For life to begin at 40, what needs to end at 39?

I turn 40 in a couple of weeks on Sunday 1st of May, 2011.

I concede I am struggling within myself at accepting it as real.

Hear me out first before you dismiss me as not being in touch with reality.

The main aspect of the intra-personality conflict is that I have ‘nothing’ to show for it on the material front. I am guilty of violating the 12345 by 40 rule: 1 wife, 2 children, 3 bedroom house, a 4 wheel drive and a 5 acre plot.

Now, popular talk that age is nothing but a number or that there will hardly be any difference on my birthday than on the day before is still not helping matters.

On the spiritual front, however, I am a content man. I do, if I may say so, have a gratifying sense of accomplishment.  I am grateful for the process and investment it has taken to be where I am in my journey. I can safely acknowledge that I have no one in my book to whom I have any claims of any sort. I hold no grudge and it is indeed a freeing place to be in.

Nonetheless, I have not arrived. Spiritual growth is an ongoing work in process.

So, that leaves me with me to contend with…a long standing struggle to forgive myself of a past riddled with alcoholism, incomplete projects, aborted start-ups, economic stagnation, deep loneliness and unhealthy relationships.

The conflict is that forgiving myself means I am letting myself off the hook. I am intellectually aware that nothing less than letting go of the past in its entirety is what I am being called to do. But in my heart, the sense of self-condemnation runs deep and the conversation is that I need to pay in full for my past sins and, that, preferably before I turn 40.

Now, how do I do that in only a couple of weeks and live?

Stoning myself has never been worse.

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Father Blessing: Still Got Work To Do

First posted on 29th October, 2010

Today, I am just jazzed.

I buried my dad yesterday. And the preparation since I last shared has been along the lines of honouring him. It was mostly trial and error yet a very interesting journey. I am truly grateful to the suggestions and prayers from friends which I considered as marching orders.

Today, I am just jazzed.

Yesterday, a door opened just as an old one closed. In burying him, I said goodbye to a past I have made very significant. In taking my son to the funeral I said hello to a future for and with my son.

Yaani, today, I am just jazzed

Because I feel like I was at a bash rather than a funeral. But more than that, it was an answered prayer. After Sunday’s lecture I asked, in prayer, for God to show me in my reality or at my level how exactly He loves me and believes in me. Yesterday he did just that.

And, today, I am just jazzed

Wounds of a Dad: Still Got Work to Do

First posted on 21st October,2010 after a lecture titled Wounds of a Dad at Mavuno Church, Nairobi.

Hi Pastor S

That lecture was quite something. I thought I had dealt with my father wound issues during the Man Enough Series in 2009. He wouldn’t meet me last year and I chose to let him go. But I guess this was at another level. A deeper one.

I met my father for the first time when I was 17, for all of ten minutes. I coerced my mother through violence to arrange the meeting. I have since met him 4 or 5 times over the last 22 years. The acknowledgment I sought was lacking in all of those meetings. Even naming my first son after him did not make a difference.

On Sunday I wept. I wept because, I was angry, I was sad, I was bitter.

I now have a ten and a half year old son whom I don’t live with. I made a decision about 6 years ago to be part of his life and him in mine. Little did I realise how ill-equipped and inadequate I was for the task of raising a man. I guess this is where my sadness, anger and bitterness arose on Sunday.

I am also taking the Parenting Class(LEA) that I almost quit a few weeks ago until I got it that I don’t want my son, at 40, sitting in a similar class dealing with the same issues I am dealing with. It is hard. Yet, I honestly do not want my son to go through what I have gone through; a life dogged by alcoholism, relationships with unavailable women and mistrust of men leading to a life of zero accountability. And this has also greatly impacted my faith and trust in God.

I was angry at the immense responsibility and work that I have got cut out for me. I was bitter at this legacy he has bequeathed me and sad at the experience I am going through of feeling neutered after yet another failed relationship. It was hard letting go. It is hard forgiving my father.

Then on Tuesday evening, I got a call from my mother that my dad had died that morning. Honestly, my first feeling was that he had won again. This time for ever.

It has been suggested that I should be the bigger man and do what a son does; that I honour my father. I have shared that I have no clue how to do this. And I still don’t. I don’t even know whether to let my son know. I am however, considering attending the funeral.

Right now, I am wavering between numbness and the now familiar feelings and thoughts of anger, confusion, sadness and bitterness.