Friday, November 6, 2015

Life On The Fast Lane


Are you chasing the wind?

Ever thought of going for a hike? Climbing up on hills and hanging your feet off a cliff as you take in the cold breeze and think of your purpose in life for some time? Well I know I have. I often think of going for a road trip all the way to Merueshi – lovely place by the way – where all I care for is the incessant sounds of Maasai cattle. I want this – no, I actually need this – to escape the fast pace of Nairobi - to go away and confirm that I am still on my divine path.  And not Nairobi the city but more like Nairobi the culture. Let me explain to you what Nairobi the culture is – assuming you’re from a village – let’s use Rware as the village where you come from. Ok pause a bit. Rware sounds funny. How do stand before people and say “I am Kinuthia and I come from Rware without a grin?” An you know the fellas will be like Rware Rware? Anyway cheers to everyone from Rware. You guys are great. 


So back to the Nairobi culture, there is this thing with Nairobi that dictates how you live. I will call it culture for lack of an alternate word. It’s more like a code. A very easy way to see it is to look at the people here. Everyone is eager for action. At every corner are chaps who got the ‘hots’ for the game. We throw outrageous parties. We fancy bewildering moments. We are thirsty for things money and wealth. We like to live on the edge. We walk and ran fast – literary. We never seem to slow down for anything. It’s all ringing phones, loud conversations, shouting touts, beating traffic, office deadlines, chasing pay checks, bands playing, DJs making sure we don’t hear any song for more than 30 seconds and the list goes on and on. We are fast – really fast. And that is our culture – very different from the one in Rware.


And speaking of DJs and Photographers, have you noticed how everyone is doing these two nowadays? I am sure the number of Djs and Photographers per square kilometre in Kenya is kedo 250. We need government intervention on those two careers. I have a plan for this but let’s not diverge here. I want to talk about life on the fast lane. See all those things I have said about Nairobi are not bad, they are good. I like some of them. But where is the line? When do we stop chasing so wildly? When do we fall back and experience serene life?  Before I unload my titbits of wisdom let me tell you a story.


***

Meet Bob – let’s just call him Bob and don’t ask why. He is at the balcony of a noisy club in the CBD. Bob is not happy and he is tired. He’s not drinking but it feels like he is drunk. It’s on a Friday but he’s still got work to do in the office. So a little after 9.00pm Bob signs out on his gang – the office chaps at the bar - and returns to his office. The clock edges midnight and he is more than halfway done with the work. He stands and stretches. He wants to pee so he heads to the washrooms. Standing at the mirror washing hands, Bob looks at his reflection and he hates himself. He does not like what he’s turned into. His sulk red eyes stare back. He even feels ashamed. It wasn’t meant to be this way. His life has not been fulfilling. There are deadline always and that’s fine because he beats them – he’s smart. But something else is bothering him – he’s sick. He wants to tell someone but he can’t. Everyone idolizes him. They’ll see him as weak. Nobody with all the money and power wants to seem weak. It’s been eight month since the treatment started but there is no change. Bob wants just a gleam of hope that he can live. He really wants to live. And this is the problem. He is almost facing the afterlife and he has not lived.


See Bob has money and lots of it at that. Rumour has it that he has flats all over Nairobi. He has a family too. However his family barely sees him. He is always at the office. He works hard, or so he says. He also has a bad habit of drinking through the weekend and showing home on Sunday midnight. Bob’s wife hates him for this. She wants to leave for good. Bob knows this but there’s nothing he can do. It’s been year and they have gotten rich together but it was all about money and wealth. The hustled their ass off but it all seems meaningless now. In the bathroom Bob punches the mirror in anger.  He rushes back to his office and drowns half a whiskey. He’s rattled. These thoughts are killing him. He has everything but nothing at the same time. He’s scared. He hasn’t lived his dream life. It has all been accumulating wealth that he has not enjoyed.  He screams out and runs for the door. He wants to clear his head. He rushes across Moi Avenue and ends up at Tribeka. At 3.00 am he can barely stand. He tries to but a sharp pain shoots across his chest. He falls and fast forwarding the story he ends up on a bed at Coptic hospital, barely breathing. He drank too much and his body couldn’t take it. He has to be admitted for at least 3 weeks, maybe longer. The doctor knows his afterlife is beckoning.

****



His case made me take a step back to think. What is the essence of life? Why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going? It is sad that we have been cultured to adore and chase materialism. We only remember to live when we are almost dying. Look at it this way. We chase money at the expense of our physical and spiritual well being. We then use the money to recuperate our health. In the process we become engrossed in the fear of the future that we don’t even live the present. And we try to live as if we will never die truly knowing we will. And when we die, we do so having never truly lived. The worst thing is that the definition of success and prosperity in the modern world has been reduced to how expensive we can be, the car we drive, and the level of education, the much we earn, and the cost of our house etc. we have ended up in a cage of materialism and all it can bring along.


But have you ever asked yourself where God is in the middle of all this? Have you realised that unlike in the past the topic of our eternity and our purposes in life has stopped trending. We want to be preached to about prosperity and taking over the world. But what about our supernatural assignments? I know there are those that don’t believe the tiniest bit about God and this is a problem too. We are a society that seems oblivious of realities of life. On the other hand, say you’re saved and they immediately think you’re a boring loser and maybe an idiot. And the bigger problem is that we are saved but money and wealth and every other good thing first. We accumulate Bob style – as if we have all eternity to enjoy what we have.


It’s like we are screaming we know everything and we have everything. And who needs God when they have that? Who needs the old fashioned God of the Old Testament? I mean things are different now aren’t they? Funny enough God comes in only when we are in trouble. We pray hard when that doctor’s report comes along in a way we never expected. We cry to God when our loan has not come through? We observe a convenience relationship with God. I mean we don’t have to keep all the rules but we still want the blessings. We are busy to commit to Him. It is too hard to have a fast-lane lifestyle and still be on God’s side right? We want God to bless us as long as He does not question our lives on the fast-lane. It’s easier to buy a shoe at 15k than give a 3k offering. What for?


But here’s our undoing. Although we are gods we forget that we are here for a time and a reason. We will not last forever, we have expiry dates. Wait until it hits you that you’re not here forever, when you’re on your death bed. Then is the time that we realize that what bothers us now maybe isn’t that good. Maybe it is not worth it. Maybe we are chasing all the wrong things. Maybe our culture is just an evil plan to usher us in to desires that literary kill us before we die. Methinks one does not need to be buried to be dead. It all gets lost at the loss of purpose; at the dismissal of our creator. So how about next time you make sure you go for that hike and hang your feet on the edge of the cliff and think hard about your purpose in life. How about you pause from the race and rethink your direction. And by the way can we go for the road trip to Merueshi? Yes?


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