Be Still? Am Wearing A Mask In the House! Seriously!
Be Still? Am Wearing A Mask In the House! Seriously!
This corona thing is driving some of us out of the box. That box that tells us how strong we are! How protected we are. How not to worry but to stand strong in the face of adversary. You are circumcised, they tell me. That message of standing my ground! In high school, I remember my friend being pushed by a bully (we were all bullies). He moved back, licked the back of his hand and stretched it forward towards the bully. He stood straight like a man and summoned him, “touch it . . . ‘hutia jata’. Touch this star if you are a man. ‘Hutiaaa’!” If you were a real man, you touched it, then a fight would break out. Those were the days my friends!
Someone might say to me, “Teddy, really? I thought you are a minister of peace. Pastors should not glorify those kind of things!” My question to those who would criticize my reference of the past is this, “Why not?” Were not pastors boys once? Did we not go to the same primary schools? Were we not jokerlized, and monolized? And didn’t our parents demand that we be circumcised and observe our cultures? My father, pastor Timothy Kamau of Biblia Husema, Kijabe, went even further. He attended all the dowry ceremonies of his buddies’ children. It is cultural traditions that give us a human identity. We are our cultures: Christianity is also a culture.
One day he, against the advice of my mother, accompanied his good friend to Nyeri. His friend’s son was getting married to a beautiful Nyeri girl. During the pre-ruracio, the buddy had brought the girl to our home for my parents to behold this beauty and to remove the skepticism of Harriet, my angelic mother. For some reason, given women’s seventh sense, my mother saw behind the beauty. As we were standing in the kitchen with her looking through the kitchen window to the gathering outside, she whispered, “look, look.” She pointed at the beauty standing outside, “Did you see how she moved her hair . . . is she alright?” I looked but it did not mean anything to me. To my mother, that was it! “Ala, aaai, that muiretu has issues.” She concluded.
She opted out of the trip to Nyeri, Mathera. My father, the circumcised pastor went. When he returned, he sat in the living room. My mother, like always, served him some mukimwo with stew. As it was her modus operandi, she then sat there next to him waiting for him to finish eating. You do not have a conversation with a hungry, Kikuyu circumcised man: pastor or not! After eating, she asked, “how did it go?” My father laughed to tears. My family has those genes. “Mama Aphia.” That is what he called her to affirm her right to know. “Those people gave us a ‘ruhia (a cow horn for local brew) and demanded we join the feast or there is no wedding.” He laughed, as she smiled, looking at me as if to say, “I told you son. That lady had issues.” They came back with their pickup truck full of goodies for the dowry. “We were pastors and elders from Kijabe, we could not join in the feast.” Said the pastor. The dowry never happened.
Circumcised or not, we all are faced with issues that sometimes make us question our humanity, spirituality, and theology: Our identity as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. For in this world, we will all have trouble (John 16:33).
With the “house arrest” by an invisible enemy, my theology, philosophy, and as a research psychologist am in the dark! I have to listen to daily news of misery. It has gone so far that I turned off the television. The statistics are just damning. My friends in the media have gone overdrive with bad news. We in the media love bad news: We carry it live! It is so bad that a family member, a democratic said, “ I am looking for hope anywhere, including in Donald Trump.”
In Kenya, they are always doing copycat, and the minister of health is standing there spouting out fear and statistics about the infected, the dead, the what, and what? It is depressing, to put it mildly. I can see therefore why the democrat has turned to Trump. She is looking for any sign of hope. Trump, being a circumcised “kikuyu” high school bully keeps spouting out hope! He keeps saying we have to open the country up! What do you have to loose, try the Malaria Medicine! I see the statistics but I believe it’s going to be lower than that! Are you kidding me, I will not wear the mask! Hey, this thing will pass. Can you imagine, Easter and we are telling churches not to open. We got to do something about this! We have to get our country working. It is going to be all right! The United States president goes on and on and on, on an infinitum optimism!
I wanted to be circumcised with Trump’s circumcision. But the Dr. Lady with statistics suggested that we should not even go to the grocery store! What? Therefore, though circumcised and having gone through the primary and high school bullying in Kenya, and seeing my father fight as a pastor and a man, I got defeated. I made myself a mask! I looked at the mirror and thought, “this is nuts.” But I took it with me to go and get milk at the local Aldi. I have it in the car, thanks to the fear mongers!
The Lord, understanding my state of confusion guided me back to sanity with a hymn written by Katharina Amelia Dorothea von Schlegel in 1752.
Note the last words my fellow pilgrim prisoners!
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Join me in singing and happy “arrest” Easter!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
Senior Columnist for Diaspora Messenger