A Binding Love Letter.

14Th February 2017,
To a confused soul out there,

 
Before anyone asks you out on a date today, your heart needs to know what it stands for. It must never worry you, that you can’t find the right love now. It should not even matter if it was torn into halves. It is fine not to know who it beats for. But, what you need and want; those you must know, for only then will you find yourself. For only then, will you fly with the aves.

 

Your heart will need to learn how to fall in love without losing itself. You will have to know that love is beyond feelings. That love is a two-pronged stick; it can either strengthen or stifle, expand or enfeeble, perfect or pauperize. That it is has nothing to do with the shooting stars nor a promised heaven, but knowing you hold a steady hand. It is not breathlessness, excitement nor the desire of waking up to finding the warmth of his breath on your neck. Love is a volcano that just sometimes erupts and at times subsides; and then you have to decide whether to stay or leave. At whiles, it is just a seamless piece of art and at the same time a fortunate accident.

 

So, you will have to learn, when you fall in love, how to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and would not like to happen next; how to wear a dress without being too skimpy or revealing nor too mind-numbing or lackluster; how to break up with a partner without ruining friendship; how to live alone even if you don’t like to. Your heart and mind will need to learn how to judge authenticity; how to sift truth from flatter and how to critic the two with a clear mind. You will have to teach yourself how to forget every crush you have and let go of every infatuation that keeps you up. Because only then can you love truly.

 
There are even tougher things to be learnt; that sometimes when you’ve done your best; you need to walk away. That you can never reverse mistakes when they happen and it is better forgiving yourself, however hard it may be. You need to know that you can’t change the width of your hips, the length of your calves or the shape of your lips. You need to understand that your past may not have been perfect, but it is past. You need to master who you can trust, who you can’t and why you should not take it personally. Remind yourself always, that trust is earned and so is respect for yourself and for others.

 

At one fell swoop too, you need to strike a perfect balance and never confuse assertiveness for rudeness, being a wannabe for being independent. I hope you will learn that though your heart is skeptical, there is no mistake in ever falling in love and telling it to the person. That seeming clingy, weird and obdurate are terms used by people who think love has specific theories; It doesn’t, love is supposed to drive you that wild and that mild in equal measure.

 

I know this is not all you need to know about love and life; but for today I hope you will find this satisfactory and remain
Yours truly,
Your Soul.

At 18, I hang on to dreams from my father.

The old chap should be hitting 60 next year. He has grown a bit frazzled. His big belly that I used tease when I was five is gone, his shoulders that he carried me on, are now haggard and his hair has gone all grey. I no longer run towards him when I spot him coming from work; sometimes I don’t even notice he is home. He often times calls me Susan; which is a bit scary because he has called me kamtu kadogo all my life. He spends his evenings sometimes worrying about his sick mum and his silence nowadays is a bit too loud.

I am at least glad that nowadays he can easily open his emails even though I have to help type in the whole reply. I was surprised the other day that he could actually blue-tooth my mum a song. Then last Friday, he sent me a Facebook friend request which I canceled; I did not think even rethink it twice.

His Dreams.
A few months ago, I arrived home from school. I noticed the house looked different, the old man had finally decided to build a perimeter fence around it. But the word ‘decided’ here is a bad word; because after 14 years of living in a house not fenced, 8 of those in the same house not plastered, 4 of those with walls that have gaping holes and 2 more with a muddy floor…you just don’t decide; you make it happen even if your pockets are dented. That evening some two 20 year-olds passed by and started laughing at how the wall was weak. He didn’t notice..but I noticed a tear form in his eyes.On Jamhuri day, the old man bought chicken. His body can no longer withstand red meat.He told me to get a knife…and then like a man in deep thought he said, “Unfortunately, God did not allow me to sire sons. But he gave me a daughter whose heart is stronger than most young men and I must teach you these little manly tasks.” So off, I had to chop the poor hen’s head.I did not sleep for three days.

Earlier this year, on January 9th, he put on a suit with a white shirt and a red matching tie. His last daughter was reporting to campus and I suppose he wanted to show that he was proud.Throughout the journey, I noticed his hands trembling. At stops, he would shove back a misplaced hair strand on my head and continuously repeat that I have to work hard.

