Recovering From an Illness
A True Story
on Jun 11, 2022
On the morning of last Wednesday, I felt elated after sharing over the internet a hymn I had composed and produced. I continued feeling joyful in the afternoon and well into the evening. And when I dashed to my hometown of Kiserian for a walk at 5.00pm that Wednesday, I could hardly conceal my joy. Those who saw me talk aloud to myself must have wondered what had sparked the excitement in me.
But something worrying happened when I came back home from the walk: I felt a soreness in my throat - the same kind of soreness I felt at the beginning of this year. Fearing that I could go down with an illness this time as I did at the start of the year, I approached God in prayer on Wednesday night, asking Him to heal whatever was wrong with my throat. Then I forgot about it.
I went about my business and retired to bed at around 9.20pm, secure in the knowledge that I would have a fantastic Thursday. And boy, wasn't I looking forward to reading Robin Sharma's Life Lessons From the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari which I bought on Tuesday when I travelled to Nairobi to produce the hymn I shared over the internet on Wednesday.
Come Thursday, I woke up at 6.30am as usual and went about my morning routine of making my bed, communing with God and reading the newspaper. And when breakfast was ready, I ate it but without my usual gusto. On finishing the breakfast, I felt out of sorts. Instead of reading Robin Sharma's Life Lessons From the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, I lay on the floor to rest a bit.
After lying on the floor for a minute or so, I thought it wise to lie on my bed. So I hopped into bed, first lying on the blanket before getting in between the sheets. I felt a fever as I lay in bed. Imagine I was in between the sheets, wearing a winter-coat, a pull-over, a polo-shirt and a T-shirt yet I was still feeling cold. My goodness, I had caught an illness!
Probably due to the comfort I was feeling while I lay in between the sheets, time flew by very fast. When I got out of bed to eat lunch which had been prepared by one of our farmhands, I took a few bites and then completely lost my appetite for food. I put my uneaten plate of food aside and jumped back into bed to continue resting.
I felt as sick as a dog when I got back into bed after lunch. In addition to having a fever, I also had a slight headache. My muscles were also aching, making me feel weak and frail. The illness made me skip playing the piano as I always do in the afternoon. And when evening came without getting any better, I also had to skip going for a walk to Kiserian.
In the early hours of the night on that Thursday, I informed my Dad that I was feeling under the weather. He gave me two tablets of Panadol to swallow with water and then phoned my brother Paddy, who is a doctor, to tell him I was unwell.
Paddy inquired from me how I was feeling. After I explained to him the symptoms of my illness, he asked me whether I had travelled, of which I told him I had gone to Nairobi on Tuesday. And when I apprised him that I had just taken two tablets of Panadol, he instructed me to phone him at 10.00pm of that Thursday night to update him on how I was getting along.
Twenty minutes or so after swallowing the Panadol tablets, I started to feel better. My appetite for food returned. I wolfed down my supper like a starved hyena, after which I went back to bed to continue resting. Regrettably, I didn't phone Paddy at 10.00pm as he had instructed me. I just drifted off to sleep and before I knew it, Friday morning arrived.
Well, I didn't spring out of bed at 6.30am on Friday as it is my habit. I overstayed in bed for about 40 minutes. But when I did get out of bed, I felt better after doing some chores in the house. By 10.30am, I felt well enough to begin reading Robin Sharma's Life Lessons From the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, the book I had intended to start devouring the previous day.
I continued reading the book well into the afternoon of Friday. Possibly because the book is inspiring and well-written, I felt energized as the day progressed. And when I felt full of life at some point later on in the day, I paused to utter a prayer of gratitude to God, thanking Him for restoring my health.
It's now Saturday afternoon as I write this story. After reflecting on that illess I had on Thursday - an illness similar to the one I had at the beginning of this year - I have gained two insights. First is that health is indeed the greatest gift. I now agree with Herophilus, the ancient Greek physician, that when health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless and intelligence cannot be applied.
The second insight I have gained from the illness is to never boast about the future since we never know what may happen tomorrow. On Wednesday night, I retired to bed eagerly looking forward to reading Robin Sharma's Life Lessons From the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, only to fall ill when Thursday reached. Truly, the tomorrow we anticipate can surprise us with unexpected challenges. It is therefore unwise of us to boast about the future, or about anything for that matter. We ought to remain humble and dependent on God.
NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update three days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn which is available in the videos' section of this blog. Just click on the "videos" link on the menu at the top of this blog to access the hymn.
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Overcoming the Odds
A True Story
on Jun 6, 2022
After doing some morning chores on the morning of last Friday, I settled down on my desk to read the previous day's "Nation" newspaper. As it is my habit, I thanked God for the newspaper, asking Him that reading it may deepen my faith, understanding and appreciation of His Word. I also prayed that if I read in the paper of anyone I know who is succeeding, I may rejoice in his success, and that if I read of anyone I know who is suffering, I may sympathize with him. Then I began devouring the newspaper.
With keen interest, I read about national celebrations of a Kenyan holiday called Madaraka Day that had been marked on Wednesday. I also read about how the presidential race is hotting up as our country gears up for General Elections slated to take place in August this year. Then when I turned to page 10 of the newspaper, a photo of my friend Paul Muhia leapt out at me. He had been featured in a full-page advert of an entrepreneurship competition in which he had emerged a winner.
I have known Paul Muhia ever since he was a young boy in the '90s. His mother used to run a small shop near our home in the late '90s and well into the 2000s. I will never forget the day in 1999 when she became furious with me for buying something in her shop on credit and then dashing to a nearby kiosk to buy something else with money in my pocket. She must have thought I was taking advantage of her kindness.
Despite rousing her fury on that unforgettable day in 1999, I continued being a regular customer at her shop. If my memory serves me well, I recall Muhia attending to me when his mother was away. Theirs was a small shop that earned them the money they needed to scrape by. Judging by the size of their shop and the number of customers they received, I don't think they ever made more than Ksh. 200 in profit from a day's sales.
Muhia being several years younger than me, I hardly ever chatted with him when we were growing up in the '90s. It's not until 2013 that I got to interact with him. And from my interactions with him, I came to know him as a quiet, laid-back lad.
I also got to know Muhia as a humble and honest young man during one Sunday service in 2013 in our home church. During that service, he remained standing next to his seat as all other church attendees went to the altar to offer their tithes. Come to think of it, he could have opted to head to the altar and drop an empty envelope in the tithing box to avoid embarrassment, but he chose not to pretend what he was not. That kind of dead-level honesty impressed me.
After Muhia and I got to know each other, we met on the road on one Saturday afternoon in early 2013. We exchanged greetings after which he was quick to request me to help him select the degree course to pursue at the university. He had just finished his high school education and was awaiting KCSE exam results.
Being the helpful fellow I was back then, I yielded to his request and gave him the best advice I could offer. I advised him to estimate the grade he was likely to score in KCSE and select the degree he would qualify for. And I told him not to worry about selecting a degree he wasn't sure he would qualify for since the admissions board would give him a chance to change his preferred degree once KCSE results were out.
I also remember advising him to be careful when selecting the university he wanted to attend since choosing one that was far from Nairobi would make him travel a long distance, thus increasing his expenses. And I apprised him that studying at an institution near a city such as the University of Nairobi could be advantageous, for he could land part-time jobs while pursuing his degree course.
When his KCSE results were released, Muhia informed me after one church service that he had scored an 'A-' of 77 points, just what he had expected. The grade made him secure an admission to one of the local public universities, but he missed qualifying for such prestigious courses as Medicine and Acturial Science. But him scoring an 'A-' of 77 points was a remarkable achievement for a person of his humble background.
Muhia's mother was proud of him, probably due to his good character and excellent grades in school. She once sidled up to me after a church service in 2013 and asked me to chat with her son. I did talk to Muhia as she requested.
As the year 2013 slipped by, Muhia and I drifted apart as we saw less and less of each other. I never bothered to find out where he opted to go for his university education. And they have long since closed down their small shop and relocated to another place.
To be honest, I had thought Muhia's quiet and laid-back nature would work against him in this dynamic and competitive world that favours the extroverted. It therefore came as a surprise to me last Friday when I saw him being featured in a full-page advert in Kenya's leading newspaper. Truly, life is like that: incomprehensible and full of surprises.
I am sure Muhia has pocketed a six-figure fee for emerging victorious in the entrepreneurship competition that had landed him in the newspaper. His mother must be mightily proud of him now. I am also proud of him for rising from a humble background to win in the game of life. He is a shining example of how education and determination can help one to overcome the odds. Bravo Paul Muhia!
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