Growing up, you were the perfect kid, with a perfect life!

From an early age, you had all you needed to make it in life. You were the one everyone approached when they had problems with Math. Your essays were read out loud in class, as your classmates were compared to you. You lost count of the number of times a teacher had to sit at your desk as you solved sums on the board. At grade four, you would be invited to explain a concept to grade five or six… after which they would all be flogged as you watched. Everyone wanted to be like you.

You intimidated teachers when they didn’t prepare adequately for their lessons. For spelling mistakes or mere slips of the tongue, your hands would shoot up in a, ‘But Sir, I think this is what it should be…’ fashion. Then the entire block would burst out into laughter. After agreeing you were a force to reckon with, teachers convened a staff meeting to see which class would match your prowess, as you were now causing mayhem – genius mayhem – the entire school over.

At home, you were not about to lower the standards. You ran errands in no time, discharged your duties cheerfully and to perfection. In the village, similes were coined after you, your mates being urged to be like you. Your siblings, like those of the Biblical Joseph, felt envious of the accolades you received from your parents. They felt out of place, like foster children, albeit in their own family. Simply put, you were like that religious system in the book of Revelation after which the whole world will wonder, asking, ‘who is like unto (your name), who is able to contend with (your name)?’ Yours, however, was for a good cause, unlike that shambolic religious system. (And while at it, you need to familiarize yourself with that passage today.)

As was expected, you landed on campus with good grades, pursuing one of the top-notch courses. But there has been a problem since! Slowly, the narrative is changing, and life is taking a toll on you. Things are no longer working your way. Life, you now realize, is more than good grades on paper. Your thoughts are drawn back to what the late Ken Walibora would term as ‘elimu ya maisha isiyopatikana vitabuni.’  You lost yourself in the false belief that everything would always work your way. That you would just sit and watch fortune follow you.

You were not taught to make friends, or you just never needed them. They needed you. You were not taught to relate to the opposite sex. Yours was an ever locked gate. Your life has hitherto been coiled around books, examinations, good grades and compliments. University happens and you’re dazzled by the prince charming you have hitherto met only in your fantasies. You decide to give it a try, and as they say, the rest is history. You were never taught to handle heartbreaks. It feels strange in your chest. You thought it belonged to other people. How would a heartbreak dare come close to you? Or rather, what did they say heartbreak is again? It needs to know who you are or whose son/daughter you are!

At the university too, you meet your match. Prodigies way brighter than you are. So you were only superb in your locality, like the one-eyed man who becomes king in the kingdom of the blind? You realize also, that you don’t have to be foolish to fail an exam on campus. A number of factors work around the grade you get at the end of the semester. You score a grade ‘C’ or ‘D’ or ‘E’ and think someone’s got to be kidding you. I mean, they owe you an explanation, don’t they? You want to knock on the lecturer’s door for a correction (like you’ve always done) but you realize your exam booklet was retained. You don’t or shouldn’t know what you scored and what you missed. Just as you’re about to complain, a copy of the university rules and regulations is handed over to you by a sadistic secretary, a document on which you had appended your signature as you checked in. She says you have to retake the unit, or the year or you are discontinued.

She proceeds to arrange the pieces of paper on her table, as though you don’t matter. She has seen many like you before, she says. Does she know who you are? And how could life move on so normally with so many misfortunes pursuing you? That’s not it, you were just never taught to handle failure and disappointment. You thought life owed you bliss. You felt entitled, and that’s the moment you lost it.

And now before you write me off, as one insensitive to your feelings, please give me audience. It is not too late to flip a fresh slate. Misfortunes and trials befall anyone, any day. And yes, this is you, it is happening to. It is okay to lose, perfectly alright to be disappointed. Only ensure you learn from your mistakes. You can always pick yourself up, and fight your way back. And one day, if you’re blessed with children, teach them the following (from the earliest age at they can grasp)

Intelligence Quotient (IQ): The measure of one’s comprehension ability to solve Math, memorize things and recall subject matters.

Emotional Quotient (EQ): The measure of one’s ability to maintain peace with others; keep time, be responsible, honest, humble, genuine, considerate and respectful of boundaries.

Social Quotient (SQ): The measure of one’s ability to build a network of friends and maintain it over a long period of time.

Adversity Quotient (AQ): The measure of one’s ability to go through a rough patch in life and come out without losing your mind. It determines who will give up in the face of troubles, who will abandon their family, or who will consider suicide.

And to us all, regardless of what you’re passing through, good or bad, it is not too late to catch a glimpse of our ultimate hope, as an inspired pen puts it here below.

Now the church is militant. Now we are confronted with a world in darkness, almost wholly given over to idolatry. But the day is coming when the battle will have been fought, the victory won. The will of God is to be done on earth as it is done in heaven. All will be a happy, united family, clothed with the garments of praise and thanksgiving –the robe of Christ’s righteousness. All nature, in its surpassing loveliness, will offer to God a tribute of praise and adoration. The world will be bathed in the light of heaven. The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold greater than it is now. The years will move on in gladness. Over the scene, the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while God and Christ will unite in proclaiming, “There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death.”  [1]

This is from me to you who are bravely broken out there.

You are well thought of and in the heart of Jesus, there is love for you. Love most pure and tender, love most deep and true!


[1] Child Guidance 568.1