My My Life.

At 18, I am 40 years younger than my dad; yet his dreams are my dreams. I will probably be the one to finish building our house. The old man let me in also, a few years back that he would want to drive his own car again after almost 30 years; I will probably be the one to purchase this one.He insists that I should get a first class honors as well as become a fully certified public accountant in the next four years; In fact, he himself, tutored me on CPA section 1, he brags everywhere that I passed, even to lazy dullards who do not give a hoot. Though my law dreams are close to fading, the old man has insisted that I must become a lawyer. He never says it out loud though, but he buys conventional law books and makes a point of introducing me to a lawyer or two every now and then. He has a time limit too; a Ph.D. by 30.

At 18, the old man has ensured I know that there is a God who lives, who is to be feared. He is the same man who led me to the Lord when I was in class 2 and most importantly, he allowed me to know that there is such a thing as free will. That I can always leave religion when I want to and I can always turn to Christ when I realize He is the only one who remains true. I have grown to be a teacher like the old man. I explain scripture in depth to anyone who wills to listen.Sometimes I question my beliefs; then I remember the old man would refer me to Deuteronomy 30:11-14.

Well, friends, I have big tasks and shoes to fit in. It is for some of these reasons, I have no time for dunda on Fridays. It is for these same dreams, that I cannot have sex before marriage, after all, the much-hailed pleasure might just be 20 minutes of extreme work out and 10 seconds of seeing stars. It is for these reasons that I get chocked by the smell of weed, alcohol, and shisha…noo…there is just no need to smoke shisha. You wonder why I take months to post a single photo on Instagram, I just don’t find the joy of getting likes and a handful of DMs that I won’t respond to.

Of course, I am sure the winds may blow by. Someone will sweep me off my feet and for a month, I will not wake up to attend my 6:15 am morning classes since I will be way smitten. I am sure that a friend will drag me to a rave and the following day I will be nursing a bad headache. I am almost sure someone will offer me weed laced cookies or simsim..and I will spend the night laughing hysterically. I will tell you; these things scare me, they keep me awake on some nights.But at least I am aware of them.At least, I have dreams from my father to always bring me back to the light and to life; dreams that now, are my own dreams.

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Lost thoughts.

I am seated at Uhuru Park…
12:00 noon.

Across me stands Wangari Maathai’s famous board(Is it her who put it up really?) ‘Lest we forget.’

I am in a black official coat and clutching to a fat ass bag and I seem to mean business so I look a bit obscure to the many people here and most should be wondering what I am doing here.Behind me, is a wonderful preacher who I am keenly listening to and though I am, I can bet she is throwing hateful glances at me and a young guy here because we are deeply engrossed on our phones.Her curse is real and clear, ” you are peacocks of a lost generation”( pun not intended).

For those who haven’t been here, Uhuru park is large, too large but vast enough to perhaps hold everyone’s desperations and despondencies(does this word exist? Kokwaro nowadays you are throwing huge words around…mind helping?)

This place probably holds the most worries, tears and to be fair a couple of joys.
I have digressed enough..right?.. you think?…

No, on the contrary, today I will write to you my mixture of thoughts.I shall also pray that one of you will probably have the right answers to my myriad questions…
so take a sip of water and let’s proceed…

As far as my eyes can reach, I can count 40 people idle here at Uhuru Park(like I have literally counted).In fact, many of them are sleeping.No, they are not resting, they are not taking a breeze.No, I can see no beautiful couple, cuddling, holding hands or kissing. These people are trying to forget about their problems.

I stand corrected if I am judging but tell me in your sane mind.Imagine yourself with the stuff you claim to own so dearly at 18,19 or 20… an Infinix Hot Note, sorry,your Samsung phone which you so much treasure(Lewis my thoughts are with you as you mourn your phone loss btw) and your 500 bob which is your fare back home and lunch and then you arrive at Uhuru Park and sleep here so carelessly and even drool…not scared of theft…not scared of anything..and even worse at quarter past 12..this is the time to meet your girlfriend at GM first and then head for lunch..aint it?
Does it make sense? Does it?

