It’s Sunday. Sunday we preach, or rather, we used to preach when we were in tiptop shape. It has taken me days to build up to this post. Sometimes I think I will come up with a strict schedule, like Kariuki does at Kisauti, you know, drop a post, say, every Sunday. He drops his every Wednesday without fail. Also, his e-book is out, that’s how driven he is. He is that serious. I could do that, you know, write regularly and everyone expects the post at a certain time of day, so that if I miss out, I am accountable. I really could do that. It builds a great culture of discipline and passion cultivation. But I don’t. Why?
Well, today, like I said, is Sunday. And Sunday I preach. For a long time, I have not done so. For a long time, I have not done anything right to my spiritual self. I have not been growing. I have found myself in this routine of sorts every Sunday. I struggle to wake up, I make tea for everyone, do dishes (if I feel like), go back to bed again, wake up again, take a bath, go to church, teach Sunday school, scream my heart out at a 100 below-six-years-old kids then get out wondering why I feel drained. Scratch that. I always know exactly why I am drained. I am not supposed to teach every single Sunday without getting a break to recharge. For a long time, we had many teachers in my class, teachers that would teach on schedule, but along the way, things fell apart and became a matter of begging people to teach. I thought I could do it. I thought it would be selfish of me to just act like everyone else and jump ship, so I didn’t. I hang in there.
Until the Sunday I woke up having not prepared any lesson. Yes, you need to prepare for lessons in advance, because if you don’t, your kids will know you are lost and they will automatically be chaotic. Trust me, they know. It’s like their sniff the unpreparedness on you. Or you let on by being cranky unnecessarily. Even if you have read that Bible story a million times before, if you are not prepared for this specific undertaking, your spirit just rings off (at the risk of spiritualizing everything). So I just winged it, knowing very well I was winging it, but acting like I knew what I was doing. It worked out okay, even though a kid asked me a question which I answered but had to double check later, just to be sure I was not misleading the young ones. And that is a position I don’t want to put them in anymore. So I wrote to our chairlady and said I was taking a break. I don’t know for how long, but we will see.
I already miss my kids, having not been with them today. Their hugs. Their high-fives. Their smiles. Their songs. Their screams. Their asking to go to the toilet five times each, every ten seconds. Their fights. Everything. But I hope that by taking myself away, I am doing the right thing and finding my spark again. I am staying far away, so far away that I am not even going to PCEA Kikuyu Township any more, till further notice. Today I was at PCEA Joseph Ngwaci across the highway. It’s been a while since I was there. If you have been reading my ravings long enough, you know I used to escape to this small church before.
I walk there, all in black from head to toe because it is cold and I don’t do bright when the weather is dull. I bump into a number of people I know because it is the village church. They have moved to the old mabati church because the stone one is currently being expanded. Today is Youth Sunday. I walk in just as the English service is coming to an end. The active youth peeps are dolled in white and black, with purple scarves and ties to top it up. I sit in the middle, because the church is still empty and I never sit at the front. People trickle in slowly and the service throttles to a start. We sing songs I last sang maybe in high school. I pray. I remember a long chat I had with mum yesterday, following another one I had with a friend earlier. Story coming up soon.
I look up at the brown cobwebs hanging from the wooden beams. I shudder when I think of one of them falling on someone seated at the altar. So I shift my attention outside to the grey clouds and green grass. The window still has putty freshly spread on the panes, like it was quickly done to make this old structure habitable again in the meantime. The cold is coming in because the windows do not have latches either, intentionally so, because when it is fully packed and folks have worked up a good sweat from the praise session, you don’t want those windows closed. I think about why I am here anyway. I think long and hard about why I do what I do.
That train of thought is cut short by the youth singing. A trio dances to that hip version of Uninyunyizie. The choir sings. Announcements are read. The youth secretary reads a report. The youth chairman takes it up and talks about challenges. I am keen to note he insists on the betting part. People don’t want to work hard, they want to bet their 20 bobs away. Then the preacher comes on. Tall guy. Loud guy. Funny guy.
“Have you ever asked yourself why it is called a Sunday service?” he asks, in Kikuyu. “The other day my car had a problem. I called my mechanic for a solution. Now listen, all of you without cars, I am teaching a lesson so you know once you get one.”
Ha. Ha. Ha. Anyway, he goes on. The mechanic concluded that the car was very okay, all it needed were new oil, filter and new plugs. Preacher took the car to the car doctor who made the changes and the car was good to go. He might have thought that the car was kaput, but just a few parts needed work. It needed to be serviced. It is the same way with us and that’s why we come Sunday service to be services. Bam! Just like that, I loved him already, because he was talking about what I had been thinking about for days. You know that feeling when the preacher is talking to you directly. It happens. My lack of servicing. How different cars need different kinds of servicing depending on what is up with them.
I will not tell you everything about the sermon, but I will mention one more thing. When my dad is super mad at my younger siblings, the first thing that comes out of his mouth is “Grow!” He does not even add ‘up’ most time. He just says grow. When we are told to grow up in any situation, we take it negatively, but if you think about it, it is one of the best pieces of succinct advice you can take from a situation. The youth’s theme this year is 2 Peter 3:18:
I think I need to grow a ton too. That’s why I am getting away from what I am used to, just to re-evaluate my life and see what I can do better for my sake and everyone else’s. End of preaching.
On a related note, if you have ever travelled solo or can recommend an affordable way to do it, I am considering going away for a few days. I hear it is freeing. I am sceptical. You know what they say about having low expectations. I have always wanted to take the train (not SGR) to Mombasa, ever since class three, when we read about Tom and Mary travelling the same way, but I have never done it because of many reasons. I have never been on a train and some people have made it sound like a scary experience. I am might not actually pull off this solo thing, but there are a lot of things I have said that I would not imagine myself doing on this blog but ended up doing by some extraordinary backing from everyone around me. Thank you. Keep it here. I just might end up writing every Sunday. 🙂