Counting Our Blessings
A True Story
on Oct 9, 2023
Early last week, someone bought me a sleek laptop running on Windows 11. I was really overjoyed to own the laptop since it made part with my old, slow laptop that used to run on Linux operating system. And you probably know how annoying computers are when they keep on hanging.
On Wednesday night, I attempted to download in my new laptop an app that was unavailable on Microsoft store. Windows informed me that downloading the app required me to opt my laptop out of S mode. Saying that S mode was all about security and simplicity, it warned me that once I opted my laptop out of S mode, I would never be able to reverse the decision.
Because I was eager to use the app that I wanted to download, I ignored the warnings by Windows and clicked a "Get" button which I wasn't sure what it was about. Upon clicking the "Get" button, the system took some time to process my request. And when the process dragged on, I grew impatient and pressed the "back" button.
The following morning (Thursday), a day I was scheduled to travel to Nairobi to produce a hymn, I woke up with a nagging worry that opting my new laptop out of S mode could make it as slow as my old laptop. That disturbed my peace of mind as I prepared to depart home for Nairobi.
While on my way to Nairobi in a matatu, there was a huge traffic jam at a place called Bomas. Having been to Nairobi many times before, I found it odd for traffic to be that slow at Bomas. Normally, huge traffic jams occur on highways near downtown Nairobi.
It turned out that the traffic jam had been caused by an accident involving three vehicles. One of the vehicles, a matatu, had turned upside down and its windows had been shattered to pieces. A passenger seated next to me wondered aloud whether the damaged matatu had been flying for it to have overturned.
Seeing the damaged matatu made me sympathize with the innocent passengers who had been in it. Had any of them been killed? I wondered as I realized that I am not the only one to whom bad things happen.
Later on in the day, I castigated myself for worrying about my new laptop yet I had many blessings to be grateful for. By the way, last Thursday was not the first time I had woken up with something niggling me. There are days I have gotten out of bed in the morning only to be met by an immediate and unprovoked ocean of worry and bitterness flooding my brain.
As I tried to think more positively last Thursday, it occurred to me that the process of opting my new laptop out of S mode could have been unfinished when I pressed the "back" button after the "Get" button I had clicked took too long to finish its process. That gave me some hope that I could have spared my laptop from becoming slow. And I prayed that my hope was real.
When I came back home from Nairobi, I googled for instructions on how I could check whether my laptop was in S mode. And hooray! After following the instructions provided by Google, I was stoked to learn that my new laptop was still in S mode. I thanked God for answering my prayer.
The experience made me resolve to never again do something to my new laptop that might slow it down, thus making it as unreliable as my old laptop. That means I will be downloading apps only from the Microsoft store.
Most importantly, the experience taught me to be counting my blessings. It was foolish of me to wake up last Thursday and worry over and over again about my new laptop while I had many blessings to be grateful for. So as from today, I will be striving to think of my blessings instead of my troubles. Not an unwise thing for you to do as well, my beloved reader!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed reading the above story on counting our blessings, you might also enjoy another one on "Practising Gratitude" which I wrote last year. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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A True Story
on Oct 4, 2023
The Bible has wonderful promises for righteous people. It says that no harm will befall the righteous, that God's ears are attentive to the prayers of the righteous and that all will be well with the righteous. And Jesus quipped, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."
King David, my hero in the Bible, summed it best when he penned in Psalm 37:25, "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread."
Those rewards of righteousness as promised in the Bible inspire me to be righteous. And you may ask, what is righteousness?
Well, most people think righteousness is all about refraining from theft, murder and doing drugs. But I think righteousness is also about loving people, thinking noble thoughts, working hard in life, always telling the truth and not talking ill of others behind their backs.
Perhaps one of the best ways of testing our righteousness is by evaluating whether we are committing the seven deadly sins: sloth, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and pride. Those sins are adequately discussed in the Bible.
Like I have said, the Bible inspires me to practise righteousness because of its wonderful promises to the righteous. And I have always had a hunger for righteousness since I was in my late teens. Such bad habits as masturbating, watching obscene materials and entertaining lustful thoughts in my mind used to make me feel guilty.
On December 12th 2006 (yes, I remember the date), I resolved to never again entertain a lustful thought in my mind. I managed to keep the resolution for four months before the stresses of life made me too weak to resist the temptation to masturbate.
Then in January 2007 when I reported back to Starehe Institute to finish a diploma course I was pursuing, I thought it wise to stop sneaking out of school on Sundays without permission. I therefore approached Prof. Jesse Mugambi, the then new director of Starehe, and requested him to grant me permission to be leaving the school on Sundays. Prof. Mugambi acceded to my request, thus satisfying my hunger for righteousness.
When I joined a choir at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi in April 2007 after finishing my time at Starehe Institute, I finally found a religion that was in tune with my desire for righteousness. The religious beliefs I acquired at the cathedral, mostly through the edifying hymns we sang, deepened my hunger for righteousness.
So much did I hunger for righteousness that I attempted to read the entire Bible in May 2008 after I reported back to JKUAT, a local university where I was studying to be an engineer. I also resolved to be waking up at 4.30am every morning, a resolution that turned out to be tougher to keep than not entertaining lustful thoughts in my mind.
Since 2008, I have sometimes backslided and committed some of the seven deadly sins, especially sloth, gluttony, anger and lust. I have overslept, overeaten, erupted in anger and viewed obscene materials on the internet. And believe me, I have also taken other people's property without their permission.
But every time I have gone off-track, I have made an effort of getting back to the straight and narrow path. I, for instance, returned some of the property that didn't belong to me. Property like a music CD I had borrowed from a fellow chorister at All Saints' Cathedral and books I had taken from JKUAT library without permission.
Now that I understand the Bible better and find its teachings relevant to leading a victorious life in the modern world, I am keener these days to lead a righteous life. The sins that I am particularly careful not to commit are sloth, lust and greed.
There are mornings I struggle to stay awake and there are times I get tempted to view obscene materials on the internet. Knowing that dozing during the day is sloth and that watching obscene materials is lust, I am always striving to resist the temptations.
As for greed, I used to think it was the same as gluttony. But I have now realized that gluttony is all about overeating. Greed, on the other hand, could also mean desiring to get rich without working hard in life. So, while I'd love to get rich, I will endeavor to acquire my wealth through hard work.
My beloved reader, I beseech you to also pursue righteousness. Love people, think noble thoughts, work hard in life, always tell the truth and avoid talking ill of others behind their backs. And who knows? Your righteousness could bring you wealth, honor and long life as King David's righteousness did to him.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed reading the above story on pursuing righteousness, you might also enjoy another one on "The Christian Life" which I wrote more than three years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.