That’s a no? (I am getting to the point…relax).

**** ****

So sometimes.. most times in our little cocoons we imagine life as a fairy tale when we are young.We live a life of hope and joy.There is really little to worry about anyway.You can only think about that girl who broke your heart jana or that movie you need to catch next week at IMAX..or whether you will go to Karaoke on Tuesday and whether you have enough money to game at Tric.

Your thoughts are swayed to the latest trends , series and hits( I hear Trey Songs is coming to Nairobi? eeeh..someone shed some light here?..anyone in need of my kidneys I shall sell you one.)..or how you will get money to buy those sneakers you really want(Deadbeat dad…rings a bell?)

but then in all this confusion, we lose the sight of reality, somewhere along the way we downplay our dreams and settle for mediocrity.We suddenly lose touch with the wisdom we held so dear from our parents and teachers and our minds become our new wisdom.

Missing that law class becomes such a norm now and you somehow forget how much you struggled to get in and how bad you felt when you fell short 1 point below the regular cut off.

Weed, alcohol, and sex are your three life pillars while at the same time you pledge to be driving a BMW x6 at 27.(Darling, that is the purest definition of the word fantasy).

Life will soon catch up..and I am sorry if it all crumbles on you with its heartaches and bitterness.

but who am I to prophesy about your life? Why should I anyway?

****    ****

So why am I also at Uhuru park?

I am here hopelessly trying to question life.My mind has drifted too far.It questions all my actions.It questions why I am not in class now.It questions whether I will achieve my dreams and goals.

It irks me that for me, my brain runs ahead of my age.It troubles me whether my applications to Harvard will ever go through or that admission officer will throw my essay crafted in the last 4 years without batting an eyelid.It troubles me whether I will ever get the hang of Financial Accounting and it angers me how my law lecturer teaches with so much enthusiasm about a course that I dreamt, ate, drank and talked of since I was five and now the dream is shattered.

It annoys me that at 18, I have had my heart broken a couple of times and I cannot talk to my mum about it because it is morally wrong.Unfortunately, this notion has made me cynical about love and its existence even if I know it exists.

My thoughts are swayed to the meaning of life…and how to live it before one dies.For one moment here, I pray that I shall grow to be like Steve Jobs and give an iconic speech about true living.

My thoughts finally shift to my grandfather who I lost a couple of weeks ago.The last time we were upcountry we came across a photo of him behind bars during the State of emergency.Next to the photo is of my grandma looking stunning and holding his hand.84 years down the line I wonder how he felt about his life that we all praise as well lived.

Was he scared of never gaining freedom from jail?Did he ever wonder who would sire his 10 children?

How do people live this life…

because I think I have lost its drift…

so let me sink back to my sleep here at Uhuru park..and hopefully, when I wake up, my problems will all be gone.
Isn’t that what we all are hoping here?.

yes…

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Wisdom lingers.

lost wisdpm

Our family has one norm that we strive to keep every night, family devotion. Of course, sometimes (most times like most families) we pretend to be all sleepy so that the devotion ends quickly. So the other day, July 13 was no different as my mother led the devotion.However, one quote from the daily bread that she was reading, titalled me, it read, “Knowledge grows but wisdom lingers.”

So what really is wisdom?

No, I will not barrage you with dictionary definitions flooded with a cacophony of words. In fact, it would beat the logic as to why am piecing down this article today.

So let’s try to understand it with a few examples; ( or rather what is not wisdom).

1.School Unrest.

Have you heard that as of today 60 Kenyan schools have gone down ablaze with fire? Am sure you have, yes? So where have we gone wrong as a nation, where did the kids lose it?

How do they sit down at night and plan to be precarious arsonists, strategically craft the plan and the next day raze the school down? No that is not even my point, how do they raze their school down after the cabinet secretary of education has graced a session in the school? What do they try to demonstrate; forte?  Strength? Ego? Really, I do not get it.

I suppose I need not talk about our prestigious universities rioting day by day.Do I?

