“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people
will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
It is 1 am, and I have just awakened from sleep. I was working on an article on my laptop as I followed some live entertainment show on TV before I dozed off. I am not sure why a sort of playback into my life has come so vividly to my mind, and I have paused to relive and recall the sweet days gone by with nostalgia and a heart full of gratitude. I remember some significant hurdles that I have made through and one question has come so strongly to my mind. “What or who would I be today if I didn’t have the people in my life?’’
Have you ever paused and remembered some people whose kindness you can never repay? Ever wondered why some people were/are so generous and loving to you? Have you ever asked yourself what you did to deserve some people’s kind deeds and sacrifice? These questions have overwhelmed me. I have almost shed a tear when I have thought about those people whose kindness have shaped my life. I have pondered about three such people in my life, although there are several.
Suddenly, these words have come to my mind –‘We are because they were.’ I am who I am thanks to some people who gave me their all, believed in me and never gave up on me. They loved me so dearly and did all they could to see me succeed. I may not have made it yet in life in a big way, and at times I feel like I failed them, but I’m not where I was a few years ago. I’m improving every day.
My elder sister
Maybe we always think that our siblings especially those older than us owe us kindness, sacrifice, and boundless love. That could not be farther from the truth. My elder sister was aged 13, and I was 11 when our mum passed on. She naturally assumed motherly duties on my two siblings and me and to some extent even on our loving dad.
One event that is ever in my memory is when I was joining university for my undergraduate. I was dependent on the government loan (HELB loan, as we call it here in Kenya). I had insufficient money to pay for the tuition and accommodation fees, and she withdrew her loan that was meant to cater for her upkeep and gave it to me to foot all the expenses. On the admission day, she accompanied me and my dad and step-mum to the university, took me through the registration process and went on to see the room they allocated me. She almost spread the bed for me.
Nimu, as we fondly called her while growing up together (now she is a mother of four beautiful girls, I may not call her so) is more than a sister. I consider her my mum too. She mothered my siblings and me. She has such a big heart that she would give you her clothes and walk bare. I would narrate her kindness, love, and generosity for hours on end. Who would I be if she were not there?
My wife ,Phylis
Photograph by Andreas Rønningen on Unsplash
I knew my wife from our village having met at church as their home was several ridges from ours. Phylis and I became close friends shortly after I joined campus and as they say the rest is history. I remember her as the girl who made me believe in myself. That comes out best in that she made me resume doing my Certified Public Accounts papers after flopping badly on my first attempt and I almost gave up. Phylis believed in me. I suppose as Michelle believed in Obama.
One of the most moving things I remember of our earlier days is how I would pass by her home, and she would pack for me some githeri (a cooked mixture of maize and beans, which is the staple food of Kenyan Kikuyu people). Maybe my girl had to take some of her family’s supper and share it with this poor chap whose only thing was sweet words and promise of a great future together.
My wife bailed me endless time in my college days, and she still does, but most important of all she believed in me so much, I guess, more than I believed in myself. I know she still has tons of confidence in me. I doubt if I would be who I am without Phylis.
My Friend, Bernard
I met Bernard when I joined secondary school. He and I were members of the Catholic students group-Young Christian Students. Benard is one of the guys who a week can rarely pass without having called each other. I owe my writing skills to him. He held my hand and taught me the ropes of freelance writing. He offered me the first writing gig. Also, he referred me to one of his clients from whom I have made a tidy sum of money.
Due to my tight schedule while working in a retail chain, Benard would be available even late in the night for consultation via Skype and phone. He once drove for over 50 miles on a Sunday evening to come to the place I was working so he could teach me some writing stuff.
As I look forward to owning a car, I hope soon; Bernard has been my driving refresher guy. He allows me to learn with his automobile and him as my instructor. This awesome buddy offers me a shoulder to lean on when I am weak. He is more than a brother to me.
* * *
I am who I am because of the people I have highlighted here and many others. I owe them a massive debt of gratitude. I hope in my small ways there are also people who would say they are because I was/am. When our lives end, people will only remember us for our kind deeds, and how we touched their lives. Do you think there are people (even one person) who can say they are because you were?
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a
difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the
giver.” Barbara De Angelis