It almost seems impossible to believe that we are in a new year barely two weeks after we ushered in 2015. Some of us have already forgotten the resolutions we swore to live by this year. To most, it’s safe to say not much has changed from last year. We are still here, in the pain and problem we were in last year. No fast forward buttons available to speed up the process. We feel stuck, out of luck, let down and left behind. We are disappointed.
I am guilty of expecting things to change as soon as a New Year checks in. I love new beginnings. Fresh starts. I get easily frustrated when things seem to remain the same when I eagerly expect them to change. I want to plan better, make better choices and wiser decisions. I want to drop old destructive habits. I want to be a better person. I want to be more reliable, I want to live beyond myself. But that’s not where I am this year. Far from it.
I am still selfish and self-centered. I don’t care much about other people’s needs it’s about me. I am lost in the problems of my own world and blinded by my own needs. If only I could stop for a while to see what is happening around me, I would actually realize that I am so much better off. I have so much than I think I do. My frustrations about what I don’t have would disappear if I took time to look around and see what others don’t have.
I have good health, I am sane (or at least sane enough to think that I am sane) I have a family and friends. I have a home and access to clean water. In fact the water that runs in my toilet bowl is fit for human consumption; it’s about etiquette for me, not access. I have a meal every day and when I don’t, it’s out of choice. I have decent clothes and a place to go back to in the evening regardless of what the day was like. I have so much to be grateful for.
The fact that I have “so much” does not mean that I still don’t have needs. We all do. But is it possible that as they say, I am crying about my lack of shoes while my neighbor has no feet? There is nothing wrong with anticipating to meet your needs. If anything they are yours. That’s why you work; to meet your needs. All our needs are valid but perhaps we give them too much attention than we should.
I learnt on Sunday something that inspired my perception of “where I am”. It might inspire you too. Did you know that if you and your spouse bring home a minimum collective income of (wait for it) Kshs40,000, you are among the 7% of Kenyans who live above the poverty line. You are actually the middle class! This means that 93% of Kenyans are living below the poverty line. You can learn more about this data in a sermon here. Remember the poor!
Believe it or not. You are doing way better than most. You are doing so much better that you have no idea how envious those around you are. You have so much going on for you. True, you have no obligation to worry what other think about you. Actually, there is a common phrases in a popular Kenyan song “tuko na shida zetu tuskize zako kwanini”? (We have our own problems why should we listen to yours)
This year, Kenyans, regardless of what is happening in your life, what you think you have or don’t have, please remember the poor. For a long time we have placed this responsibilities on our political and religious institutions. But this year I invite you to a different call, remember the poor within your reach. The people who work for you. Those who clean your houses every week, those you interact with at work, those 93% who are still below the poverty line around you. If you and I choose to make the life of one fellow Kenyan better, just one, then others will follow. Those we have helped will help others, Religious institutions will follow and eventually (hopefully) our leaders who have more influence to change the current trend, will follow suit. Our country will change. You and I will have contributed to this change and not just with handouts but real change.
You are doing way better than you think. Remember the poor.