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What to consider when going to meet someone you do not know so well…

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I walked into a coffee house yesterday with a friend. It was in the evening and there were several people in enjoying their drinks of choice. We sat in the table next to a gentle man and a lady. They were an arms-reach from our table. We ordered. We get engrossed into our discussion. After a while, the lady walks out. For a toilet break I think. She leaves her handbag on the table. Nothing unusual. After a short while, the guy stands and walks out. He leaves the handbag on the table. That is very unusual. It is a non written rule in my head that if I am having a meal or drink, I need to watch the belongings of my companion if they take a toilet break. I shouldn’t take a break when she or he is still away. unless there is a third part. The rule applies to the party too. Or I guessed. Wrong. especially for the scene unfolding. I tell my companion. It is strange that the guy walked out and left the ladies handbag. My statement was more suggestive though, I used the word girlfriend. My companion tells me the guy unzipped the handbag and picked a phone, stood and left. It shouldn’t ring a bell still. In any case,once in a while my husband tells me to put his wallet and phone in my bag, right? Wrong. The waitress comes and puts reserved notice on the table. The ladies handbag is still there. The lady comes back. Runs into the waitress and asks, where the guy went to. She says he just walked down. But little did we know he was not coming back. She comes and sits. Goes through her bag, then she casts a look across and asks if the guy took her phone. My companion answers yes. Then she goes, “Oh My God”.

Of course we inform the management (through the waitress). The waitress says there are many such cases. She also says the guy frequents there. Maybe with fresh bait every time. This brought back memories of what I used to be told when I was growing up on precautions to take. I am going to share a few tips I gathered a long the way in my journey of life:-

I do not drink alcohol, and probably one of the reasons why was for my own safety. Drinking to some extent reduces the rational capacity of a person. The level of loss is different. Others need only one glass of one, others need a whole crate of beer. I have never wanted to test my limits. Some say that you limit your alcohol consumption. I have learnt that , sometimes in some company this rule does not work. If it is a group outing, it is always easy to volunteer to be the designated driver, or the cab advisor when everyone else has since stopped being themselves. In the least you will ensure everyone is home safe and sound.

One of the safety tips I remember my brother ever mentioning to me way before I joined college was when you are having a drink with anyone, if you need to pee, finish your drink first. If you had not, order a fresh one when you get back. It may look unusual to those who you will be with but just in case your drink was spiked, you will be okay. This does not only apply to alcohol, but also to the teas, coffees we do with friends, prospective clients or customers, and even strangers on blind dates.

It is good to let someone know where you are. It is also good to let this person know at least one person you are with. We may assume we are in control of things, but stuff happens. Picture a guy who goes out for a drink with friends. He drinks later than them. His drink is spiked. He goes Missing in Action (MIA). Or those thieves who unleashes things that you breath and pass out. When someone has been keeping track of your movements it would be easy for them to, in the least know where to start looking for you or who was last with you and what happened when you parted ways. It may be strange but I try my level minimum to always let my spouse know where I am, who I am meeting, where. Even when he is not around, I still let him know.

It is also good to have at least one contact off head. This is where the back up phone mentioned in My Accident… My Lessons makes sense. This will make sure that when tragedy happens to you, even if your phone is dead or has been stolen and you cannot access your contacts list, you can contact one person, hopefully this person is the same as the one you had told where you are.

I also remember a friend of mine telling me never go out without extra cash, enough to cater for your food and drinks just in case the person you are meeting bails out on the bill. Make sure you also have enough money to get you home. This may come in handy when group outings go in a direction you did not anticipate and you need to flee them. You may not have to tell them you are leaving. Excusing yourself for a pee will give you time to walk out on company you do not want to be in discreetly.

In addition to all these, ladies, carry your handbag to wherever you are going in case you are taking a break from the company you are with. Unless that person is your spouse or fiance or your really bestest of friends.  In the least this should apply. If you go to the loo, go with it, if you want to go to the counter for an extra order, please don’t leave it, if you want to walk across the room and say hi to a long lost friend who just walked into the restaurant, that bag is not so heavy, pick it, walk with it. A lady,s bag has everything, from her friends spare keys to her identification documents. If that bag goes MIA can you survive a week without its contents? If not, please make it a part of you.

other advise gathered online include googling the person you are meeting, pepper spay, meeting is busy places, watch for disturbing behaviors and if your instincts say run, then just run.

