Monday, 25 November 2013

It Almost Killed Me!

There's actually a reason for all this Coca Cola, you'll see

Lessons learned the hard way are a dime a dozen, and we never see them coming, never! The lesson I learned is that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. I know the words, I have known them for years but for some reason I get the feeling this is one lesson I will be learning till my dying day, such is life. But I have delayed telling the story long enough so let me jump right in to it.
Those who know me know that I love me some coca cola. It’s my regular expense. I actually think I have spent more money on coca cola than I have on any single item combined in my life, saying that out loud sounds quite sad, good thing its written not said. Anyway, the past month or so I have been on a fast food eating spree, this was supposed to boost my productivity. I have been putting in a couple of extra hours of work, three to four nights a week, that means I would usually sleep around 3, 4 or 5am, four nights a week. There’s this place that sells Dürüms for 6TL just outside my dormitory, that’s not that bad a price, plus there is a place where you can buy pizza for 12TL and the best news, in hindsight not so good, was that there was a promotion in Lemar, which is the grocery shop on campus, they were handing out two coca cola’s for 6.50TL. Bottom line this was a great time to immerse myself in to all kinds of late night work. Oh yeah and my favourite cup noodles were back in stock at Lemar so to say the least I was a very happy guy.
So the late night “shifts” begun. At the beginning they were an outstanding success. I would work, till 5am and sleep on the couch in the room and be in class at 9am. The couch was literally a steal and practically a gift from God, I blog from the couch, I nap from the couch, I watch football from the couch and I read from the couch. It’s a love story. I would put in a nap late afternoon to evening to get some sleep back. Back to the picture, A friend of mine, Oscar, was also into these “shifts” so we would work till 2 30am, him in his room me in mine, head out to either grab a Dürüm or a pizza, if it was pizza we would do a 6TL split and eat the food for 30 minutes, washed down with a coke, there has never been a point during the whole semester when he and I have not had a coca cola bottle in either of our fridges. In hindsight that has not helped matters. Anyway the first couple of days it was a success as I said, I did my school work, had time for writing, video editing and I would do extracurricular reading. It was the best of times.
A little glimpse into what a discount does to the cheap mind [not my fridge though]
Then my body started to give up. It started with me losing concentration in classes and getting very tired very early. I decided to go a couple of days without the “shift” to get my system back to normal but that didn’t work. I found myself increasingly worn out with no drive to do any work whatsoever. Even my hobbies became tedious. I was not interested in anything. Not food, not school, not even coca cola, granted I was still drinking quite a lot of that. School work suffered quite a lot for a week and a half. I received my slap that brought me back to reality when I got my first ever terrible result during my time here. It felt like I was naked in the cold. I realized then that something had to change but what was it? I needed the “shift” to get back to winning form, but how do I make the system work? Yesterday I was with a friend of mine who is into all things fitness, I will say this again for emphasis, all things fitness, its borderline ridiculous how motivated he is about such stuff. It hit me suddenly that my eating habits were the problem, lord knows where the thought came from, we were not even talking about anything to do with that. I had not been eating at the right times, sometimes not even eating at all. I ran the idea past Trevor, that’s the fitness guy, and it seemed to make sense to him.
After a bit of a pocket reshuffle I managed to get the funds together to get me some fruit and water, I don’t drink that much water, my logic is that there is water in coke but that’s beside the point. I even went for a jog, granted now I feel like a truck ran me over but yeah.. I went for a jog. The point of all of this is that, in a university setup you are your own man. The decisions are yours and the consequences are yours and a lot of people see this in one aspect, that being the decisions are theirs. So they turn away from the system and life that they had known at home and try to be this new person, but the new person is not always better. They like me see things in terms of short term goals and think that will sustain in the long run when in fact short term thinking will rarely get you through the month.
Short term thinking is potentially catastrophic
Everything is permissible, you can decided to abandon school and cling to life or decided to cling to school with reckless abandon. But not everything is beneficial, the way that you choose has its effects on you in the long run and so it is best to look at the effects when weighing a decision. You just might find yourself in a position where all seems doom, gloom and bleak and might think the world is at an end when in actual fact the problem was the decision you made to live the life you live. Life is a product of balance and priority. The system I advise is put God first and balance out the rest.
Note: This is not me saying I’m staying away from coca cola, but I will cut down on it. 5l a week from now on :D

