For Emmah

This is for a lady who is exceptionally inspiring. A first encounter with her speaks of grace; kind eyes, a very gentle spirit, beauty within and without. The kind that fills a room with peace and …

Source: For Emmah

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For Emmah

This is for a lady who is exceptionally inspiring. A first encounter with her speaks of grace; kind eyes, a very gentle spirit, beauty within and without. The kind that fills a room with peace and tranquility. Growing up around her; I always felt that she was different. She has an inborn talent of connecting with people. When she looks at you; it as if she reads your soul. You feel her empathy when you sit with her.

Whenever there is disagreement between two people; Emmah does not take sides. Both parties will feel like they have her on their side. She comes across as very wise; like she has access to some profound knowledge that none of us has access to. Emmah is one of the few people who understands that serving is a supreme art for the noble beings. She is quick to serve all regardless of who they are. Her track record at her place of work is unbeatable. Rising from junior employee to management. There is no genius to it; even the coldest of hearts warm up to her and end up rooting for her.

In spite of all her good deeds; life hasn’t always been fair. I have seen her go through some trying times. At times I felt like her kindness was being taken for weakness. I felt like she needed to make firmer decisions. I know better now; weak people would not make such decisions. Only strong people are able to forgive sincerely and fight for the people they love.

When I heard about her ailment; the first thing that came to mind is, not her again. Cancer picked the wrong person again. We sat by her hospital bed one night; it dawned on me that my heroine was at her lowest moment. My heart broke into a thousand pieces. She was downcast and in acute pain. I remember asking God for a sign. Something to keep us going. It didn’t take long; like a phoenix she rose from ashes. That is all we needed to keep fighting. To get her the specialized treatment she desperately needed.

Before boarding the plane to India she told me that she was not understanding anything that was happening. I told her that all she needed was to focus on getting better. It was our time to nurse our heroine. Take care of her like she always took care of everyone. We are always alert waiting for news from India. It is in these times that we get to know all the hearts you touched through your amazing deeds. Now more than ever we need you to continue inspiring us.

Our hearts and prayers are with you as you fight cancer. We stand with you Emmah!

Built for greatness

A story is told of a dolphin during Noah’s time. Only a pair of pure animals was to be saved from the floods. Like most animals; dolphin was locked out of the ship. She desperately stayed close to the ark in the hope that someone will hear her cry and let her in. It started raining; poor dolphin started panicking. The amount of water started building up. The bible states that it rained for forty days and forty nights. Dolphin was sinking and struggling to breathe. In her struggle the only thing that was clear in her mind was the will to survive. Long gone were the hopes of getting into the ark. She had to think of ways of dealing with the water. Somehow she found a way of maneuvering in the water. The learning process was gradual but it became easier to survive every day. Finally; she discovered that she was built to thrive in water. No words can explain the joy in dolphin at that moment of realization. “My wings are for swimming and my gills are for breathing”. From there onward it was pure bliss for her.

Not getting a white collar job does not mean you will not make it. It could mean you are meant to thrive elsewhere. There are infinite stories of people who made it in the informal industry. The problem facing our society is people in the wrong spaces such as professions. As a result there are poor services in every field. Non compassionate nurses, reckless driver, teachers and priests with no call to service. Facing rejection means you are meant for something greater. All you need is time to figure it out. The common option does not mean it is the best for you.

I stood with a group of experts in my field in one of the security events. Two gentlemen were engaged in a conversation about the industry and their line of work. I still remember vividly a statement made by one gentlemen. He said; “Thank you for not hiring me. If you had hired me I would not have my own company”. There was a moment of silence as we all reflected on the gentleman’s statement. I was taken aback by his confession considering I had just started working. If only each of us could get to that moment when you realize everything works out for good. I believe there is an order of things in the universe.

What you need in life is to be locked out, turned down, be fired, be heartbroken, fail miserably, lose friends or be betrayed. Trying times are what testimonies are made of. We only focus on the negative side of failure such as how humbling it is. In the process we miss out on the bigger picture which are the lessons and wisdom that comes with it. It is years of experience that distinguishes a young person from the older person. Hang out with people who have been through it before you. You will be shocked at how resourceful they will be to you.

Fire is the best way to purify gold. If I had a bunch of keys and a locked door; I would try opening the door with each key at a time. If none of the keys work it simply means they are meant for another door. Move on to the next door. The next opportunity awaits you. In a world where there are infinite possibilities; why do we lock ourselves to one possibility?  Just trust that every path you take leads you to your destiny and NEVER stop learning. You were built for greatness.

A Fresh Start

In less than an hour we usher in the new year. My hometown never sleeps on this day. From my room I can hear it all; it is a bustle of activity. Everything feels right; a feeling that we would want to linger for quite some time. We have a list of new year’s resolutions. Dozens of messages from friends and family with best wishes for the new year.

There is hope, peace and tranquility. None of 2015’s events can be erased. There is a lot to be grateful for. A gift of life, health, family, salvation and love. At the same time we are about to say goodbye to a year which was characterized by very trying times for most people. A struggling economy, terror and loss of loved ones. Somethings may not still make sense  but “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”. Trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future.

Yet here we are looking forward to a turn of events. Believers we are; 2016 is the year of breakthrough. Nothing has dampened our will to live a fulfilled life. How amazing the human capacity to forge ahead. We know God is watching and he promises better things.

