The fire has finally sparked within me. I can feel my spirit urging me to move my digits as quickly as I can, stringing together letters to form words, words to form sentences, and sentences to bring you into communion with the burning embers of my heart. It is difficult to describe what I’m feeling at the moment, for I have just been through a scarring experience (as is often the case), which while predictable, has left me in disarray.
Tiny mosquitoes zoom past me, annoying me with that unique, irritating sound their wings make. I understand and empathize with their impulse to hunt for my blood. However, that doesn’t stop me from hitting back, flattening them in between my palms. What I think to be a rueful smile crosses my face, and I return back to the swirling pool of thoughts and emotions that have almost overwhelmed me.
It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this quote stays with me as I dispatch another blood sucker to the after life. Unbidden, I recall my experience sitting on a warm stony bench/wall on Aga Khan Walk, just outside Stima House. It was a few minutes to 2 O’clock, and I was waiting for the guard at Kenya Power to let us in. I placed myself in his shoes and decided that I wouldn’t relish the opportunity to act gatekeeper to an angry, frustrated and probably hungry group of customers who have no choice but to stick with the only company licensed to distribute power to households and businesses in the country.
A man wearing an old but clean and freshly ironed white suit walked confidently towards us, stopping ever so briefly to clasp the Bible in his right hand tighter. He closed his eyes and slowly gazed upwards in one fluid motion that showed careful practice and dedication to his craft. I was about to witness a sterling performance, for free! He suddenly broke into a loud prayer, his voice deep and resonant, carrying over the whispers and murmurs of ordinary citizens working to fulfill their self interest. Deals were being struck, relationships forged, broken or avoided at that very moment. Yet his voice, powerful and masculine, took precedence and demanded our obeisance. I entered Stima House before he presumably started preaching, but the image of that man, chocolate in complexion and adorned in a white suit, has stayed with me.
I think of him often, when dealing with thoughts on God, science and religion. Turning 23 has changed me more than I thought possible. I used to think that I knew what I needed to know. That I had figured out the formula of life and only had to follow my laid out plans in the pursuit of happiness, and I would emerge victorious. Now, thanks to my voracious reading habits and an insatiable curiosity, I have been exposed to very many different schools of thought. I have been left undone, unsure of where I stand, straddling two different worlds and not fitting in either.
I have grown up with a strong belief in God, in my Christianity, in Jesus Christ. Then science comes along and I reflect on things such as String Theory and evolution. I learn that our universe is marching to its death, a death spiral that will obliterate everything that we know and hold dear. It’s partly comforting to know that the event is billions of years away, though we could be hit by a comet/asteroid at any time. I mull over debates featuring Christopher Hitchens (RIP) and I can’t help but admit that he does have some serious points. However, it is quickly apparent that science also doesn’t have all the answers. We are all fumbling in the dark, either by faith or by science. And that means we could all be wrong. We could be in a computer simulation, or there could be no one out there. Just you and I, us against the universe.
This realization has unsettled me, and I find myself striving to understand both sides of an argument as well as the proponents for each side before rushing to support one side. As a result, my faith has suffered. I have no sacred cows now and I’m willing to ask hard questions that would make my religious mother blush.
I admire the dark man in a white suit because he seemed utterly at peace with himself and with what he was doing.He had chosen and cast his lot with one side. My refusal to be either hot or cold has cost me in the love department. That, among other deep rooted issues that have made me question whether I’m a good person or not (we all think we’re angels) could very well have cost me the attention and affections of a girl I’ve attempted to woo for years.
I am well acquainted with rejection, to the point where it doesn’t hurt that much. There’s so much I could say about girls and my love life (or lack of one) but I’ll end up sounding like a broken record. In any case, I have pivoted (have no choice really) to laying the foundation to the visions and dreams that give me the energy and will to forge on. I have only seriously engaged a handful of these femme fatales, so I’ll only start worrying after hitting 100 rejections (hah!). The fact that I’m closer to 100 tries than 97 means I’ve barely started!
I am young and determined, and sooner or later I shall have my way. It is this unshakable belief that is not grounded in reason or previous experience that sometimes make me think that we share something with the chocolate man in a white suit: delusions of grandeur. Or maybe we’re onto something! You never know 🙂
Wasn’t it Ayn Rand who commented, “What is man? He’s just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur.”