The other day, I sat down to read an annotation to a post on social media. It was a show that is modeled around taking the new age gospel to young stars in schools. At times they go along with an alumnus of the school hoping that they would render a motivational talk that would inspire the students. On this particular Sunday, they brought along, a famed successful entrepreneur, and that session was the dullest. The students kept on wondering when the session will end so that they can get down to an earth-shattering jig. I tell you when the music hit the ground down running, you should have seen them dance themselves out bananas as they twerked their tail feathers dry.( Before you get me wrong, I am not against music or even dancing, in fact, I think is the closest way we can get to raise a generation of Christians in this new age.) But where did we lose it, that students can’t listen to good old wisdom being passed down?

I will tell you what is going on,

We lost wisdom…

2.Christianity.

Yes, I just typed Christianity, so stop reading if Christianity is not your cup of tea.

Proceed?

Okay.

I would have written religion instead, but I am a Christian and it would be wrong writing of what I know not.

In the 21st Century, the internet is becoming fast.It is easier to read about cosmology, theology, science, evolution, relativity, doctrine, spirituality, mysticism…you name it. Every basic information is a click away and at your fingertips in a second.

But as we zoom into this information age, I feel that we have traded wisdom for knowledge. We know too much but practice too less. We question too much but listen too less. We have an endless hypothesis to what is true or false about Jesus and God and his existence. We build doubt day by day. We lose perspective of who we are, we forget who gave us life, we forget who in his grace gave us hands, legs and eyes…need I mention more? Success has become a glorification of our strengths, our innate abilities, our hard work and less about God…this same God we pray to before an exam, every time before we pitch that business idea, every time the driver veers off that road and we think we will die.

Friends, we can go deeper into this but know that a glut of data and visual experiences doesn’t guarantee an increase in wisdom.

But wait, even those of us who profess to be saved and anointed by the oil, baptized by fire and sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit…Is it not today, that we were gossiping that workmate who is so ugly that she has no eyebrows? Is it not yesterday that we were complaining about that Boss who is so frustrating, whereas it is us who didn’t finish that work well? Wait, I am quite sure I saw you in church last Sunday leading us in worship…yes, you who is taking that bribe in that office.

Where is the wisdom that we have lost in knowledge?

3. Politics.

After form four, I took time to volunteer as a teaching assistant at a school in one of the biggest slums in Kenya. A week ago, a teacher requested me to teach a topic in class 8 on her behalf.The topic was Political Developments in Kenya since 1963, I gladly obliged to help. The students were rather bored as it was in the afternoon and some slept away into the lessons as I went on about my endless stories about Kenya being a de jure, a de facto and about the fight towards multiparty democracy.Friends, I tell you,* wacha nifike Government ya nusu mkate* in 2008, then I knew I know no politics.

Suddenly, the class was enthusiastic grew fervent, I was bombarded with questions, one side of the class wanted to know who deserved more power than who in the coalition government, another side shushed the others questions dubbing them political whims, others told the rest how their tribesmen don’t think and how their tribe is the strongest.

Outright tribalism had been displayed right there in front of me. Then I started thinking, in 2007 I was in class 4, so these kids were still breastfeeding or thereabouts, right? So who brainwashed these kids? They clearly did not know of the state of the country during the post-election violence.They seriously did not see a thousand or so people lost their lives, they did not know that hundreds were displaced from their homes, they did not see the grotesque sights of fire all over.They did not have a feel of fuel prices going up, food is scarce and the cost of rebuilding our economy.

So who told them that one tribe is more foolish than the other.Who told them? Is it not us? By the daily discussions, we have in our houses.Isn’t it us who stereotype tribes, isn’t it us who write hurtful and thoughtless comments on social media, perpetrating tribalism?

Did I mention this was in the slums? These are kids who sleep having eaten one meal a day…with barely a nice pair of shoes..but they know the complexities of politics with ignorance but do not have a grasp of the truth of the wisdom which really matters…

The wisdom we did not teach them.

