Life. What makes it great and what makes it suck? Why do we do so much to keep it and equally much to lose it? We spend a fortune to remain alive through a cocktail of curative and preventive measures and spend a fortune to chase away that very health through our lifestyles.
Life. Reminds of my grandmas. Both of them lived to a ripe old age yet they never tasted a pizza. Not that pizza is the magical pill of life but it is a treat for most of us in the cities. That’s why even I, on the wrong of end of my thirties, know about terrific Tuesday when I can buy one pizza and get one free. I am not aware of any awesome Thursday when I can buy a yummy ripe mango and get another one free.
Life. My grandma, the one on my mama’s side, was a gentle soul who rode the gentle ripples of life with humility. I think my gentle nature comes from her and papa. She had a fiercely calm look that seemed to ooze clouds of comfort. Was this a God-given gift or did she nurture it in the course of her long life? I once asked mama this question and her answer was telling, ‘she believed in the Fatherhood of God and that affected every step she took in life.’
Hmmm... The Fatherhood of God.
The more I pondered over those words, the more I realized that most people believe in the Supremacy of God but not really in His Fatherhood. They essentially believe in the waves of religion as opposed to the ripples of spirituality. Applying the intimacy of Fatherhood to ones relationship with God takes both courage and authenticity.
The Fatherhood of God doesn’t ride on the waves of religious ritual that often leave us swimming in pretence and feel-good religiosity. Pardon me if this last sentence has made you raise your eyebrow, wondering what I mean.
What am simply saying is that in believing in the Fatherhood of God, my grandma allowed herself to be a trusting child of God who had utter certainty that whatever life threw at her, her heavenly Father was in control. A few years ago, I met another old woman who was also riding on those gentle, refreshing, rejuvenating, re-energizing ripples that come from a strong sense of God’s Fatherhood.
I had spent a week in the chilly, refreshing hills of Sagalla, home to the WaSagalla people whose Kisagalla language shares similarities to the Taita language. For seven glorious days, I had wandered the chilly hills and visited my many friends; mostly attracted by the ever present beautiful ladies and the hot delicious chicken they would often serve me.
‘Jooneee,’ the way they pronounced my name during those delicious meals made me realize that I in fact had a sweet name only that people in Nairobi didn’t pronounce it right.
One freezing Saturday morning, I woke up with the birds, downed hot tea that Florence the nurse had graciously prepared for me and walked downhill to catch a matatu at the gravel road that snaked its way downhill to Voi town. As I approached a stream, I saw an old lady washing sweet potatoes in the cold, clear water. She looked up at me with big brown eyes and flashed a warm, lingering smile. Her kinky all-white hair swayed ever so gently in the icy early morning breeze.
‘Waukamana,’ goodmorning, I greeted her.
‘Mana to..’ very fine, her voice, though weak had the same warmth of her smile.
She quickly scooped five huge sweet potatoes from the water, wrapped them in her old weary scarf and handed them to me.
Had a total stranger just offered me five massive sweet potatoes?! I could hardly believe it as I took them, thanking her profusely.
‘Usinishukuru mimi,’ don’t thank me, she said in that friendly, cracking voice.
‘Mshukuru baba wetu wa mbinguni aloziumba hizi viazi tamu,’ thank our heavenly Father who created these sweet potatoes.
She said these words even as she washed two more potatoes in the tender ripples of the mountain spring. Her wrinkled fingers glistened in the water as sunrise rays bounced off them.
She looked up towards the orange sunrise and smiled, leaving me wondering whether she had just locked eyes with the creator of that sunrise, the Heavenly Father.