Staying With Those in Need
A True Story
on Oct 14, 2023
Like I have narrated before on this blog, Bill Clinton was an able and charismatic leader during his years in politics. But you know what? When he was running for U.S. presidency in 1992, one critic described him as "the guy who never suffered, who never struggled and thus never grew up."
In my opinion, the critic was mistaken about describing Clinton as immature. Bill Clinton was actually very mature, his moral lapses notwithstanding. He had an extraordinary compassion for those going through hard times. Only the late Princess Diana could rival him in identifying with the suffering.
Bill Clinton must have acquired his compassion from his experiences of growing up in a dysfunctional family. His step-father, an alcoholic, was so abusive that he once fired a bullet at his family, a frightening incident that landed him in a police cell.
During his 1993 inauguration as U.S. president, Bill Clinton urged his fellow citizens to keep company with those in need. I think he gained that insight from the days he cared for his dying step-father. (Yes, the same step-father who was abusive.)
On the afternoon of last Tuesday, I found myself in a circumstance that made me keep company with someone in need: my mother. She became ill by vomiting and having hot flushes.
At first, I thought Mum's vomiting was just a minor discomfort. I therefore stayed in my room as Dad attended to her. But when her vomiting persisted, I stopped reading and went to check on her.
Dad complimented me for getting out of my room to be with them. He said my presence could heal her. So I sat helplessly in the living room of our mansion while watching Mum spew up saliva and then close her eyes as if drifting off to sleep. She appeared weak and sickly.
Alarmed by Mum's vomiting, Dad asked her whether he should phone my elder brothers to inform them about her illness. When Mum weakly objected to his suggestion, I sided with her and implored Dad to give her time to recover.
But Dad would hear none of our suggestions. He picked his phone and frantically called my three elder brothers. He particularly encouraged my brother Bob Njinju to come home, citing that his presence could also heal her.
As I kept my parents company in the living room of our mansion, I tried to be of some help. I dabbed Mum's forehead with a wet towel to cool her slightly sweaty face. And I held the bucket in which she was vomiting.
Interestingly, while Mum was vomiting and sweating, I felt in my soul the peace that surpasses all understanding. I felt, too, my faith in God swell up in my heart. And all I could tell God was that He may make my Mum live long enough to see me walk down the aisle with my Princess Charming.
When it reached 4.57pm, I left home for my one-hour walk to my hometown of Kiserian. I thought little of Mum's sickness throughout the walk. The little I thought of her was a wish that she would be well by the time I got back home.
But alas! Mum was still vomiting and feeling weak when I reached home at around 6.00pm. Her doctor, a cardiologist named Dr. Murage, recommended on phone that she be admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital. So when Bob Njinju came home at around 8.00pm, he drove her to hospital as Dr. Murage had recommended.
While Mum lay in hospital on Wednesday, I phoned her in the morning. I phoned her again on Thursday morning for a chat during which she inquired whether it was raining here in Kiserian. It was so nice to hear her talking and even nicer to learn that she was feeling better.
Yesterday (Friday) when I phoned her several times, I was disappointed to hear that her phone was off. But that didn't dampen my spirits. Instead, it provided me with fodder for my prayers. I again beseeched God to let her live long enough to witness my wedding day.
In the evening, I was elated when Dad informed me that Mum was being discharged from hospital. She reached home at around 8.00pm. Of course it was my brother Bob Njinju who brought her home in his car.
Mum's illness that began on Tuesday afternoon has made me see sense in Bill Clinton's 1993 clarion call to Americans that they keep company with those in need. It has also made me thankful to see Mum eat and talk normally. Truly, I have a lot to be grateful for even though I am yet to meet the woman of my dreams.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on staying with those in need, you might also enjoy another one on "Part 1: Appreciating Mothers" which I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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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.