I asked the girl if she knew the guy well. She she knew him but not so much. I hope in the least she gets her phone back. I also appreciate the restaurants that have CCTV, though I highly doubt they assist much. Maybe another caution should be to sit within camera range. Either way, hopefully this can stop someone from getting into the same pit.

 

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My Accident… My Lessons

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imagesThe date is 5th September. I am driving a long Nairobi Nakuru Highway. Am am almost at the Gilgil weigh bridge. I am anticipating traffic. There is almost always traffic here. It is getting to 9am. The highway is not so busy though. But then again, it is a Tuesday, it is not those days everyone is rushing to the village or rushing back to the CBD to live yet another week of the activities of 5am to 8pm in a bid to put bread on the table. Besides the usual once in a while crazy trucks speeding past, it is slow. I am the last in a queue of about five vehicles. 60KPH is my speed. Then suddenly, the slow night gets crazy as a speeding truck hits my car, at the rear, near the wheel. My wheel goes poof, I swerve into the truck, minimal impact, I was driving slowly anyway, but the impact still sends me off the road, I loose balance, try to steady the car, I veer across the road, finally when I could remember where my breaks were I stop the car. Breathe in and Out. I shout, everyone Ok? Passenger 1 next to me, yes; Passenger 2 at the back, yes. We are all good. The truck is long gone. I can only see the tail lights vanishing into the darkness. I exit the car, check the impact, one totally damaged wheel, and one flat tyre (reparablle. It lost the valve during the impact). We are going nowhere. The rule of the road says only one spare tyre. I have damaged 2. What to do? I Call my brother. He gives instructions. Call my husband, this calms me a bit. Now I can get into action. Passenger 1 gets help from her brothers. My brother assists me in getting the cops. Cops come and confirm accident, record damage. I call the insurance guy and he instructs me on what I need to do. No intervention to the damages if possible he says. And get police abstract. The brothers take the flat tyre for repair (We need to get out of these woods), someone (the only driver who stopped to see what kind of help we probably needed) said there were rhinos around. The tyre is repaired and we fix them. We test the car. It is still going nowhere. The damaged rear axle is making the car skid. We need to tow the car. The brothers assist us in getting tow services. Finally, the car, my two passengers and I are brought to Nairobi aboard the tow truck. Its 3am. We arrive in Nairobi. We drop the car at the insurance inspection centre. Some guards on patrol offer us a ride (paid) to Passenger 1s home. We dropped Passenger 2 in Kinoo. They can’t drop me home they need to get to work. Its 5am though so I get dropped off at a bus stop. I take a matatu home. Its 6am. I finally get home. Safe. Tired but safe. Glory be to God. I need to get back to the police station to collect the abstract, but first I need some sleep.

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This could be a story of any accident victim on our roads. The stories change from person to person. The essence of this is not for the story itself but my lessons from my long night.

 

  1. Strive to be good Samaritans: – I know that our roads have rogues and cons and helping a stranded motorist, especially at night, is unimaginable. I don’t even know if I can stop to assist a stranded motorist or passenger now, especially in those places that chain messages always point out. But I know that there are good Samaritans out there. The truck driver who saw us by the road side and stopped, I don’t know him, but he stopped. It’s just that what we needed was beyond him. There are those who saw us veering off the road, crossing the road and stopping. They drove on. I don’t blame them. I probably would have done the same. I pray that the scary stories of cons will not deter us from doing good when those one in a million instances comes.
  2. Kindness abounds: – The two gentlemen who helped us that night, I owe them a lot. The insurance guy stayed awake with us. He picked my calls even at 4am. I pick my calls very selectively after 6pm. But he did. He did not owe me anything. His job did not require him to do that. But out of the goodness of his heart he did it. I cannot pay them back the kindness. At least not to them. Maybe someone else will benefit in the payback. May we strive to be kind.
  3. God watches over His children: – I drove to wherever I was going alone. But on my way back I had two passengers. I had company that night. I was not alone. It is because of them that the car could be repaired. It is because of them I could brave the night with the imaginary rhinos. It is because of them that I was probably brave to keep acting. I did not have control of many things that night, but God brought made sure we were safe. A lot could have happened (the mind gets creative here), but God was in control
  4. Always have a backup phone:- There are many things that are put in survival manuals. Matchboxes, pocket knives, blankets, flashlight, flares among others. Add to that list a backup phone. A phone that can take night pictures, even bad ones, but has good battery life. Smart phones die very fast. Mine had died an hour earlier. A mid the confusion I had forgotten about it, but it came in handy.
  5. Forget the incident, remember the lessons: – It is traumatizing to go through some stuff. Especially ones that allow your mind to wander. Get traumatized. Cry. Scream. Get frustrated. Yell at someone. Sigh. But after all the emotions, let your mind derive lessons from the experiences that are life. In the long run, life is a series of events. What hurts is the stories we attach to those events. Hurt a bit, but learn from the events. And let those events make you a braver happier person. Find a reason to be thankful. There are always reasons to be grateful. May it rain, we cannot stop that from happening, but may we never forget to sing and dance in the rain.
  6. If tomorrow Never Comes:- We all have heard of the best regrets one makes on their death bed. You forget to live when you are alive. You forget to live because someone hurt you five years ago. You forget to live because you are afraid of the consequences of your decisions today. You forget to live because you are afraid of what people say. You just survive, because you are living fear. You have one life. Live it well. Live it in the best possible way you know how. Live it to fulfill the person you  are. Live it to the purpose you were created. discover that purpose and live life. If tomorrow never comes, then there will be no regrets because you lived to the best of your capacity, you did the best you could in what was entitled to you, you lived a purposeful life, but more so you were happy and you were not afraid.

