I have been in a strange state of mind lately. Strange because when I’m asked how I’m doing I struggle to say fine. There is a feeling of discontent and sadness that seems to cloud out the sun that shines over my life. If I continue to give this feeling too much bandwidth then I will end up being moody. I avoid moody people so I have to ensure I don’t start avoiding myself.

It seems much harder to recognize and appreciate our blessings than it does for our challenges or misfortunes. I have been meeting with myself to take stock of what I have going for me. What we focus on expands. The grey feelings that are hard to describe often take me shiko (that is old-school slang for misleading). And when they persist the sun in my life starts appearing cold. Often things are not as gloomy as they appear. But we have to look keenly to see the rainbow.

Our government is telling us that we are not yet out of the woods as far as corona is concerned. That may be the case but I think we are near the road that will lead us out of the woods. Without a doubt, the human spirit has taken a severe beating over the last twenty months. But stories of others who have endured more hardship should encourage us to solider on. And that’s why I love stories. Reading them and telling them. Sunny Bindra in his Sunday article last week praised one of the greatest storytellers of our time, Abdulrazak Gurnah who won the Nobel prize for literature recently.

This man is from Zanzibar and he fled to England in the sixties as a young man leaving his parents behind to escape a bloody revolution. He arrived in England as a penniless refugee. I’m almost certain that none of us has been described that way. As a penniless refugee. Bottom of the food chain kabisa. But not for this Mzee. A few decades later we are celebrating his literary works. Maybe he started writing as an outlet to keep sane.  As an escape in his mind from the odds that were stacked against him. He qualifies to have written the Kiswahili version of Tupac Shakur’s hit – Me against the world. He he

Stories like this make me ashamed when I complain about what I’ve gone through. I know we all have demons we need to slay in our lives at one point or another. I also know that it’s not a competition on whose demons are bigger or stronger. We are all trying to make the best of our life’s journey. But at the risk of sounding like a pessimist, the worst-case scenario is worth considering sometimes. It’s like building muscles and keeping them toned in the event we will need to do some heavy lifting as we go along.

The Good book in Habakkuk 3: 17 – 18 paints that worst-case scenario vividly and shows us how to have and use shocks absorbers when the terrain of life gets worse than the rhino charge routes.  It says that “ Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the lord, I will be joyful in God my saviour”.

To live with such an outlook takes a solid faith and deep appreciation of what we have, not just what we long for. Folks, always remember that whatever you are going through, it could be worse. Even when we feel life has brought us to ground zero, there are others in the basements below. Hopefully, with a turn of outlook, our fortunes will begin turning too for the better. Remember again, what we focus on expands.

Sunny says, “  A good life requires grit and gumption, to deal with misfortune, reversal and loss. Our beginnings need not be our endings; the intervening chapters are written by us, not by some all-powerful, external storyteller’’. I believe there is a lot that has been going our way but we’ve been blinded by gazing at what isn’t. Some folks have achieved a lot yet have much less to start with than we did.

Maybe if we stared less at others and focused more inwardly at our selves we will find reserves of skills, opportunities and favours lying unutilized and gathering dust. We hear life is not fair but I think it’s also fair in a sense. Sir God gave each of us a set of talents and skills then placed us in an environment that would need those gifts.  Our work is to bring the two (our talents and the environment) to life by combining them in a way that only we can and one that the world needs. I think I’m describing ikigai (google is your friend) here.

I believe we all have some form of a headstart in life, some more than us. When we focus on what is going for us it acts as a springboard to the life we desire. But more importantly, how we finish is more important than how we start. And how we finish is largely within our control.


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3 thoughts on “Carry Your Weight.”

  1. Kirigo says:

    Always talking to my inner ‘me’.
    Thanks Lucas.

  2. David Kimani says:

    Looking inwards without doubt changes our perspective and indeed in due course the trajectory of our lives-but it’s as it were, the road less taken or travelled. Thank you Lucas for the insight.

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