Letter to Life, the Sixth Conversation: Lessons

IMG_20130807_060245 (1) Now, I am on this bed, a culmination of that fatigue. It’s when I just realize, that as you succeed, anytime you forget those who believed in you, you lose a part that makes you, and the closer you reach to failing, and the faster you loosen the grip that once made you, and the faster your success looses meaning.

I have been in the seclusion of a bed for the eighth day running now. In my past 14 years of living, this has become a tradition, Pangs of pain that rob me of any comfort. Just that this year, as I gaze at the hollowness of this room, and feel the stench of its medicine, I feel the nearing of end, the end of pain. I must admit I am scared of whatever face will start. Good health? This pain, that I was unable to get accustomed to, has been my greatest motivation. Some sort of a reminder, that I am moving, and that with each step taken, I should evaluate myself. That however, is not what I will discuss. For anyone who has been around my life, these times draw tears, but imagine, imagine I forgot that pain for the two days. An inexplicable numbness descended on me as I reviewed the year, the year 2013.

It has been the year, which I have perhaps received great applauses, respect and admiration, but it is also the year, which has left me with the deepest sense of emptiness.

What a paradox life can be sometimes. At almost the same time last year, I wrote my fifth letter to life. Then, I had attempted so much, with the world totally failing to respect my efforts. I wondered then, what the world owed me. I felt that the sincerity of my ambitions and dreams necessarily meant that I should have been listened to.
Deep down my heart, I held a sharp rebuke at how naïve the world could get. I could not understand why in the world, truth, value, honesty and a genuine pursuit of collective greatness could not be appreciated. I attempted to reread that letter; of course as I am here, I cannot access it, I can only imagine it.

But if I am to recall, in that letter, I ranted at life. I rebuked how the world wanted to force me into the streams of existence, how, my desire to disobey tradition could be seen as deviance. Well, I still uphold the bulk of my beliefs then, but I realize with the advantage of experience, two lessons that perhaps will redefine what I am to become in life: The most important person, is the one who believes in you and you can never do everything.
There have been two questions that bothered my conscience this year. The first was what is disobedience? You see when one fails to obey; it could be bad, or good. Bad, if what you were to obey is good, and good, if what you were to obey is bad. Sadly, life’s challenges are not as clear cut as that. In fact, what is good it-self is a controversy. We can never say with certainty what good. In fact, everything could be good at some point, and bad at some point.

Funny, how this confusion always creeps in my thoughts. I remember, as that day I sat before my lecturer of Jurisprudence. She looked at me, with a deep gaze and told me, Felix, this is a good decision, but this is not the best time. You should be focusing on something else now. The second lesson started here.

I need to give you a little bit of a background. When I was in standard eight, my sister Connie came home in December. She had just finished her first year in college. I recall, she had quite a number of tales, and a sense of admirable progression. I mean, she had a Sony Erickson phone. Rectangular and curved in shape, cream in color and phony in feel. It was the first cell phone I operated. I had held a couple before, but largely those ones belonged to my primary school teachers who send me to the market centre to have them charged. Of course, I would try to operate them. But in the village, a phone has to be dead, so that it can get charged. You cannot pay Ksh. 30 if there is a little charge in it. Yes, I had actually forgotten that sense of value for money that runs deep in my village. Funny.

Now, among the escapades that Connie told me, is that she had met the Chairperson of the Student Union in Kenyatta University. That she made sure she talked to him that his name was Charles Wafula, by the way, my dad’s name was Charles Wafula. Then, for a standard eight, Charles Wafula was the all mighty University Chair, respected by all. And I told her, told Connie, that I will be the chairperson of my University Association.

Of course, my sister belong to the honest type, who tell you stuff like, you can, but it’s very hard.
Now, when I joined college, in 2010, I sat in the masses as the then President, Antony Maina spoke, the guy was very intelligent. The next day, I bumped into him, and just like my sister, had to make sure I talk to him. My reasons were different, I was not creating tales for my younger brother, I was gauging my resolves. I told Antony, I would one day be like you. He wished me well, and said you can, and a bunch of other wise words.