One year on…

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1477930069246It has been a year since she was born! Time does fly; literally. It has also been a year and a month since my dad passed away. While this article features her, Angelica, it is not about her. It is my thank you note to all who have been with me, us for the last one year plus the months I was expecting.

I consider her my strength because of many things. She was conceived at a time when my dad was in his last stages of cancer wars, hospitalized most of the time. It was a challenge not to be depressed, but had to stay sane for her. She brought her own challenges during pregnancy. I had crazy pelvic pains, I was dizzy most of the time, and I could barely stay on my feet for a couple of minutes. I could not travel on my own, I had to request for company any time I needed to go visit my dad in hospital; I even had to get someone to accompany me to do her shopping. My dad passed away when I was 7 and a half months pregnant.  It was rough but she gave me reasons to stay strong. She came five weeks after. She was born when I had not even started mourning his death. How could I mourn?

Amid all this, there were angels who kept me company. Those who traveled with me when I needed to go and see my dad, those who accompanied me when I needed to go to town and do the ordinary things like buy shoes, those who called to check on me, those who prayed with me and for me when I couldn’t pray, those who gave me an intention to pray for when I did not have any, (I don’t know how many times I asked myself what to pray for), the colleagues who exempted me from responsibilities, those who sent me cash to boost whatever we had when the bills were crazy, those who shared a smile, when I had no reason to smile, those who reminded me that there was a reason to be grateful, there always is a reason to be grateful, those who gave me hugs, those who cried literally with me when it was too much to hold inside, those who came to be with us in dads final journey. There is a friend of mine who took leave to come and stay with me the whole week I was home for the funeral arrangements and funeral itself. I appreciate you. You don’t know how much difference you made. By your being, by your presence, by your prayers, I had the energy to sing and dance in the rain.

If you are going through the same, expectant and having it rough, look for reasons to be happy, to smile, no matter how elusive they may seem. Find a reason to fight for that baby you are carrying, find strength in knowing that there is someone literally walking with you, every day and every night. Let the child hug you from within and give you strength to stay sane. Let the child in you, every time they kick, remind you that smiling amid every hardship is possible. If you have a patient, cancer or otherwise, taking care of them personally or someone else is, I can relate to your pain, I can relate with your desperation, I can relate with your hopelessness, I can relate with your looking at God and asking why oh why, I can relate with broke, I can relate with your tears, I can relate with that smile of strength when you are screaming inside, I can relate with the tears you fight back in public, I can relate with that urge to close yourself in and shut the world out. Reach out for help, accept any that is offered. It is in doing so that you allow those who would want to be with you on this journey to actually know how they can help. I have learnt that sometimes people don’t really know what to do to those going through tough times but when you reach out they get a sense of direction. Don’t feel bad if the help from the obvious from your circles is not forthcoming, they could be slaying their own dragons too; accept help from the unexpected sources, these are the angels God has sent to walk with you; avoid traumatizing yourself physically and emotionally. If you would throw yourself and roll when morning, then hold yourself for just one second and hit the pillow instead. Cry if you must, call unto God, and tell Him your hopelessness, but pray. Watching someone you love go down that road, a road of knowledge that they will be gone eventually and knowing that you cannot do anything about it is hard, but there’s something you can do. Pray for that person, that God may prepare their souls for their eventual encounter, that when he eventually dies, he will die in the arms of Christ. There is this prayer that we do not think about often as Catholics,

