A Peace That Endureth
A True Story
on Jul 9, 2021
Although I'd love to be rich and famous, my supreme desire is to have a never-fading inner peace. I wish to live without guilt, hate, worry and jealousy; to radiate health, goodwill, cheerfulness and calm courage; to be natural, honest and frank - ready to say "I do not know" if it be so; and to meet with any loss, failure, rejection or criticism unabashed and unafraid.
I wish others to also experience the inner peace I am craving for. To that end, I have resolved to never meddle or interfere with other people's lives by giving advice that is not needed or offering services when they are no longer required. If I want to inspire or uplift others, I'll let it be by example, inference or suggestion, not through injunction and dictation.
Yes, I'd like to experience an inner peace in my soul that never fades. And I've craved for such kind inner peace for quite some time. About a year ago, I wrote on this blog that I would cultivate inner peace by thinking positively, developing optimism, practicing gratitude, associating with positive people, casting my worries to God and not taking anything personally. Since I wrote those action-steps, I have grown more peaceful as I am no longer plagued by excessive guilt these days as I used to be in the past.
But to be honest, I am yet to attain fully an inner peace that never fades. I have a tendency of sometimes sweating the small stuff, of remembering the foolish deeds I did in the past, of hating those who have wronged me in one way or another and of worrying about what could go wrong in the past. It is such kind of thinking that has kept me from having a never-fading inner peace.
Today, I have purposed to pursue inner peace with renewed vigor. And how will I do it? In addition to what I wrote last year on this blog in a story titled "Cultivating Inner Peace", I will attain inner peace by:
- Trusting in God fully: The Bible says in the book of Isaiah that God keeps in perfect peace those who trust in Him. And trusting in God means believing He knows what's best for us even when we are in the midst of change, tribulations or uncertainties. That's why I have chosen to trust Him, come what may.
- Living with integrity: I have discovered that nothing keeps us from experiencing inner peace than the fear of being found out for a sin or a foolish deed we have committed. And nothing drains joy from our souls more than memories of the foolish deeds that were brought to light. That's why I've resolved to lead a life of integrity, one that I will be proud to look back on when I grow old.
- Acquiring knowledge: I believe having broad, deep knowledge can help us rise above the petty worries that litter our everyday living. And as we grow in knowledge, our worries diminish in the light of new understanding gained. So I'll endeavor to grow in knowledge each passing day and to use that knowledge to fight off the negative thoughts that keep creeping into my thinking every now and then.
- Practicing forgiveness: Let's face it - we can't experience inner peace without regularly practicing forgiveness. That's why I have resolved to forgive not only those who have wronged me but also myself for all the foolish deeds I've done. And believe me, I've done more wrongs than I care to count.
- Letting go of hate, guilt and worry: It has dawned on me that one of the most difficult things to do in life is to let go of hate, guilt and worry. Most of us keep on clinging to past hurts and worries of the future, a habit that keeps us in a cycle of guilt and bitterness. That's why I've decided to consciously get rid of hate, guilt and worry from my thinking.
- Not worrying about what others think of me: It has also dawned on me that most of us constantly worry about what other people think of us, something I've been guilty of. That's why I've made up my mind not to worry about the opinions other folks have of me. I believe once I am free from that worry, I will attain the serenity that comes from being at peace with myself and the world.
- Doing physical exercises: I agree with Nelson Mandela, the venerated South African anti-apartheid hero, when he pointed out that exercise is not only a key to physical health but to peace of mind. So however busy or stressful my life gets, I'll always create time for walking, jogging and gardening - my favorite ways of exercising the body.
- Not taking myself seriously: We all have an inclination to take ourselves too seriously, a way of thinking that leads us to torment ourselves with guilt for failing to measure up to our standards. That's why I've resolved not to be taking myself too seriously. After all, nothing is that serious; we all die in the end.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on a peace that endureth, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about a year ago on "Cultivating Inner Peace". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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The Virtue of Long-suffering
A True Story
on Jul 4, 2021
A couple of years ago, I came across the word "long-suffering" in my readings. I even heard the Rev. Jesse Jackson say in one of his fiery speeches that "we need to be long-suffering". At first, I didn't know what "long-suffering" meant. I must have thought it meant suffering for a long time. Intrigued, I looked up its meaning in my Oxford dictionary. And from the dictionary, I learnt that to be long-suffering means to bear problems or other people's unpleasant behavior with patience.
