovens, they would improvise one by putting ashes in a big sufuria, place it over charcoal fire and then put in it a small pan with the cake ingredients. And the cake that would bake in the improvised oven would turn out to be as sweet as those baked by professional bakers.

Paddy, my senior brother who I have said was skilled at making small huts in 1993, became gifted at cooking drop-scones in 1997. He would painstakingly sift sugar and wheat flour to get rid of large lumps, prepare a dough with the sifted contents and other ingredients, slice the dough into numerous pieces, then fry the pieces. And voila! What would come out of the cooking pan were drop-scones so delicious that I wish I were having them for breakfast tomorrow morning.

I don't know where my senior brothers acquired the skill of baking cakes and cooking drop-scones. Maybe it was from their lessons in Home Science, another subject that was scrapped from primary school syllabus when I got into Standard Eight. Given how poor a cook I was, the Home Science subject would probably also have given me a hard time in school had it not been removed from the curriculum. Lucky me!

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