Yesu, Maria na Yosefu, Nakutoleeni moyo na roho na uzima wangu,

Yesu, Maria na Yosefu, Nijulieni saa ya kuszimia roho yangu,

Yesu, Maria na Yosefu, Nifanyizieni nife mikononi mwenu

You can do this on their behalf. “Ajaliwe kifo chema”. Is it crazy to pray for the salvation of the dying, no! We pray that when they die, their lives will then be truly transformed because, as Christians we believe in death life in not ended, it is changed. Are we wishing them death when we pray for their moment of death, no, we are praying so that they may reconcile themselves with their maker, who loved them before they came to this world, that when they are gone, they may go to He who loved them the most when they lived here on earth and they will be in a state of Grace to see Him face to face.

If you know anyone going through some tough times, someone who has a cancer patient, or any patient all together, or someone who is mourning, someone who has lost hope in themselves, and the world, someone who believes there world has come to an end, strive to be there for them in any way. Extend a shoulder, a smile, a moment of your time, a prayer (lots of prayers), a word of encouragement, a pent-up-energy-release moment, send them some money even without them asking, smile at them, walk with them when they need you, and be kind, offer to do something they need to do. There is a tendency for most people to shut the world out when they are in this state. If they let you in, be the strength they need to walk out of the dark tunnel in a single piece.

I always say that we were not created alone in this world for a reason. As I commemorate my dad’s memorial, I also celebrate my baby’s birthday. I thank God for everything. But more so, for those who walk this life with me, with us, me and mine. We are blessed to have you in our lives. Your contribution to who we have become, and who we will become make us forever indebted.

Happy Birthday Angelica…

It is also the feast day of St. Rose of Lima, Happy feast day my Sister Rose…

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Roho ya muumini Marehemu Yohane, apate rehema kwa Mungu, Apumzike kwa Amani, Amina.

 

Garissa Attack – The stories that will never be told, they can only be imagined

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shatteredWe all go to college. Not all of us get out of college. For some its because death they pass on. I went to college too The first time I heard of a student die, I cried a lot. I cried for the parent who expected to receive the son a graduate but receives a coffin instead. I cried for the mother whose hopes had died with the death of this child. I remember how the student died. He was swimming, just a few metres from where most of us were as we took a refreshing swim in Lamu having had a tiring day of touring the Island. He was swimming then he was gone, swallowed up by the Indian ocean.

Every parent sends their child to school for many reasons. For a country that is struggling in building its economy, its mostly about a better living for this child. My father always encouraged us to work hard in school so that we could have a better life. He took us to school. He struggled to keep us there. He whipped us when we disappointed him with poor grades or with behaviours that would threaten our admission. For all that struggle I am. I thank God for that.

For the parents who sent their children to  Garissa University College, their dreams were varied. Each parent has a dream with each child. All those dreams have been cut short. Stories have been told of how it happened. Gruesome pictures have been circulated. Frustrations of identifying one’s loved ones have been narrated. We have all expressed our anger,, which is justified. We have prayed and lit candles. For consolation, for repose of the souls.Amidst all this, there are stories that will never be heard. Stories of parents who will weep the loss of their children for the rest of their lives;parents who have lost their sole hope in family breadwinners, of parents who will walk with their children as they try to relieve the trauma and hope to God that someday they will be strong enough to forget the sound of a gunshot, the smell of fresh and drying blood, the sound of a dying friend, the sight of a lifeless body, the screams that will be etched in their heads. No one will hear of how life will become of all the families of the victims as they live each day mourning their beloved,not because they have not mourned enough today but because every day will be a journey of saying goodbye all over again. The readers will never know of the finality of burying a child. We have hopes and reams and the things we wish to do, and the promises these children represent, but it is all gone. We will never hear of the journey the wounded will make in struggling to forgive those who murdered their kin, their struggle to let go, and the questions they ask themselves that will never be answered; the what if they were still alive… candles

They are not dead those who still live in the hearts of the living. And true to that, those who are gone will forever live in our hearts. I lost a brother when I was eight years old, or there abouts. I once asked my mother of it has gotten any easier, and she said no. The child remains alive in her heart, she will forever remember those last moments when he breathed his last (sob sob)… These parents mourn their kin, their beloved. They will mourn them for the rest of their lives.

