What you need to know:
- Please note that it is not the length of your life that will determine the length of your story.
- Every day that we are alive is a chance to write our stories. Write your story in such a manner that anyone who beholds the book called “you” will read it cover to cover.
For the better part of this year, I have traversed this nation — from Nakuru to Kisumu, Meru to Eldoret, Busia to Mombasa — speaking to heads of schools during their annual county conferences.
The one common thing that has been happening in all these conferences is that before the meetings kick off in the morning, all the principals would rise to their feet to sing the hymn, "Blessed Assurance", their theme song for the year.
This song was published in 1873 by Fanny J. Crosby, who lived between 1820 and 1915. Her life story is nothing short of inspiring. Fanny became blind when she was six weeks old, but went ahead to compose more than 8,000 hymns.
The songs were so many that at times she would publish them under several pen names such as Ella Dale, Mrs Kate Gringley, and Miss Viola V.A.
Some of her other popular hymns include "All the Way My Saviour Leads Me", "He Hideth My Soul", "Draw Me Nearer", "Jesus is Tenderly Calling", "Near the Cross", "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour," "Tell Me the Story of Jesus", and "To God be the Glory".
What strikes me most about Fanny is her attitude despite her blindness, which can be expressed by her words, “O what a happy soul am I, though I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world contented I will be. How many blessings I enjoy, that other people don’t, to weep and sigh because I am blind, I cannot and I won’t.” Isn’t that profound?
Therefore, I find it befitting that her life is summed up in the chorus of that hymn, "Blessed Assurance" — “This is my story, this is my song, praising my saviour all the day long”.
That is Fanny J. Crosby’s story and I want to ask you a question: What is your story?
One day when the gong shall sound, and sound it will, when your life shall come to an end because it will — it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when — when the last full stop to the book called “you” shall be inscribed, what will your story be?
Will it be a story that will bring inspiration or will it be a story of desperation? Will your story inspire cheer in those who will read it or will it bring tears to their eyes?
Will it be a story of prosperity or one ravaged by adversity? Will your story impress those who will read the pages of your book or will it depress them?
I remember as a young man straight from college and in search of a job, my CV could barely fill a page, no matter how much I tried to stretch it.
It would only spill on to page two after I had written down 10 hobbies and six referees.
Then I came across Prof Makau Mutua’s 84-page CV and I wondered how that could even be possible considering my struggle to fill a single page.
WRITE YOUR STORY
At the tail end of our lives, our stories will mirror those two scenarios. There are those whose stories will be so short that even their funerals will be over as soon as they start because there will not be much to be said about them. Their stories will comfortably fit in one page.
Please note that it is not the length of your life that will determine the length of your story. If that were the case, the story of Methuselah, who lived for almost a millennium, would have taken up three-quarters of the Bible.
Unfortunately, his entire life story is summarised in three verses, he was born, he bore children (for which you require no special skills), and he died.
Such a short summary for such a long life. Your story will, therefore, not be determined by how long you live but by how you live.
Every day that we are alive is a chance to write our stories. Write your story in such a manner that anyone who beholds the book called “you” will read it cover to cover.
Your life is a story, so make sure that it is an inspiring one and how better to achieve this than to live our lives to touch the lives of others?
After all is said and done, your life will be summarised by one word — “matter”.
It is up to you to determine whether it will be “matter” the noun, defined in physics as an object that has weight and occupies space, or “matter” the verb which means to be of importance or significance. The choice is yours.
Mr Mureithi is a personal development consultant and public speaker. firstname.lastname@example.org.