Wrestling With Death: When Carrying the Cross Becomes Unbearable

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Article by: Stephen Kimani

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Catch up with part two of the Wrestling with Death series here.

The most heroic story for ages has been the story of Christ. A man who not only carried His cross, but He also did it for others. But the part I have been thinking about lately is the part where He dies. The cross kills him, metaphorically but literally, He died on the cross. Fortunately for Him, He rises on the third day because He is much more than a human being; He is the son of God.

My cross is my dream, the reason I exist here on earth. Lately, I feel like I’m on a journey to Calvary and the cross is becoming unbearable. Even Jesus needed Simon of Cyrene. I have the urge to drop it, to dump the dream and live as if I never had hopes and aspirations. Did I bite more than I can chew? I do not want to believe so, but the reality is proving different. My dream is slowly turning into a nightmare. It is scary, not because of its magnitude but because every day it reveals to me how much I fall short.

Every time I listen to an interview or a motivational speech about how someone was able to achieve their dream, they romanticise the hard work. They talk about self-discipline and all like it is just a simple thing. No one mentions the other opportunities that just happened at the right time with just the right person they needed.

Maybe I have misunderstood everything. Maybe I understood it but have not implemented it well enough to reach the threshold that would give me the momentum to achieve my dream. Or maybe, there is some fundamental piece of this journey that I am missing, that was intentionally left out.

When I was young, I promised my mum that I was going to build her a maisonette. In my current trajectory, I may be able to do that eventually. But as I grew older, my dreams grew with me. I knew I had it within me to achieve more, to break barriers and set standards. Plus, I was also intrigued by the fancy life. Having grown up in the least fancy lifestyle, such a possibility enticed me. Although there were days we almost went hungry, my parents strived to educate me. I didn’t know what abundance was. So, I learnt how to make do with the little we had.

You have to overcome your limiting mindset. Rise above your limiting beliefs. Information about unlocking human potential says this. This means rewiring my brain to think abundance instead of making do while unfortunately, my reality is still make do.

However, I am not one to back down from a challenge. If dreaming big and thinking positive thoughts is what it took, well, I was in. I dreamt even bigger, you know, the private jet, the big company, the international business deals and all. The thing is, I am not lazy. I knew these things would not come on a silver platter, and I was willing to work my butt off to achieve them.

But, what is the first step to creating a unicorn? What I know around me are kiosk businesses. What is the first step to closing a business deal? Who closes such deals? What do you need to know, be or offer to score such a big deal? I did not have this background.

Well, you do not need such a background to make it as big, they said. However, a contrary statistic states that the number one predictor of success, even above IQ points, is the neighbourhood you were born into. Because from a young age, you learn how to think, you rub shoulders with people who offer or fulfil multinational deals, and the kids you grow up with end up in high places too. Therefore, you will be in spaces where big business is happening.

I have walked into such spaces, at least the ones I could. I wanted to be one of the big players. More than once, people have straight passed my handshake because my attire seemed out of place in such a room. You can only have so much energy to endure such negativity.

I once pushed for my dream with all that I had till I burnt out. I preferred going back to my sanity and peace of mind. It was a self-preservation mechanism, I think. I did not want bad energy. I wanted to be content. Where I am in life today, I am doing better than those who were born in my neighbourhood. I am doing better than I was a few years ago. But I am so far from where my dream is.

When I think about the things I dreamt of achieving, I want to retreat into my shell. I feel inadequate,  insufficient and unworthy of them. That puts me in a dilemma, should I salvage my dream or just take care of myself? This is a battle between my peace of mind and my dream. My dream steals my peace of mind, it haunts me. I guess it is the dilemma of my Calvary. Will I die peacefully without living my dream or will living my dream kill me?

Also Read: Wrestling With Death: The Day I Realised I Was Dying


Wrestling With Death is a four-part series (running every Friday) by Stephen Kimani, drawing from his internal fights with the self, in the throes of trying to recapture momentum and stay afloat. 


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