I always say that when you loose your beloved, you should remember the moments you sent with them, the memories you made, and that is what should remain in the heart to help us smile through the tears. The whole world is mourning these children.While we may not have lived with these children and may not have memories to help us smile, while we may not have the right words to even take away one drop of tear from the faces of these parents, guardians, brothers sisters, hope for the country at large, while we can not even begin to fathom the pain they are feeling, or the frustration they get to go through with every dawn of a new day, or the hopelessness they feel; while we may not even know what to do or say; we may surrender it all to our loving father in heaven. When all is hopeless, He is our hope. I wish all those affected Jesus. May He be with you, be your strength, be your consolation, be the answer to all those answered questions … Like Henri Nouwen said, I will be “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing…”. I cannot do all this in person, but I go down on my knees and pray with you. umoja

The 7 day #BibleChallenge…. Day 7

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Love is the greatest  1 Corinthians 13:13;
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Romans 13:10;
Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

Love is the greatest, and will forever remain the greatest.

LoveI have a belief that if we loved and loved truly, then all the evil we see, the betrayals, the bloodshed, the fights, the wars, the hatred, just to name a few would all be history. If I loved my friends enough, I would not speak behind their backs unless I am speaking praises, If I loved my neighbour, I would not shed their blood, I would not rape their daughter, I would not sodomize their son, I would not steal their belongings; If I loved enough, I would not corrupt the nation of its wealth, I would not grab public property and claim it as mine, I would not organise a group of gangs and make them kill each other; If there was enough love, then we would all live in goodness, looking out for each other, no one would go hungry or thirsty or naked; no one would be in prison, no one would be struggling with letting go of years of bitterness held deep in our hearts for wrongs done long ago,…

But that is a perfection that we have to daily seek. It is the perfection Christ seeks to teach us each day. As humans, we are weak, we have to constantly seek to be perfected by Christ. Our journey of faith because a continuous search for perfection, which by the grace of God, we shall achieve in eternity.

1 loveIt is easy to love those who love us back. Our ultimate test of love, is when we have to love those who we believe do not deserve our love. May we, in this moment remember the crucified Christ, who in spite of our imperfections loved us enough to die on the cross and keeps loving us…

The 7 day #BibleChallenge…. Day 6

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Kindness

We are all called to be kind. And like one wise man said, kindness is a language that the blind can see, the deaf can hear and the dumb can understand. It is easy to be kind to those who are kind to us It is easy to show goodness to those who are good to us.It is very easy to reciprocate love. True Christianity however calls us to go beyond that which is obvious. Luke tells us in the Bible to Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 

True Christianity requires us to do to others as He did for us. While, we condemned him and mocked Him, he cried for us; while we whipped him till he bled, he prayed for us; while we nailed him on the cross and jeered till he breathed his last, he forgave us. He tells us “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”. 

Be kindIt is easy to wonder how we can be this, especially when we are really wounded. Kenya is a bleeding Nation at the moment, how now can we love those who brutally shot and cut short the lives of our beloved children? How now? Isn’t this verse making a mockery of our emotions? Flip side; how many times do we ourselves wound those whom we love? How many times do they bow down, swallow their pride and tell us,  “I forgive you?” Are we so special to deserve forgiveness?

Luke 6:37-38:- Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…

God have mercy on us and grant us graces to actually be kind, very kind, especially when being kind is hardest…

Article 33:- Footprints in the sand…

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footprint

Many times, we meet people, who walk in and out of our lives in different capacities; teachers, friends, neighbours, watchman, boyfriends, spouses. Many at times, some will touch us in a way that we will never forget. They may be there for a short while, or for eternity, but the impact they leave makes us different people eternally. They introduce an attitude that we never had before, and make us wiser, stronger, kinder, learned, and better human beings. Many of us have probably come across the following poem at one point in time…

“One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”The LORD replied: ‘My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’”

Taking stock of our lives we can sometimes see ourselves writing this poem. Problem comes in realizing how exactly God carried us on his shoulders. Many of us don’t even take stock of our lives and we miss out in this realization. Many still do take stock and instead of realizing the blessings behind the sorrow and low moments, carry the pain much longer than when supposed to. This makes us miss the lesson, miss the blessing, miss the Graces but mostly miss the realization that God really does carry us through the tough times. Missing this realization makes us fail to be thankful for the tough times.

