I love Sundays. Sundays are the days I just chill out and enjoy the freedom. On good Sundays (most of them are good), I am lady Shiku. I don dresses. And heels. Just to remind myself how it feels like to be a real girl. And it feels good. This Sunday, I wake up later than usual. Mum does not wake me up with a phone call as usual. No, I have not moved out. Yes, she calls me every Sunday morning from the other side of the wall. When phone calls act as alarm clocks.
I am so sleepy. Why, sun? Why couldn’t you just rise a little later today? Or rather, why wouldn’t you stop rotating for a few hours today, earth? I am sleepy every morning. Who isn’t? It takes me a whole hour to boot. The previous night I slept late watching Field of Dreams only because Bitange mentioned it in his article last week. Strange movie. Anyway, I have to work this morning. A Sunday morning. Someone is going to pay dearly for that.
I drag my heavy self out of bed. You have no idea how heavy a body that is oscillates between 46-52 kg can get on a Sunday morning. I walk out to do what you do after you wake up then get back to my room. I squint for my laptop. It’s right next to my pillow. I sleep with it on my side. I will sleep with it on my side, or any newer Shiku-PC (Amen) till the year 2017. Mobile data on Shindroid, check. HSPA+, check. Wi-Fi hotspot, check. I check my work mail and there are two emails dutifully waiting for me. I do what I have to do in many minutes. I have to go to church come what may.
Before I know it, it’s 10 o’clock. I am still going to church. I will go to PCEA Joseph Ngwaci Memorial Church, the church across the road, for its Kikuyu service. Remember I escape to it every Sunday I am not on Sunday school duty in my own church. I do everything in such a rush, I am already sweating before that deodorant settles in my armpits. I hit the trail knowing I am already late and will find the praise and worship session over. Onward, Christian soldier. I cannot walk fast because of the high heels which are higher than I am used to anyway. I cannot remove my flimsy sweater because I am not comfortable walking around in sleeveless dressing. The sun is scorching. By the time I get into the church, I am sweating, late and there is no seat at the back. Yes, I am a backbencher in church. Either that or a side bencher. I cannot afford to have the preacher peering into my eyes when he talks.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I can only find a seat at the front, right next to very churchy, well-fed mamas. Oh well, be calm, Shiku. No one will call you to the front or anything. And you know what, that is the best decision I make this morning. The service is lovely. The congregants are a joy. The choir is awesome, belting out English and Kikuyu songs with the glee that probably makes God beam. We stand, we sit, we listen to this little girl sing a Kikuyu song in gibberish. So hilarious yet so sweet. We give offerings and we sing a hymn.
Unyite na guoko, njikarage nawe,
Ndikuuiire muti wakwa wa kwambirwo;
Njikarage nawe mathinaini mothe,
Nigetha undeithie kuhotana.
Mwathani ninjui ndukandiga,
Na ningwenda kuona riri wa Iguru;
Uhithe o haria thu itanginyona:
Ungiona na uru uhithe.
Ndarikia gukinya mucii wa Iguru,
Caitani ndagacoka guuthinia ringi;
Baba niakahimbiria na moko meri,
Na ahurukie wendoini wake.
They sing it with so much soul, I officially like the song. The joy of the Lord comes in many ways people. This one of those moments. (If you want a translation, nione kando.) I have been on a streak of Kikuyu gospel songs 24/7 by the way, thanks to Deejay Dolls. Story for another day. The preacher takes to the pulpit. And that’s when I know I love this service and might be hooked to it from this Sunday onwards. The reading is from John 10 27-30.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
John, the preacher, proceeds to talk about how God takes care of us, regardless of whether people around us want it or not. Regardless of where you are at in life. Regardless of whether people think you are worthy to lead or not.
“Gikuyu kiaugire haria iikagio ti ho ikaga atia?” he urges on.
“Ti ho iguaga,” we all complete the Kikuyu saying, myself included. I am so happy I can complete the saying so effortlessly! Thank you Betty Bayo for singing songs laden with Kikuyu proverbs. 🙂 (Direct translation: The Kikuyu said that where it is thrown is not where it falls.)
John is very zealous. He looks at people in the eye. He looks at me in the eye at one point and I look away. Now I remember why I do not like this front seat. Anyway, he goes on to deliver the powerful message. Do not, even for a moment, accept problems and hardship to a point where you own them. He cites an example of how people own something like a cough.
“My cough this, my cough that,” We have become people who embrace misfortunes. Now that reminds me of how I have owned my acne. How I call it “my acne”. He says it is wrong to have that mind-set where you own problems and sicknesses. I have had acne for the longest time but somehow, I see his point. I cannot afford to own acne if I expect it to go one of these days. You Mr Acne (definitely a ‘he’), you will leave me one day. I no longer claim you as mine.
He talks about Daniel. Awesome, I am reading the book of Daniel, I think to myself. This sermon is so in sync with my life yaani? Daniel was distinguished from the very word go in the king’s presence. Nebuchadnezzar loved the guy because he was instrumental. Darius too. You know the story. Someone finds favour, the underdogs bay for his blood. But you know they did not succeed. Fly, little birdie, fly! No one can stop you. When Jesus say yes, nobody can say no! 😀
John is an awesome preacher. I like him already. I like that he does not, even for one minute, ask me to turn to my neighbour and tell her something. I do not like telling strangers stuff because the preacher asked me to. Awkward! I like that he joins the dots so beautifully. From John to Daniel to Psalms. Even when I walk out, I feel at a peace. This is a good Sunday. There is a reason I had to go to church today. There is a reason I was late. There is a reason I had to write this tonight. Peace.