In my first year in college, I contested for Congress in my school, and lost. I had set in my mind, some trajectory, First year Congress, Second year President and final year, of course not a vice chancellor, but to run my own organization.

When second year came forth, I gave the presidency a stab. My internship Manager Diana would say, believing in the strength of my naivety. Sometimes I muse, where the motivation came from. I have always wondered where that motivation comes from.

Some people see many things in dreams. Many think those who vie for such offices, perhaps come from rich backgrounds, or are endowed by extensive unique qualities. Well, I can only speak for myself. I am neither. I am a man of many flaws, and from the humblest of backgrounds. Perhaps, only endowed, in the words of my Manager with the strength of my naivety.

So, I tried to establish why I vied. When I was in second year, I credit my vying to two people, a friend, Henry Paul, and a facebook friend, Anne, from Nakuru. Funny, I actually now realize that I never vied because I thought I could make it, I vied because Anne and Henry believed I could be their President.

And with each passing noise, and shouts of discouragement, any time I felt I would be giving up or giving in. In politics the two are different, I always remembered their voices, they always believed I could be their president.
So, somehow, in the extensive commitment to this pursuit, while I was a vessel to try and realize the dream, the creators of the dream were remotely aware of it. Now, I also wish I knew this then. I think, as I sat down in long meetings, strategizing and counter-strategizing the only failure, which I now believe made me loose the election then, was forgetting who actually bore the dream I was trying to realize.

And the resentment and disappointment I felt after that loss, was again because I never knew whose dream I was trying to realize.

You see, dear friend, my sixth letter has a lot of naïve conclusions. That when a man dreams and aspires, and that when his dream is as honest and true, then the world should somehow respect it. What I forgot, is that whenever a man becomes as constricted to believe that he can dream, then he has lost it. I now realize, I hope it’s not too late, that true dreams are born in us because another eye revealed it to us.

Now, I just reached a conclusion that seems to contradict what I seem to have believed. Sometimes, it happens that all eyes that glare at us only see failure. Does that mean that we are failures? Of course no, the eyes I speak of are not of approval and consent. The eyes I speak of are those that look at us, with a hope that needs to be brought out. Sometimes, those eyes may not even be looking at us, perhaps, our physique is too frail to warrant their seeing us, but whenever a dream is born out of our hearts. Whenever we conceive a dream not for our sake, but through the eyes of another, we have realized the purity of intend.

When we do that, we do not need to scream that the world should listen, or should have listened. The world listens. It listens to anything that is pure and true, and purity starts, when we take us, from the dream.
So, why did it take this long for me to realize this? I thank God I did.

The reason is what numbed my pain. In the making of this presidency, I just never realized how important the email I got from my friend Nicholus Kamau or the Ksh. 200 my friend Maina wa Ngoingo used to buy me lunch was important. I never just realized how much the waking up of Richie to get my posters done, or the taking of an hour by my manager Isaac to listen to me meant.

And so, when I realized the presidency, I was drained emotionally, physically and materially. And in a way, I forgot where my strength came from. I started taking a day without calling a friend, or failing to tell them why I was unable to meet an obligation. And the more I did it, the more drained I became.

Now, I am on this bed, a culmination of that fatigue. It’s when I just realize, that as you succeed, anytime you forget those who believed in you, you lose a part that makes you, and the closer you reach to failing, and the faster you loosen the grip that once made you, and the faster your success looses meaning.

Now, I feel really tired, but I must speak of my second lesson. You can never do everything. You see, I swore to uphold secrecy in my duties as President. But I do not believe that that secrecy extends to my failing to share a lesson.

The deepest lesson I have realized is that as a human being, you can do much, but not everything. And so life calls for priorities.

I have found myself in the midst of something, just for something else to come up and you feel like you should jump out of the chair and see it done. I have done that, just to realize that what you left was never done.

So, in as disappointing as it gets, we have sometimes to let go what is truly important, for what is important now. That’s the pain of priority.
I feel I can no longer continue writing, I will continue my letter in the New Year, my strength fails me. I will miss watching the stars tonight, but I will start the New Year, with my two lessons.

Happy 2013 dear friends