A True Story
on Jun 26, 2023
On the evening of last Saturday, I asked my Dad whether he had bought cooking oil for use here at home. He quickly replied that he had forgotten to buy it. Alarmed that there could possibly be not enough cooking oil for preparing supper, I dashed to the kitchen to check the amount left.
To my delight, I found that there was enough cooking oil for preparing the supper we were to have on Saturday night. I informed Dad about it and then went back to my room to continue with what I was doing.
Guess what! About thirty minutes later when I went to Dad's office to check something, I found a new container of cooking oil on the floor. I questioned Dad why he had told me that he had forgotten to buy cooking oil yet I was now seeing a new container of the oil in his office. He answered that he had just wanted to test how I would react.
Soon after I went to my room, I felt angered by Dad for lying to me that he had forgotten to purchase cooking oil. It grated my nerves to think I had wasted my time and energy to dash to the kitchen to check if there was enough cooking oil for preparing supper.
As I often do when someone offends me, I sat in silent contemplation like a king whose subjects had been wiped out by a mysterious disease. In the course of my contemplation, I called Dad from where I was seated and asked him why he had lied to me.
Dad was swift to sense he had angered me. He apologized to me, reminded me that he was just testing my reaction and promised not to repeat the prank on me in the future.
Although Dad's apology was sincere, it didn't appease me. I still felt slighted. So I wanted to lecture him on how I don't like being lied to. But then I remembered what I once read in H. Jackson Brown Jr.'s delightful Life's Little Instruction Book.
H. Jackson Brown Jr. advised in the book that "after someone apologizes to you, don't lecture them" and that "cruel words can hurt deeply". Remembering those pieces of advice made me restrain myself from lecturing Dad. It also saved me from uttering something that could have hurt him deeply.
I was impressed with myself for applying little pieces of knowledge in an incident that had disturbed my peace. And that has set me thinking on whether I apply in my day-to-day living the knowledge I have acquired over the years.
Having been educated to university level, I know quite a lot. I have knowledge in fields as diverse as Physics, History, Algebra, Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Geometry, Geography, Electronics, Economics, Music Theory, Web Design, Political Science and Computer-programming.
Happily, I have been able to apply some of the knowledge in projects that have enriched my life. I have, for instance, used my knowledge in web-design and computer-programming to create this database-driven blog. And I have used my knowledge in Music Theory to compose hymns that have inspired some people.
Unhappily though, some of the knowledge I have acquired has remained dormant in my mind. Worse still, some of the knowledge has vanished from my mind for lack of use. I, for example, can't remember how to differentiate equations as I learnt in my Calculus classes at the university.
I have resolved to be applying everyday the knowledge I have gained because I believe that holds the key to leading a happy, fruitful and rewarding life. What I especially long to apply is the life-changing wisdom I have gleaned from the Bible.
Yesterday, I asked myself: When the Bible tells me to rejoice in hope always and to trust in God completely, do I do so? When it tells me to love others as I love myself, do I do so? And when it tells me to think only what's true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, do I do so?
The great Chinese philosopher Confucius summed it best when he quipped, "The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance." So, my beloved reader, I challenge you to also apply in your day-to-day living the knowledge you have acquired. Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on applying knowledge, you might also enjoy another one on "The Importance of Knowledge" which I wrote last year. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Healing of the Soul
A True Story
on Jun 21, 2023
In the early 2000s, my eldest brother Joe Kagigite and I used to argue a lot over the nature of American politics at that time. Joe disliked the then U.S. President George W. Bush who I adored. He would point out to me the demerits of the Bush administration but I would disagree with him vehemently.
One evening, Joe questioned me about senior officials of the Bush administration. He asked me something like, "Do you know who Donald Rumsfeld is?" I said no. Then he asked me, "Do you know who Condoleezza Rice is?" Again I said no, to which he blurted out in Kikuyu, "Then never argue with me again!"
Sometimes when I remember the people who have judged me and how I have behaved, I feel I should have questioned them the way my brother Joe did to me. I should have asked them, "Do you know what schizophrenia is? And do you know what bipolar disorder is?" If they answered 'no' to both questions, I should have blurted out to them, "Then don't judge me and how I lead my life!"
If you don't know my life history, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was at the University of Nairobi in 2011. (Schizophrenia is a mental illness in which a person is unable to link thought, emotion and behaviour, leading to withdrawal from reality and personal relationships.) A psychiatrist at the university was right to diagnose me with schizophrenia given the way I ran away from home when I was unable to raise tuition fees.
Later on after I dropped out of the University of Nairobi in 2011, I developed symptoms of bipolar disorder, another mental illness that causes a person to change from being extremely happy to being extremely depressed. I would at times feel euphoric and then feel depressed, at times for no apparent reason.
To be honest, I liked feeling euphoric. I cherished the joy, energy and creativity that welled up in me during my moments of euphoria. The inexpressible joy would make me send silly messages to friends, set very high goals and go walking for miles without getting tired.
It is my low moments that I didn't like, especially the guilt, bitterness, insecurity and emptiness that I felt during those low moments. Sometimes, the guilt would become so much that I would fear venturing into the streets out there.
Well, I stopped seeing a psychiatrist a few weeks after dropping out of the University of Nairobi in 2011 because I disliked being put on medication. And seeing a psychiatrist regularly made me feel like a prisoner since it curtailed my freedom. I have therefore had to devise tactics of dealing with my bipolar disorder.
In the past three years, I have sought remedy in praying, meditating and engaging in my hobbies. I have been asking God to heal my soul of all negative emotions that have plagued me since I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2011. Such negative emotions as anger, sloth, guilt, greed, worry, jealousy, timidity, confusion, emptiness, bitterness, insecurity and selfishness.
God has been answering my prayers. For how else can you explain that I have over the past five months been feeling peaceful in my soul? God is truly healing my soul, which makes me agree with the American televangelist Joyce Meyer when she recently tweeted:
No matter how wounded we are when we begin our journey toward wholeness, God has guaranteed our success as long as we don't give up. He gathers up the fragments of our broken lives and makes sure that nothing is wasted.Now that my soul is healing, I have promised God that if He makes my current joy consistent, I won't trek or jabber too much as I used to do in the past when I felt euphoric. I will just continue exercising for only one hour everyday and use the rest of my energy to develop my mind and soul, mostly by reading, writing, meditating, playing the piano and listening to edifying music.
God has truly been healing my wounded soul of all negative emotions that have bedevilled me over the past twelve years. And if He doesn't fulfil my desires to be rich and famous, His healing of my soul will be sufficient reason to give Him my praise and adoration. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story about the way God has been healing my soul, you might also enjoy another one on "Mental Health Awareness" which I wrote two years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.