Upon learning the meaning of long-suffering, I thought to myself what a great virtue it is to possess as we live in this fallen world - a world that is full of people who do all sorts of wrongs such as lying, stealing, speaking arrogantly, taking advantage of others and spreading malicious gossip. Allow me to give examples of such wrongs that I have witnessed being done to others and to me as well.
Back in January 2006 after I turned 18, I went one morning to apply for a national identity card at a government office in Nairobi. Applying for the ID was a long process as it involved filling a number of forms as well as being taken passport photos and finger-prints. The process was even made longer by the sheer number of people being served in the office. When I was in the last stage of applying for the ID, a young woman came to the government office. She must have been friends of the government officers given the way she was immediately served before us.
Disturbed by seeing the young woman served before us yet she had arrived long after us, I voiced a complaint to the officers. And wa! The officers reacted negatively to my complaint. In their arrogance, they retaliated by placing my application forms at the bottom of the pile. Being the humble young man that I was, I kept silent and patiently waited for my turn to be served. After I was finally done applying for the ID, I left the government offices frothing with bitterness for having been treated unfairly.
Then there is this poor neighbor who lives on a piece of land to the north of our home. He used to come to our home to borrow water with a frequency that began to irritate us. Last year, my mother got fed up with him and instructed him to desist from coming to our home to fetch water - a proof that the Bible is right when it says in Proverbs 25:17, "Don't visit your neighbors too often because they may get tired of you and come to hate you."
It is not only the neighbor's frequent visit to our home that irritated us. We were also annoyed by his goats straying into our farm through gaps on the fence dividing our home from his. The goats would devour crops on our farm - something that infuriated my mother and me as well. Even after we warned him several times, he would still get lackadaisical in his duties and leave his goats to stray into our farm.
Some time last year, I noticed a wider gap on a certain spot on the fence dividing our home and his. And on the ground below the gap, there was a beaten path that clearly showed some people were trespassing into our home through the gap. Concerned about the issue, I asked the neighbor one afternoon last year whether he and his family were using the gap to enter into our farm without our knowledge. He denied doing that.
Guess what! Last Friday, I caught the neighbor red-handed crossing from our land into his farm through that gap. I approached him and frankly informed him my mother would fly into a rage if she got to know he was using the gap to enter into our home. Later on in the evening of that Friday, I felt rather peeved by the neighbor for having lied to me that he hadn't been using the gap to trespass into our home. I was peeved indeed.
And then about a week ago, one of our farmhands named Mwangi went to visit his home. He left early on a Saturday morning and promised to be back the following day. Come Sunday, he phoned to say there was a huge traffic jam on a certain highway that would delay his return by a day. When Monday reached, he again prolonged his stay by saying he wouldn't make it home till Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Mwangi requested my father for fare which he received via phone. At around 4.00pm of that day when my father called him to confirm if he was still coming, he replied that he was in Nairobi on his way back. Then at around 7.00pm, he phoned my father to say he had misplaced his money. He asked for fare which he again received. At around 9.00pm, he phoned my father, informing him that he had been arrested for not wearing a mask in these times of Covid-19 pandemic.
As I followed how events were unfolding for Mwangi, I had a feeling all he was doing was lying in an effort to solicit more money from my father. And it bothered me to see my father being so easily deceived by him. My instincts were right because when Mwangi finally arrived home on Wednesday morning, I gathered that he hadn't been arrested. He had been lying.
We live in a fallen world for shizzle - a world full of liars, haters, thieves, rapists, fraudsters and the like. That's why we need to practise the virtue of long-suffering. Some versions of the Bible say long-suffering is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I believe if we can perfect that virtue in our day-to-day living, we will be able to maintain an inner peace in the midst of all the evil going on around us. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the virtue of long-suffering, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about two years ago on "Dealing With Difficult People". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.