Wishing Others Well
A True Story
on May 15, 2021
My dear reader, suppose God asked you, as He used to do in Biblical times, a question that went like this, "What is it that you want Me to do for you and do the same thing twice as much to your neighbour?"
It is said that most people are so jealous and hateful that when asked such a question by God, they would have Him remove one of their eyes so that He can gouge out their neighbour's two eyes. That's interesting, isn't it?
Will Smith, the Hollywood movie star, aptly captured how most people are so jealous and hateful when he quipped, "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like."
As for me, I have to admit to struggling with jealousy for quite a long time. When I was at the university in JKUAT in 2008 for instance, I used to feel regularly jealous of Barack Obama because of the victory he was achieving during that year's U.S. presidential elections.
I particularly remember the November morning in 2008 when I was heading to JKUAT hospital for a medical check-up after I had messed up at the university. That morning, I flipped through that day's newspaper and felt a bit jealous of Obama to see the first several pages of the newspaper were all about his victory in the U.S. presidential elections.
Then there was a time in 2009 when I heard my immediate elder brother Paddy was planning to fly to Europe for a conference or something. Paddy was then pursuing a degree in Medicine & Surgery at the University of Nairobi. Perhaps because I wasn't doing well in life (I had dropped out of JKUAT), I confess wishing that Paddy's plan to fly to Europe would fail.
Besides Obama's victory in 2008 presidential elections and my brother's Paddy planned trip to Europe, there have been other times I have felt sick with jealousy such as when my high school deskmake Martin Wamoni flew to London in early 2011 and when Paddy travelled to America in 2014. Paddy's trip to America distressed me since I had always wanted to be the first in my family to travel to America.
These days, I have matured a lot given the way I am always striving to be as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own. Just the other week when I saw on TV a news coverage of President Suluhu of Tanzania disembarking from a plane, I felt an inkling of jealousy to see her receive a red-carpet reception at our nation's leading airport. But I quickly brushed aside that feeling of jealousy by wishing President Suluhu the same joy and peace I am often praying for myself.
Yes, I am always striving to wish others well in their lives, even for those who hate me. Hopefully when I die, the words spoken about me during my funeral will resemble those of Ted Kennedy in his eulogy for his brother Robert Kennedy who was assassinated in 1968 while running for the United States presidency. Ted Kennedy delivered a magnificent eulogy for his brother, closing with the following words of power and grace that have touched me to the very core:
My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. [He should be] remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.My dear reader, I exhort you to also get into the habit of wishing others well. Be genuinely happy when you see your friends and enemies succeed. Wish them the same happiness you are always desiring for yourself. And if you find it hard to rejoice in the success of others, remember what the Bible says in Psalm 49:16-17: "Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendour of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies..." Adieu!
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Rising Early Every Day
A True Story
on May 10, 2021
Years before Christ was born, the great Greek philosopher Aristotle said that "it is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom." Many, many years later, the famous American statesman Benjamin Franklin quipped, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Those insightful remarks from Aristotle and Benjamin Franklin are what inspire me to strive to be an early riser.
So much have I striven to be an early riser that in the year 2015, I composed a hymn in which I asked God in the first verse to help me get out of bed early everyday. Here's how the verse went:
Well, I have always desired to be an early riser since my university days at JKUAT in 2008. I still remember how I tried to get out of bed as early as 4.30am back in 2008 when I was in my second year at JKUAT. Upon waking up, I would do some physical exercises and then study the Bible which I was reading from cover-to-cover like a novel. But guess what! After about a week of rising early, I fizzled out and began oversleeping in the morning.
Help me God to get out of bed,
Early everyday of my life,
Even when events of yesterday,
Might have stressed, pained or depressed me.
Since that week in 2008, I have over the years endeavored to consistently wake up in the morning before the crack of dawn. But as was the case in 2008, I have always lost my mojo along the way and resorted to oversleeping. Sometimes I have lost my mojo due to discouraging setbacks; at other times for no apparent reason at all.
My younger brother Symo noted how I struggled with getting out of bed on some days when we stayed together here at home in the years 2014 and 2015. One time when he found me in bed in the morning, he played on his laptop a Swahili song that asked people to get out of bed and go to work. He played that song over and over again till I lost my desire to sleep.
I still struggle with oversleeping. Today, for instance, after my phone alarm rang at 5.30am, I couldn't resist the temptation to stay in between the sheets. Allured to stay in bed by chilly and rainy weather, I just continued dozing and awakened from slumber after the sun had arisen on the eastern horizon.
It seems most people don't struggle to get out of bed like I do because on those mornings when I rise early and head to my hometown of Kiserian, I observe some folks driving on the road and others opening up their businesses. And they do so even when it is chilly and raining.
Despite my inability to wake up early in the morning consistently since 2008, I haven't given up on my goal to be an early riser. As I pen this story, I have resolved to always get out of bed before dawn, come rain or shine. This time, I will be focusing on rising early on just the next morning. Not for the next one week or the next 21 days but just the next morning. Hopefully when the mornings have accumulated to 21 days, I will have developed the habit of getting up before daybreak.
And why do I want to be an early riser? Because the Bible, which is my code of conduct, admonishes us not to love sleep. It warns those who love sleep that they will come to poverty and be clad in rags. What's worse, their houses will leak when the rafters sag.
I also desire to be an early riser since I'd want to marry the Proverbs-31 kind of a lady. You see, the book of Proverbs says in Chapter 31 that the wife of noble character rises while it is still dark. Since I'd like to possess the traits I want in my future wife, I will keep on endeavoring to get up while it is still dark.
My dear reader, if you aren't an early riser, I urge you to join me in this endeavour of rising early everyday. As I heard someone say on Facebook, we can't sleep like we are competing with the dead and expect to make it in the world of the living. We have to rise early every day if we are to attain the dreams in our hearts. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on rising early every day, you might also enjoy another one I wrote two years ago on "Developing Good Sleeping Habits". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the st