Rejoicing With Those Rejoicing
A True Story
on Apr 17, 2023
We live in a mysterious universe. A very mysterious universe indeed. Scientists tell us that there are billions of galaxies out there in space. And each of those galaxies contains billions of stars. Right now as I pen this story, a star manyfold the mass of our third-rate sun is living out its final moments in a wild spin before collapsing into a black hole.
Here on Earth, a couple somewhere is making love as I continue penning this story. A baby is also being born and someone is breathing his last. I venture to imagine that while some are rejoicing for achieving their dreams, others are mourning the death of their loved ones.
The Bible exhorts us to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and to mourn with those who are mourning. I don't know about you but as for me, I must admit that I have found it difficult to live by that biblical teaching, especially rejoicing with those who are rejoicing. There are times I have been sick with jealousy upon hearing the success of other people.
Due to my struggle with jealousy, it reached a point when I had to avoid reading the newspapers for fear that I would come across articles about the success of people I know. I also kept away from social media where some friends have been fond of boasting about their accomplishments.
With time, I came to understand that the more we rejoice in the success of others, the more we attract the success we want. That insight has reduced the amount of jealousy I used to feel about the achievements of others. I have also taken to heart the following words by St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.As a result of improved attitude towards the success of others, I have for the past two years resumed reading newspapers. I have also been checking my social media accounts everyday to catch up with how my friends are doing. My goal these days is to celebrate the success of others and write stories about what we can learn from them.
On the evening of last Friday for instance, Dad asked me whether I had seen my immediate elder brother Paddy in "Business Daily", a Kenyan national newspaper. I replied that I hadn't checked the newspaper which I had brought home from my hometown of Kiserian. And Dad's inquiry compelled me to pick the newspaper to see if Paddy was in it.
Sure enough, Paddy had been featured in the "Business Daily" of that day. His photo was on the front page of the newspaper, and on its page 19 and 20 was a written version of an interview he had had with Jackson Biko, a renowned Kenyan writer. Paddy narrated to Biko about how he overcame a humble background to become the CEO of an insurance firm in Kenya called AAR.
In my prayers, I always ask God to prosper my loved ones in everything they do. Seeing a glowing article about Paddy in "Business Daily" was an answered prayer. And I thanked God for it.
That I rejoiced in Paddy's success is a testament to how much I have matured. Unlike in the past when such success would have left me numb with jealousy, I am now rejoicing to have seen Paddy's story in a high-brow newspaper. Honestly, I have matured up.
By the way, Paddy is married with two kids, drives a Toyota Prado and lives in a magnificent home. He has also travelled overseas and interacted with such high-profile figures as Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta, the former First Lady of the Republic of Kenya. And you know what? Despite his spectacular achievements, I have never seen him boast about his success on social media. He is such a humble guy.
Anyway, coming back to my topic of rejoicing with those who are rejoicing, I urge you, my beloved reader, to also form the habit of celebrating the success of others. That could help you attract the success you desire. Let it be said of you and me that when we saw or heard about the success of others, we never hated; we just waited for our turn. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story about rejoicing with those who are rejoicing, you might also enjoy another one on "Wishing Others Well" that I wrote two years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Joining the 5am Club
A True Story
on Apr 12, 2023
On most mornings, I have often felt dozy, dopey, drowsy, groggy, sleepy and heavy-eyed. (Okay, I know those adjectives mean the same thing. I am just emphasizing how I have struggled to stay awake in the morning.) My tendency to doze in the morning has sometimes made me stay in between the sheets or nap on my desk long after the sun has risen in the east.
It all started in August 2008 when I was a second-year student at the university in JKUAT. During that month, I would stay in bed till as late as 1.00pm on some days. If Dr. Geoffrey W. Griffin, the founder of Starehe Boys' Centre where I had my high school education, was to hear how I slept till afternoon, he would turn in his grave because we were taught at Starehe to be diligent and disciplined.
Over the years, I have tried to overcome my tendency to oversleep in the morning. I'd get myself psyched-up to be an early-riser and even boast about it to my friends on email and social media. But you know what? After a few days, I'd fizzle out and lapse back into an over-sleeper.
Having consistently failed to be an early-riser in over ten years, I had given up rising before dawn. But I still felt ashamed of my over-sleeping. When I slumbered during the day, I'd sometimes lie it was because I had stayed awake the previous night, just to avoid being labelled as lazy. I'd utter that lie even before someone asked me why I was sleeping during the day.
Given how I struggled with over-sleeping, I used to admire those people who rose early with ease. People such as the physiotherapist who treated my disabled mother a few years ago. Imagine the physiotherapist would dutifully come home at around 6.00am, often finding me deep in sleep. I calculate that he used to get out of bed as early as 5.00am for him to be at our home by 6.00am.
After contrasting the physiotherapist's early-rising with my inability to get out of bed in the morning, I came to agree with former U.S. President Bill Clinton when he wrote in his memoir that it hurts to struggle to attain something that seems to occur so naturally in others. Rising early was a real struggle for me.
It was that struggle with rising early that compelled me to buy and read Robin Sharma's The 5am Club, an enlightening book about getting out of bed at 5.00am everyday. The book's subtitle is, "Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life."
Although I can't really say the book moved me, I am sure its message gradually inspired me to be getting up before dawn. I can happily report that I have for the past three months been getting out of bed at 5.30am, mostly to read and meditate.
Gosh! I can't believe that I have been waking up at 5.30am for three months now. Whereas before I found rising before dawn to be a Herculean task, I am now getting out of bed at 5.30am with relative ease. That, to me, is truly a miracle worth thanking God for.
As a result of getting out of bed at 5.30am, I have added several hours to my waking life each week. My self-esteem has also improved since early-rising is one of my values that I used to preach to others in my stories.
The Chinese people have a proverb that says, "No one who rises before dawn 360 days in a year fails to make his family rich." That proverb has given me hope that I will achieve my dreams by rising early consistently.
I have therefore resolved to continue getting out of bed at 5.30am, come what may. Already, I have banned myself from sitting on my bed right from when I wake up till 7.00pm. I have also banned myself from folding my hands during the day, except for that short time after lunch when I usually have a power nap on my desk.
Drawing from my past experiences, I now fully realize that if I dare over-sleep on only one morning, I will lose momentum and relapse into an over-sleeper. Which is why I have resolved that, however chilly the weather is or how stressed I am, never to give in to the temptation to stay in between the sheets when my phone alarm rings at 5.30am.
My beloved reader, I challenge you to also join the 5am club if you don't rise early. Be waking up before dawn. There is so much we can do in this life that we have no excuse for staying in bed longer than necessary. Before I bid you goodbye in Italian, let me leave you with this quote by a Starehe schoolmate of mine called Charles Masaki: "The warmer the bed, the colder the future." Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the story above about joining the 5am club, you might also enjoy another one on "Developing Good Sleeping Habits" that I wrote four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.