I have a father who never ever fails me. He is always a phone call away. He toils so hard I can never even dream of ever having half the zeal he has to dig up acres of land and cater for an entire extended family. My father is so lovable, his students never forget him. I know that even from Twitter. I mention him and I will often find an old boy who will speak fondly of him. My father is that guy who lives to make us laugh. He will get mad sometimes which is normal. He gave us some good beating when we were young. He had a special cane for those sessions. I can count the occasions on one hand though.
My father drove us to school, my brother and I, when he could. In a rackety old KUL 509, he would ferry us to school. Sometimes it got stuck in those bad Kidfarmaco roads. If you think they are bad now, think back to 15 years ago when the area was practically uninhabited. Sometimes it ran out of fuel on that hill around Gardens, when the joint did not even exist. One particular day, the bonnet flew open as we drove down that hill. And dad kept his cool. Another day, a deranged matatu tout rammed into KUL as we went by that Wangige road after doing some shopping. My mum and I were shocked out of our wit. But not my dad. He was infuriated. Mad. He would have probably beaten that guy to a pulp had he not ran away.
KUL was very old. It was one of those Toyota Corolla station wagons that only had two doors so that the only way we could get into the back was by pushing mum’s seat in front. It was so old, we knew when it made the corner near our house. It made a jangling sound that alerted us that mum and dad were home and we would immediately stop whatever mischief we were up to before they made it into the compound. It was panel beat quite a number of times too. It was originally white but by the time it was sold, it was beige. I learnt of the colour’s existence when it got that paint job.
I cannot really talk about my dad without talking about my mum. If you have been here before, you know I talk about them all the time. My mother and father made sure we never ran out of books to read. All the Archie comics dad confiscated from students ended up on our shelf. Hehe. We would raid his office and take them all. Together they bought us story books. Dad even gave us work to do aside from what we got from school.
There is one thing mum and dad did not forget to instil in us, the fear of the Lord. Our other Father, our heavenly Father. Somehow the idea of God as a Father did not come to me until much later when I was older and wiser. But having been raised by these loving parents, I could easily see how that worked. I grew up with the perception that we were rich. In retrospect, I know we were not. My parents provided us with everything despite their meagre teacher’s salary. You know that verse where Jesus asks them folks if they could give their children snakes when they asked for fish? That one.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13
My father gets mad if I talk back to him which I tend to do a lot. But we make up like five minutes later. Sigh. Same with my mother though for some reason, we tend to have these episodes more often. I guess it’s a mother-daughter thing. Sometimes, I get so mad, I think of moving out. But who am I kidding? I would last a day out there. And if I could, I would so miss my folks. Everything in its time. My mum taught us a little prayer when we were kids, my bro and I. It went like this:
“Ngai teithia, ngome wega, na ndikarote. Araika aku manangire. Amen.” (God help me sleep well and not have nightmares. May your angels watch over me. Amen.)
I never forgot the prayer, but sometimes I forget to pray before I sleep. My dad and mum have ensured that we always have family prayer time just before supper. Every single day. Each night, someone leads in prayer. Even my baby sister who is catching on pretty well nowadays. Sometimes, she prays for all her 31 classmates. 🙂 The session involves the leader giving the ‘sermon’ for the day complete with a Bible verse and then praying. We fight a lot over who has not led the session recently and in the end, mum and dad end up doing it a lot of the times. That is how we have grown up.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (Living testimony here.)
When I pray to God, I have an exact idea of what it means to be both a friend and a child of God. Because my dad is quite the earthly example. I cannot even imagine what it would be like not to have him around. My fifteen year old brother couldn’t either, the day thieves calmly walked into our house in broad daylight and threatened to kill him. The 22nd of April 2014, to be exact. My brother, ever the outspoken one, told the gun-wielding guys not to kill his father. The thugs did not kill him because my heavenly Father could not let that happen. I am not so sure I would have spoken if I was in that particular situation. My mother, in her usual fashion, prayed the whole time and asked the kids to do so too.
Even in that moment, the three were intertwined. And that’s why I cannot speak of one without speaking of the other. My life has been quite the smooth ride thanks to the three. My mum, dad and God, each playing their roles of spurring each other on. And I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to be faithless and fatherless. I have read quite a number of stories about how it is like to be without a father or mother or both. I would not wish it on anyone. I would however urge anyone in that situation to look hold on to the love of God. He may be unseen but his works are manifest. They are manifest through you and me. He is the father to the fatherless. Hold on, be strong.
If you have a father, a mother, appreciate them always. Be a good one if you are already blessed to bring a child to this world. Meanwhile, I am holding on to my folks. And hoping that I will find a husband who helps me be the mother my mother has taught me to be, with God as our Father.
I was going to write about Father’s Day. I guess I just did.