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Heart Behind The Troublesome Roommate

A couple of days ago I released my first ever short film, if you have not seen it its okay because reading this will give you the full picture though might not be as interesting. Basically the idea is two guys living together on campus and one is living in a less than desirable way and it is affecting his roommate in a bad way. I just want it to be known that a troublesome roommate can be a person who is overly clean in an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) kind of way or it can be in a filthy way. It can be in an argumentative way or even in an overly meek way. Bottom line is there are many ways of being a troublesome roommate. 
Now it is so easy to think the troublesome roommate is the other guy, after all the only way to see ourselves is through a mirror or another person’s observations. The problem is that when we look through a mirror we tend to focus on our good points, its always a “boy do I look good” situation rather than a “Will me using this much deodorant cause an issue with the guy in my room has the flu or a sensitive nose”. We are naturally selfish not just because of indwelling sin but because, even physically we are always looking at other people, its literally in our makeup. But we do need to come to a realization that our actions affect other people in the same way that their actions affect us, its not just about, he hurt me or she hurt me, its also about I hurt them.

Now I have had my fair share of troublesome roommates, mainly because I have been at two universities over a period of four years and only had one roommate who has been in the same room as me for over a year. Now not all my roommates have been bad and apart from maybe one notable exception, who was dreadful, they have been manageable. One thing that hit me during one of these stints with a troublesome roommate is that, maybe there’s something about me that is causing all this. Now I do know that there is personal human responsibility in all this but maybe I had a part to play in all of it. Maybe the things I thought were fine were not fine. Maybe he had trouble telling me what he thought was out of line the same way I at times had trouble telling him. I say at times because I am painfully vocal if given the time of day, and there are quite a lot of hours of day I’ll tell you that.
So maybe it was the times when I was playing my sermons out loud, not too loud but loud enough for them, my roommates, to hear. My intention was good but maybe they did not see things my way. Or maybe it was the times I would play my music really loud, because I had the speakers or the louder laptop. Maybe it was the way my friends would show up in the room and make noise every once in a while. Or maybe it was the fact that I did not verbally tell him when something was wrong in the room but showed it in my body language. My point is a lot of things can and do contribute to roommate relations and we must not so headstrong on the fact that the blame is all theirs. Put yourself in their shoes and maybe they will put themselves in yours.
But the biggest question is “How do you solve the problem?” That is a difficult one because even though Dr. Phil and Oprah Winfrey will have done shows or done something in their advice columns about this there is not clear cut answer or method. It is trial and error thing. However there are principles that must be followed. These are, firstly, you should be able to talk about the issues that arise with your roommate and not let the tension build up. It is easier to move a single brick than it is to break down a wall. Secondly, you must make the conscious decision to be the bigger man/woman, that means when one party loses the temper you should not. You should be able to reason and take hits for things that you might not be guilty over. Bring yourself low because unless you are planning on courting that person pride is never a good idea, and even then it should be used sparingly. Thirdly and most importantly, because it should be done at all times, look at yourself and try not to do things that would put your roommate in a compromising position. Put yourself in his or her shoes, no one likes to be belittled or made to look like the “black sheep” so don’t make them feel that way in the same way you would not like to feel that way.
My last words would be to past, present and future roommates. I have learnt a lot from the past, from both the good and the bad. And though in all likelihood I was not the best of roommates, I hope you can forgive the shortcomings of mine. The short film is my dedication to you guys, especially the current ones [Faith, Evans and Mpendulo], we look forward to good times ahead. Honorable mention to John “Bode” and Kezala “The Man” Jere

Thursday, 7 November 2013

God you just dont understand

I have been wondering for a while when to pull one of my old things from the archives and post it. After weeks of thinking I realized I would never make up my mind so I will post it and see what happens. I wrote this in April 2010, it was quite the time... It was quite the time

God you don’t just understand Peter walked outside his house, tears falling from his face. He looks up and shouts “God! Why me? Are you even up there? I just can't take this anymore.” Peter picks up a rock and throws it as far as he can. He kicks up dirt, he screams and he cries some more. After some time he falls to the ground feeling hopeless and helpless. He looks up and there is a man seated on the lawn of his house. The only way to describe the man is lovely. The very sight of him caused Peter to momentarily forget about his problems.

