I can’t remember exactly in my life when I first had this thought. The earliest memory that comes to mind is sometime in my high school days, and even then, the nature of question went something like; Is this life really about what I think it is?
Am I bewitched?
I am 15 years, a form two student, normal student truancy life, nothing extraordinary. About three weeks to the end of term two, at about 2.00 am, a sharp pain jolts me from my sweet sleep. The pain had just shot from my groin straight to my head. It felt like a needle had pricked my groin, specifically, my scrotal sac. Somewhere between wakefulness and the desire to end this pain fast then I go back to my lovely sleep, I try to turn, thinking this would dissipate the pain, only to get another attack. This time, stronger, sharper and chilling. Fear and alarm creeps at my face, I am writhing out of bed, frantically jabbing at my neighbor’s bed.
We slept in a shared dormitory with every six double-decker bed bundled to form a cubicle. James, from the bed opposite me wakes up. One sleepy look at me and he knows something is amiss. He is now fully awake.
“Ndugu, what’s wrong?”
Ndugu was a nickname from home that had somehow found its way to a few schoolmates, very few.
“Man! My Balls!”
By this time, my scrotal sac has swollen enormously and I can hardly sit straight. Crouching, holding my tummy, writhing, a look of “what is going on!”, helpless and in pain.
Life away from the morning preps
In a quick turn of events, I cannot recall it all, I am at the school health unit, a tiny cubicle with an extended room that held a tiny bed and table covered by a white curtain. I am lying on this bed, on a heavy painkiller drip which seems to ease the pain and I could eventually go back to sleep. Lucky for me, I do not have to go for the morning preps today.
The joy is short-lived as the pain begins to creep in again at about 6.00 am. Now, the school nurse also looks confused. He suggests that I am taken home to get care from my parents. I am back on pain drips and could stay painless for a short while.
Upon getting home, I am admitted and immediately scheduled for an operation at a local hospital, the best in the area for such “serious” matters. Somehow, I know I shall be fine, yet somewhere, I wonder if I will be okay really.
The next morning, My aunt comes in and explains a few things to me after her visit to the doctor.
Ndugu, don’t worry, you shall be fine.
The doctors will take you through a minor operation to extract the rotten scrotal sac.
Rotten!!!??? I wonder, how could this be so? Baffled. I nod. I don’t understand how I could have a rotten part of my body. How?
The life group from church
Before the operation, a group of women and about two men from my aunt’s church came to pray with me.
Lying in the theater bed, naked, chilly, blue sheet covering my naked self and a soft pillow holding my neck I look helpless and I feel awkward. Around me are about eight people holding some hymn books, and looking down at me with concern, and some expressions I cannot get. They each want to catch my eye. To see my fear perhaps. I will not let them. I am looking right past their shoulders, dodging one eye after another and when I cannot take it any longer, I close my eyes at about the same time they say;
“Let’s bow down for a prayer.”
As they leave, one person in the group, a man, whispers to the other. I cannot catch the words accurately. All I hear is, “will-he-okay-have-children?”
A sneak peak into my ‘future’ life
The conversation goes lower and more sinister; but not before I get a wind of it all. My mind goes on a daydream tour…
Don’t worry; I have always said; go to school and study hard. And then proceed to university. You will make it Dennis. Then get a good job. A journalist, a lawyer and if you work a bit harder, you might even become a doctor. Then, wont it be nice to have a family, just like Uncle Joes. Uncle Joe was my maternal uncle who people talked of as doing so well. Never mind I never met his family, or him any more than three times. All I had was a picture from mom of how he married a white woman, went to live in Germany and had big businesses and Land rover Cars. Living a life in Nairobi. If only I knew later the fiction behind all these glamour…
Anyway, my mind does its rounds of painting my ideal future right in front of me, like some “Bold and the Beautiful” episode. Now, all these, going down the drain???
At that point, I came up close with a reality that perhaps, I may never get to sire any children live like the Joe’s. I may never get to retire into a nice farmhouse with my children in the village.
What if I could not really sire any children? What if my wife knew this and left me? Perhaps I could adopt a child, maybe I could become a priest and lead a celibate life…
And is this really what my life is about?
The question of what our life is about, where we are going and whether we are on the “right” path hits us at different times in our lives.
Perhaps, you wake up one day, or are going through some hard times, or simply taking a walk, sitting at your bed mulling over something, at the library when the thought suddenly hits- what’s all these about?
Am I doing the right thing?
Do I love this course?
Is he the right one for me?
Why is this happening to me?
Will I really get a job that I love?
Will I ever change what I am going through and live a better life?
The question shows up in many ways. And it changes, and becomes clearer as we grow older.
The question is not whether you will have these questions or not, my question is whether you pay attention enough to your life enough to recognize these questions as life calling to be lived meaningfully through you.
Over to you, have you ever questioned what your life is about? What incident sparks/ed it?