Life is a jungle gym.

 
jungleSince time immemorial, the law has always intrigued me both as a career path and as an academic field. So it took me by surprise when I learned that by Thursday last week, out of the 14 candidates who had vied for the post of Chief Justice in Kenya, only two among them were women. One, two…yes, only two. Now before I am dubbed a feminist, I shall get on with the intricacies of my post today.

The Ladder.

We grew up learning that life is a ladder, you know, you climb one step then the next. It was a theory passed on that line. (Remember Primary math book 1-8? that boy and girl who used to climb that staircase and every new year you would so often look at the picture as if you aren’t sure which step you were climbing next). I am convinced that the concept of life being a ladder is a myth, it’s a fallacy.

Along the way, we stop going upwards, we go downwards, at times trials come and we are thrown off guard. You suddenly lose that job, you suddenly get that bad grade, you suddenly lose that soulmate and that point it feels so easy to give up, to let go, to lift that anchor off the water.

Why?

Because we lie to ourselves that life will become better tomorrow, then we sit back and wait for life to unfold somehow hope that the next day will take that next step up. (We never do). Perhaps this is why we are always afraid to get to the top, to be in the limelight. We feel it’s a shame to be up there, we feel we don’t deserve it, we feel it’s hard.

The jungle gym.

A jungle gym has no rules, you fight for what you want, you start from nowhere, you start with nothing, you only trust your journey and your path. You see, in the quest for going up a smooth ladder we often miss the most amazing things; we miss observing the beauty of life because we are afraid to try. Honor yourself and your gifts and stop misunderstanding success. Success never comes because you fear failure. Success never comes because you are doing things right neither does it happen overnight. Dirt those hands and make yourself productive. Stop pleasing people, please your God and your conscience and redefine success and happiness for yourself.

Stop confusing that voice of ego with the voice of intuition. Write down that proposal you’ve been holding back today, take that French class you’ve been postponing, vie for that political seat. Go out there and make that business project work, go out there and sing your heart out there, go and tell that girl you have a crush on her, go out there and performing arts to us; the random audience and notice that the spark of brilliance often comes out of the unexpected.

Above all value growth and learning in the jungle.

Love

                                                         Susan.

P.S. I still don’t understand why those lady justices are all rammed up vying to be Deputy Chief justice. what is scary about being at the top? I hope you all read this.

Jerioth Muthoni .-Thank you so much for allowing me to use your photo. I hope it drives the jungle gym analogy home. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Your life is not pegged on a clothe line.

Last Sunday, I was having a chat with one of my high school best friends, Seshi (she is Luhya btw and yes, she loves chicken),is often bubbly, has always been crazy and the type to make your day, doting rather, and has had the same measure craze to wanting to pursue medicine for the four years I have known her.

Anyway fast forward to our conversation,

Having not spoken to her for a long time I wanted us to catch up. Seshi soon told me that she had been admitted to take a bachelor’s degree in environmental health. This is the point you faze down and wonder what to type next in your conversation, (mostly because I have never heard of the course) so I went offline for a couple of minutes just to think of the right question to ask her, should I ask what really environmental science is, should I ask her how it feels. I was totally lost but I prompted a slow reply,” Will you take it?”

Seshi’s reply came in quick, bold and convincing, “Yes, and I am grateful to God.”

The Clothe line.

Last week, KUCCPS released the admission results for KCSE Class of 2015.It came with its own share of joys for those who had been admitted to take “good courses” to “good universities” and a share of painful moments for the “rest”. These souls I hopefully wish I can talk to.

Your life, sweetheart is not pegged on what you think is a hopeless course. I know it is not medicine, it is not law, engineering or computer science. Yes, I know you dreamt of taking astronomy and I know your vision board had it that you would be touching the stars at 25.I know you have been called to that university that you are trying to find on google maps and it isn’t visible. I am aware that your parents are still ranting to you that your auntie’s brother’s daughter’s cousin, * Nderitu of akina Gachau wa mbari ya tata, has been admitted at University of Nairobi to take Medicine, while you are going to do optical nutrition.