I remember the early months of last year when I walked into a clinic for a regular check up on my ante natal clinic only to be told “madam, I hope you are aware that you are not going to home today”, my reply was the obvious, “you are joking, right”, and the stern worried doctor says, “no, which hospital do you want us to admit you”… There followed a serious of denial statements to the doctor and a very firm concerned doctor whose resolve could not be changed, which was in the end good for me. I left his hospital with an admission letter. I felt very lonely at that moment. I remember walking to the casualty of the hospital I was to be admitted to and sitting at the entrance wondering what to do next. I made one phone call and wrote one text; phone call to my friend Agatha, text to my friend doctor. All I know is after that, things seemed to fall in place, like a puzzle had just been solved. I still got admitted for some time and was put on bed rest for a month before baby came but everything was to be fine. My heart was at peace. Fast forward my story a month later, baby boy came, but I got slight complications with my episiotomy and I was in so much pain I could barely do anything for myself. My first house help was a darling. She did her job excellently and I can confidently say, she did beyond that which I paid her to do. With all the dramas that they come with and with all we know, I had a perfect girl with me, nurturing my baby and I to good health. I saw, and still see the hand of God through all that. I was probably in my lowest most helpless state, but God carried me through it all, literally on His shoulders.

How does God carry us on his shoulders; He brings people in our lives to make the baggage we carry light. I know all of us have looked back and said, I wouldn’t have made it through that time without so and so’s help. I could not have hacked it if my mom had not called me every night to give me words of inspiration. I could not have made it alone. I came through because my friend came to see me daily, hugged me many times, held me in her arms when I cried and gave me loads and loads of words of encouragement. When Christ made this promise in John 14:16, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”, he meant every word. But how many times do we miss the grace of his presence just because his ‘helper’ is not packaged the way we would want him to be. How many times do we refuse to be carried because we are afraid to admit we need help? How many times do we sink in the pit because we are afraid to take the offered hand? When will we stop believing that we can do it on our own and let people help us through? I must admit that this world has brought forth the notion that we should not trust each other, but I also believe that the angels of God are the people we interact with every day.

All of us have stories to tell. No matter how much tears we shed when we tell these stories, there always is the light in the story. The cab driver who gave you a ride when you dint have a coin to your name when you tarmacked, the matatu driver who understood when you told them umesanywa, the kind relative who came to stay with you just because you needed someone to be with you, the darling friend who prays with you when you don’t have the strength to pray for yourself, the loving husband whose presence never wavers, whose support, no matter how weak he is himself, never falters, that friend who cheers you on as you pick yourself up… All Christ, carrying you on His shoulders through the angels he sends your way.

The other question is how many times do we actually go out of our way and help those we encounter in the name of Christ, that is, not taking the glory for ourselves? A Roman saying goes “We should give as we would receive: cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.”An old lady of about 70 walks to you at Holy Family Basilica on a Saturday morning and u are walking out from the adoration chapel, rushing to run an urgent errand and asks you for the direction to some place, instead of giving her many directions that include many right and left turns that will leave her confused, you walk her there yourself and proceed on your way to wherever you are going. In the end she tells you, ‘May God remember you when you get to my age’. What a nice feeling. How many blessings do we miss, just because we are too busy to be kind? Take time to visit and talk to your friend who has been unwell, praying for someone diligently (yes, I have learnt that the most selfless thing I can do is pray for someone. Most of the time, prayers are a selfish but very intimate way of presenting our wish list to God, ranting to him because things are not going the way we want them to, giving him thanks for the great things happening in our lives…me, me, me… So if among this selfish needs and intimate moment you can bare yourself, and bring in someone else and bare their needs too, that is kind, very kind), smiling at that man in the gate, giving a complement, saying thank you ( I recently discovered it tears me up), giving to the needy etc.  What do we lose by being kind? Off the record, we shouldn’t be kind because we want blessings; we should be kind for kindness’ sake.

There are so many kind things we can do, not even necessarily going out of our way. Anyhow when you learn to be kind, acts of kindness become a norm, and it won’t feel like you are going out of your way any more. It’s just being yourself, doing what you are supposed to do diligently and hardworkingly. If you are a friend, be a true friend, if you are a colleague, be a good one, if you are a classmate, be a classmate, if you are a partner, be a partner. Do it well, and in your doing, you will end up being the miracle someone needed to see her to the next day. By doing, when the other party takes stock of their lives, they will remember that at one moment in time, God carried them in His shoulders through their interaction with you. As Kevin Heath says, “Wherever there is a human need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference”. mabegaI have ridden on the shoulders of great people, great because anyone who lets you ride on their shoulders have a greatness in them. I am probably what my friend Agatha calls a spoilt child of God. I pray that I can be that shoulder for someone. May we be those persons, those persons who ensure that only one set of footprints appear in the sand when the troubles come in the wake of those we encounter…

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