Father’s Day is a sort of celebration meant to honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in the society. This will be the first Father’s Day I will be celebrating by speaking to 100 men in Kilifi County. I still remember how I first responded to the confirmation email. To tell you the truth, I didn’t think it was going to fall through. This is not to say that I am pessimistic about my chances of receiving good news.
Having been used to receiving rejection letters, emails and seeing numerous doors close in my face, I finally resigned to fate. I would begin and end every new day with the same feeling of defeat. With time, I continued seeing fresh regrets merge with older ones. Now, resigning to fate and knowing nothing you do will ever matter, isn’t a good position for a man to be.
I also don’t think that even men – who seem to be navigating through life like a plank of wood being tossed in the ocean of joblessness, self pity and dead-beatness – wake up in the morning wanting to end up miserable. Yet, day in and day out, rejection has a way of killing a man’s morale and weighing him down.
That exactly how I used to live my life.
There is no single day I spent without sending an application for an online writing job. In between, I would also send hundreds of requests asking for donations of all kinds for boys in juvenile prison. It reached a point where some people started avoiding me, and my constant phone calls because they knew I was going to ask for something.
As a capable man, being in what Sister Bertina calls ‘begging career‘ I find asking for things like groundnuts, underwear, tissue paper and toothpaste to such a straight forward thing, I don’t think it needs to be sugar coated in any way. I keep thinking, what is there besides just asking for something?
With time, I learned – the very hard way – that there is much more to asking than just asking. And the more I kept asking, the more rejections I received. And of course, I started believing my asking wasn’t meant to amount to anything tangible and meaningful. I expected to fail.
The year I started getting everything I want
My failure to get things was so chronic and so devastating I thought I needed to take a break for whole of last year. I took a break to think about what I wanted to do with my skills, passion and mission as a man. It was then that God begun talking to me and sharing His divine plan for my life and work with boys during my morning runs. That is how running for my life begun.
I remember last year’s solo run during the Lukenya Trails Run. Because I had arrived and started running 54 minutes behind, all the official photographers had left. This being so, there was no one to take photos of my solo run. At some point, I wanted to give up. Then I recalled a conversation John Wollwerth and I had had concerning photos.
“I am never allowed to take photos at the juvenile prison,” I lamented, on Facebook,
“Why do you need photos,” John asked.
“So I can show people what I am doing,” I replied.
“Have you ever thought about having a host of angels taking and posting photos on your behalf?” he asked.
“What do you mean?”
“The Holy Spirit of God is taking note of what you are doing and your intentions,” he explained. “You don’t need photos to convince God to bring you the right people, resources and funding, do you?” he asked.
“Okay,” I said. “I get it.”
Thinking about that conversation enabled me to find the strength I needed to finish the run. It is not easy to run 20 KM alone in a marathon where all the runners are an hour ahead. However, not only was I able to finish the run, I also decided to resume my work with boys in prison this year.
God has been faithful since the beginning of this year. Save for my failure to get more than 3 underwear for boys in prison, I have not lacked bus fare and transport to juvenile prison. I have also been invited to workshops and training that are adding value to my work and capacity. The most surprising thing is that these are not opportunities that I applied for.
As I continue preparing my presentation for my trip to Kilifi I look back with a grateful heart. God is carrying me under His wings to a place where things work. I am learning to start expecting to get more opportunities to earn from my writing and more resources for my work with boys. This gives me joy as I continue counting down to this year’s Father’s Day.