I know your best friends in high school in have already been admitted to private universities and are having the time of their lives, (what am I saying here) I know some have been already flown out and you are sleeping there in your small double-decker bed which you share with your sister and the housemaid wondering what next. I know you dreamt and imagine that you would be taking selfies in a few months in the beautiful lawns of the universities that you saw on catalogs in high school. I am sure you had already planned that your Fridays would be spent at Debonairs and in the evening at Imax. Hun, I also know you are angry at God for not giving you that good grade to walk around with your chin up high with (But it’s okay, I am sure God can take it).

Your life.

But here is also what I know, you are special. Four years ago, you blew everyone’s mind by making it to high school, and four years down the line, you will be the best you can be. You will go to that campus holed down in the remote parts of this country and you will work. You won’t work because you are angry but because you know you can do this. I know your parents have no money, I know they feel disappointed but you are still their ray of hope. I know you feel discouraged and so here is my verse to you,

2nd Chronicles 20:12

“We neither know what to do but our eyes are open to you.” I know there is no justifiable reason to what is happening to you and neither do you think it is laced with any inherent specs of good. And I do agree, I really do agree, but I also do know that God’s will for you is for you to walk through these next four years with Him. He wants you to trust him, even when it is hard to trust.

My dear, it is okay to be at pain, but do take it, because pain is a gift, so allow yourself to take this gift of finding out more about yourself; to finding your hidden talents and abilities. Darling, take that microbiology and do surprise us by finding cures to the weariest diseases. Take that hospitality management and build us the best hotels and provide the coziest facilities. Take that tourism management and I promise to employ you as cabinet secretary of tourism one day when am president. Take that mediation and dialogue course and be that source of peace that Africa badly needs.

Be brave and take that first step. Trust yourself and know this, “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is the result of living the result of other peoples thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly know what you want to become. Everything else is secondary.”-Steve Jobs.

P.S. I am extremely proud of you Seshi and those who have already taken the bold step to rejoice on their courses.

For those who will be joining campus on parallel, I am proud of you and your parents for taking the bold step to focus and live your passions and destiny. Thank the Lord for this opportunity.

*Nderitu of akina Gacau wa mbari ya tata- Nderitu who belongs to the family of Gacau who is of the clan of our aunt’s place.

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A psalm of Asaph.

Psalms 73

As in 1st Chronicles 25, Asaph probably appears as a true worshipper. He hails from a family of singers and his lot is always the first to be cast in the choosing of the duties in worship in Israel.He falls 2nd in rank after king David in leading Israel in worship and later on in Psalms he is a great writer.

However, in Psalm 73, he says he stumbled and almost fell. He says, ” I saw the wicked prosper their bodies all sound and sleek. Not troubled or stricken like other men”(verse 3-12). He asks,” all in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence?” It probably appears to be at a time that he goes through distress as in our day to day sufferings of money, success, and so on. He wonders as many Christian wonder whether indeed God means it when he says he has good plans for us, plans of good and not of evil. Is he justified when he says in Hebrews, “flee away from the love of money, for God has said I will never leave you nor forsake you.

But in psalm73:17, he takes  a new turn, ” till I turned into the sanctuary of Lord; then I saw their final destiny.” He saw how God had set the wicked on a slippery cliff and their end fall would certainly come.

Certainly, challenges will come and hit us to a downfall, many times we will desire to do wicked things because it seems to be the only way out. At times we will feel like the Lord has departed us. But he says in Psalms 20; David prays and records that, many boast chariots and horses but we boast in the name of the Lord our God, the Lord of hosts.

Are you downhearted today? Know that your heart may fail but the Lord is the portion of our hearts forever.

 

 

Love.❤

Love,

It’s all ever written on the face of heaven,

and on every skylight peace haven,

with every star twinkle  at seven,

and with every squirm of crickets and ravens,

sings a perfect harmony of love-laden.

 

And with the rays of the new sun,

that search under the branches,

In every cranny of heart hunches,

Craving for scalding embraces,

Patiently lies love in wait.

 

So discreetly will it wait,

And with every count of stars,

does strength never grow weary,

It will always reside in the heart,

True love,

never ends.