The phone rings and up pops the name Catherine. I roll my eyes. It is 10pm and I know exactly what the next 2 hours hold in store for me if I answer this call.
I let the phone ring until it goes to voicemail. Guilt stops me from ignoring it altogether so I take a minute to listen to the message in case it is urgent. I hear the following message “Hi, this is Catherine, he has been up to his old tricks again. Call me asap”. I sit back and think about my friend Rose, who this afternoon as had another treatment of chemotherapy for her breast cancer. I know this evening she will be feeling sick and nauseous – the side effects of the treatment. However, not once, has Rose complained.
I compare Rose (whose illness she cannot control and who just perseveres in spite of her pain), with Catherine (healthy & wealthy but who thinks nothing about calling friends at 2am to complain about her life). Her family have just had enough and avoid her calls since they cannot understand why a beautiful, intelligent, educated and independently wealthy woman, seems to attract, bad apple, after bad apple.
You see of the two, Catherine is the stronger one physically, yet mentally, she is the weaker, since real strength comes from mind-set not body. Rose does not let her illness define her as a person. Yet Catherine needs a man (any man), to make her feel worthy. Her car makes her feel important, especially in traffic when everyone turns to look. In other words, she is letting other people and material possessions, define her and confirm her worthiness. On relationships, she is so scared of being single and believes that any man will do, even when she is treated with little respect. Of course these men can sense this fear & insecurity and immediately make her believe that without them, she is nothing.
John is at university. He comes from a poor family but no one on campus would guess. He gets along with everyone: rich, poor, all religions, all tribes and always dresses in what look like expensive clothes. John walks around campus with so much confidence, people never question why someone like him, does not come to campus by car. They assume he is only using matatus to hide his wealth and that he has in fact, a big four by four, parked at home. Truth is, John is a top student (A plain in KCSE), but only made it to university after the generosity of villagers who clubbed together to raise funds for him to cover relocation expenses to Nairobi. His uncle Fred (a gardener), works for expatriates in Nairobi and since uncle Fred does not have children, John gets all the clothes that uncle Fred’s boss, wants to give away. So yes, John’s clothes are expensive but he does not buy them. He cannot even afford supper sometimes but has learnt to control his appetite. He never desires what is not his, although watching other students throw away food, is still not something he can ever get used to.
How many of us have friends or family members like Rose or John? People who have the right to feel sorry for themselves but do not, while others who should thank their lucky blessings, waste their lives moaning and yet not doing anything to improve their lives or, like Catherine, seeking friendships, relationships or, material goods, to make themselves feel worthy.
So the question is, are you 100% whole or do you need a man, woman, car, house or, fame, to make you feel whole? That my friends, is the question.