For 2016 we take charge of our story. It is a new book we are about to start writing. My guidelines for writing a better story in 2016 are:

  1. You are not a one dimensional being, strive to balance social, spiritual and economic achievements. Experience God, love and wealth.
  2. Surround yourself with motivated people who challenge you to pursue more.
  3. There will be trying times. Be human enough to experience pain, sadness and remorse but strong enough not to be taken down by a single blow.
  4. Be part of the solution and not the problem. There are enough challenges already.
  5. Dare to get out of your comfort zone. It is the only way to discover new things.
  6. Reach out to more people. We all have something to give no matter how small.
  7. Take a break. You owe it to yourself. There is so much to achieve you cannot afford to breakdown.
  8. There are two ways of seeing things: half empty and half full. Half full is the winning team’s perspective.
  9. Stand up for something. Say no to injustice and anything that infringes on human rights.

The biggest takeaway from the new year’s tradition is the optimism and vigor in all of us. If only we could live everyday like 31st December. Choose every day to be a new page because “everyday holds the potential for beauty”. Keep the fire burning. Light will triumph. Wishing you a blessed 2016.

My Lemons

My memories of the past two decades are still fresh. All events brought me here. Life has a way of equally dishing out oranges and lemons to all of us. Regardless of color, gender and background; we all have a story. My focus  is on the downs because they are the most annoying parts of life.

I look back at my lowest moments with mixed feelings. The futility that came with trying out new activities or relationships. Investing so much into fruitless adventures. Relationships that had no foundation. It is funny how much you give to a person you stand no chance with. When you try to fix yourself thinking you are not good enough. You finally make peace with your ex he says the unexpected. You were too perfect for them. They felt like they did not deserve you. So what were you fixing all along?  Such an irony.

Ever since I can remember I had a defined dream career. A dream that I entertained for a long period. There is no bigger blow than letting go a 15 year dream. When you do not know who you are without your dream career, dream partner, dream job etc. I thank God for my family who helped me figure it out all over again. The healing is gradual and at times ghosts from your past haunt you. What if you fail again?

You stick out like sore thumb at your new school or job. The school uniform does not fit at all. Making friends does not come easily to you. On the brighter side it is quality versus quantity. All you need is meaningful relationships instead of a dozen fickle ones. Just like a person likes you for no reason; others will hate you for no reason. You are perfect and no inch of you needs to be subjected to change.

I still do not understand the complex being I have become but who would I be without all those lessons? As much as I would want to erase the tough times; I would rather they share the same memory space with the good ones. If I were to go back I would make better choices but I am still proud of the young me. She fought for what she believed in then. I am proud that she gave it all she had. Even if things did not work out she has no regrets. As for the remorse that came with it; it was all worth it. My Dad says “there is no free schooling”. Remorse and pain are the fee for those lessons.

There is a level where everything is in sync where you are meant to be. However, it is not for the faint-hearted. We are all trying to get there. There would be no joy if everything was black and white.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Watch out for the opportunities that are often disguised as obstacles and make lemonade from the lemons.

Nursing her back to life

What happens when you get a call implying that all is not well at home? Apparently all those conversations you have been having with her was her faking a strong voice. When the strongest person you have ever known is admitted in a hospital? For me it was so surreal that I could not imagine her lying on a hospital bed. The journey to the hospital becomes the longest journey ever. Being the optimist that I am; these were my thoughts then. The doctors must have made a big mistake. They will release her from the hospital after one day.

When you get to the hospital there is literally a crowd waiting to see her. You realize that this could be more serious than you thought. We all get in at 1 p.m. which is the normal visiting hours. She is at the corner of the ward; there is a water drip on one hand and blood on the other one. Red eyes, a frail form but a strong voice to reassure her visitors that she will be out of hospital soon. Your heart sinks when you realize that all is not well. What brought her here?

The truth is that she had been sick for quite some time. Undergone a surgical operation that accidentally went wrong; she could not protect us from the truth anymore. It was an experience of a kind; weeks turned into months while she was still in hospital. What never ceased to amaze me was her willingness to live. “I have to see my grandchildren” that is what she could tell my sister and I. Biblically when one part of the body is sick all the other parts are affected too. The truth is when one person in a family is sick the whole family gets sick. That is besides the point; my deepest gratitude is to my extended family and friends who choose to be sick with us.

While it would have been easier for you to act on your busy schedules you took the high road and stood with us. Every travel that was made for her; every prayer, every phone call, every meal that was prepared and every visit to the hospital was a big sacrifice. There never has been a dull Christmas than December 2014. Instead of celebrating with the World we sat with her on the hospital bed. I would love to call out all of you but to Aunt Emma; the lady with a golden heart. To Charity as your name suggests the most charitable human I have met. I am grateful to God for not giving me a chance to choose my family because I would never have picked out such a great family for myself. Forever a Wanjohi; but then again the apple does not fall far from the tree, a great man he was. You all are my heroes. To all doctors and nurses who worked on her; yours is the most noble of professions. To the Njuguna’s we will always be grateful.

To my Dad for always acting strong even when situations demand that you be vulnerable. To my Mom for not giving up and willing to be with us. Thank you for giving us a chance to take care of you while all you ever did was to take care of everyone. To God for giving her a second chance. To all families who are taking care of a loved one; be strong. I can somehow relate to your situation. He is still seated on his throne.

It all fell into place

I met her in my last days of campus. As opposed to my friends who were looking forward to finishing school; I was a bundle of nerves. I needed to know what will happen next. How will I get a job? Will I stand on my feet or I will still depend on my parents. Maybe it is because I love being in control. She was one of the few people who seemed happy with life. Happily married, and wanted to actually blog about happy marriages. I found it strange that happy marriages did exist.

I asked for guidance from her because I would not have minded to be in her position. Somewhere in my head I thought she would say the normal stuff. Get good grades and put yourself out there. To my surprise; all she said was that everything would fall into place. She was right; everything fell into place.

Because of her (Wanjiru Kihusa) I can stay sane and embrace the unknown. I live in the moment and do my best everyday. In the end everything falls into place.