The man gestures for Peter to sit beside him. “What is wrong?” he asks Peter. “You called for me now tell me, what is on your mind?” “I am angry,” Peter said, “I hate everyone but I hate myself even more. I try to control my temper but it is like some wild beast that I cannot tame or control. I lose my temper in front of my friends and family. I cause sorrow to those that surround me. Today I said things to my mother that I regret but I am so angry that I do not want to say sorry. I hate the way I am, I hate that I hurt those around me but it always seems to happen. I do not even know if you understand what I am talking about.‟ “I do Peter, I do. You say you have tried to tame or control your temper right?” “Right.” “How?” “Every time I feel like I will lose my temper I stay away from people. Or I listen to music. Sometimes I even watch a fighting movie, it helps me release my anger. But of late none of these are working.”

“Why haven’t you asked God to help you?” “I don’t want to bring God any more filth. He has to deal with my sinning against him all the time in spite of me being a Christian; I just don’t want to bring him any more garbage. I am tired of being like Cain who brings him garbage, I want to be like Abel who brings him the best of his flock.” “Don’t you understand that you are a fallen creature Peter? No matter what an apple tree does it will always give apples, some good and some bad but you will not see grapes coming from an apple tree.” “Yeah, I do understand that but I just wanted to give him something that will make him proud of me. I wanted God to be able to say to me either on Judgment day or after I die, well done good and faithful servant.‟” “God adopted you as his son. He leaves the ninety nine and comes to help you out as it were. He is already proud of you and nothing you do will make him any less proud to call you son. Yes, he will punish you when you go wrong but he punishes you in love.” “But does that not mean I can keep these feelings of anger inside me and God will still be proud of me?” “Come on Peter, you know better than that. You know that God requires certain things of you. One of which is that you should do away with the deeds of the old man after you become a Christian.”

“What about all the things that were done to me. Does God not know about that? The wrong was done towards me and yet you and everyone seem to look at it as though it is me with the big problem. I have been going through all these problems and have not caved in to the temptation to lose my temper. Then this once when I reached my limit and everyone is making it look as if it is all my fault. What about all the things the other guy did?” “In the Bible Jesus was asked which commandment is the greatest. Jesus answered with two instead of one. The First being that you should do love God with all your being and the second being that you should love your neighbour as you love yourself. These are not easy to follow because the flesh cries out only one word me‟. In situations such as yours, you know what to do but the flesh, your sinful nature is kicking and screaming wanting to be appeased. It does not want to let go of the hate but God wants you to let go of the hate.”

“This is all just talk for you, you do not understand what I am going through.” “Peter, it is I who cried father forgive them for they know not what they do. It is I who died to save not only the descendants of the men who persecuted me but for the men themselves. It is I who was nailed naked to a cross. It is I who had a crown of thorns shoved onto my head rather than my crown of splendour, all for the people who hang me on a cross. I know what you are going through and even more. Peter let go of your anger, it is not helping you.” Peter breaks down once more as it dawns on him who he is talking to “I tried but I can't, I know what is right but I have been bruised and scarred. I can't just let it go.” “Peter I died so you could die to self. You know what is right so do it. God will not listen to you unless you reconcile with the person who has wronged you.

The bible is clear when it refers to being angry and murder as the same thing, God says if you keep this anger in your heart you are in danger of hell. Are you so stubborn as to hold on to your anger even if it means losing your relationship with God in the process? The choice at the end of the day is yours Peter. The Bible is there to guide you, use it well because it is the only way you will understand the mind of God.” With that the mysterious man walked away into the night. Just like Peter the decision is yours to make.

Mwansa Ndemi Mbewe 11th April 2010