Saturday, 30 April 2016

MY FIRST COLLEGE DEGREE: “ONWARD, CLIMBING A NEW ANTHILL”



My graduation day cake, Feb 28th 2014.In the book, NEVER LET ME GO, Kafuo Ishiguro writes: “Memories, even your most precious one fade away surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most—I don’t see them fading
There are two awesome quotes that will set the tone of the rest of the story and these are:
MAX LUCADO: “I suspect that the most consistent thing about Life has to be its consistencies. Choosing not to be neatly recognized, Life opted to be a tossed salad of tragedies and triumphs, Profanity and purity, despair and Hope. The bad is perplexingly close to the good. The just is frighteningly near to the unfair. And Life? Life is always a clock tick’s away from death. And evil? Evil is paradoxically close to the goodness. It is as if only a sheer curtain separates the two. Given the right lure, at the right moment, aimed at the right weakness, there is not a person alive who wouldn’t pull back his curtain and live out his vilest fantasy.

….Its eerie inconsistency that keeps all of us, to one degree or another, living on the edge of our chairs”
CONFICUS: “Our greatest glory is never in falling, but in rising every time we fall”
PREAMBLE
I didn’t go to Harvard Law School as was my childhood dream and neither did I go to Makerere as was immediate option, then—nor did do Law at  Uganda Christian University as I had desired, I did Procurement and Logistics Management and surely, I have never regretted doing it especially from the afore mentioned University(PS: My Harvard Law dream is still very much alive)the journey was a very tough one especially as regards the upheavals I met while I journeyed it—the good part, I saw God’s unmerited love and grace do miracles for me, I have never been so grateful. A college degree isn’t all there is to a successful life but my vow is: “I will take baby steps with this college degree. I will crawl where I have to but in the end, I will stand and I will run. Every ‘child’ crawls before they run”.
My first weeks as a university student were ‘sort of’ challenging—the trauma had cropped up and I had sort of lost a bit of my self-esteem. I was in a place where most students were rich folks’ kids and that meant that they had been to schools way better than mine—as is the case always, something has to build rapport for people like me in the circumstances. I stayed lonely for a few weeks, my early morning reading of novels and after lectures became my company plus the times I went for fellowship. It was until we did our first tests that I began to feel at ease—that I had realized I could beat these guys I held on high ground from those big schools. Sooner than later, the once lonely Grace became a popular figure. This reminded me the books I had read the time I had no tuition among these was Dr.Carson’s GIFTED HANDS, Billy Graham’s HOPE FOR THE TROUBLED HEART, Eileen E.Lantry’s GOOD PEOPLE GET BURNED TOO and Rick Warren’s PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. Two years ago, I watched Natalie Portman deliver her commencement speech; there are things in that speech that spoke to me as if editing out the name Natalie would make the story my own. Portman said: “sometimes your insecurities and inexperience will lead you to carving your own path, one that is free of how things are supposed to be and is defined by its own particular set of reasons. Your inexperience is an asset, and will allow you to think in unconventional ways. Each time you set out to do something new, your inexperience can lead you down a path where you will conform to someone else’s values, or you can forge your own path, even if you don’t realize that’s what you are doing. You will control the rewards of what you do by making your internal life fulfilling

LEARNING DOESN’T STOP AT UNIVERSITY, I AM BECAUSE WE ARE: “UBUNTU”
Everyone should strive to be a world citizen. Boundaries were created by man, not the creator. There is no such a thing as THEM vs. US. There is only ‘WE’—Suzy Kassem.

Photo Source: the Internet
December 13th 2013,just after my last paper, I wrote a note titled THE LAST THREE YEARS.Basically,this note embrace the journey through school, the love and sheds gratitude unto those who were part of my journey whilst preparing me for other climbs. You have to honor the gift God has given you. In a way, my Life has to be about trying to honor my gift and those extra-ordinary people I have encountered along the way. So many people have extended the hand of friendship, shared creativity and pure adulterated love to me in the course of my early Life. And for that, I am thankful. I have learned early in Life not to forget the people who make an effort to stay in my imperfect Life. Having had a very troubled and rugged terrain in between securing a college degree and the time unemployment imploded, I have singular had one major place where I go to and have my heart beat come to a normal pulse rate, that place is in the word of the holy scripture. For instance, these healing words in Philippians 3:7-11:
When people go through Life depending on themselves, they never really know God—He will reveal himself to a heart that is honest and transparent, not one that is full of pride and arrogance. It is our brokenness and helplessness that we discover who the LORD is”. This very astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our Lives.
I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO WRITE: BASICALLY, THAT’S WHY I WRITE.


Three years ago, I opened a facebook fan page—Grace Abaho_Poet&Essayist.I had certainly realized from the words of iconic Albert Einstein that Vision without execution is Hallucination. I am not where I want to be yet but I have hope that I will be there not because I am good enough at this but because I get better every time I try—my little secret is that writing has kept my brain and mind awake since it requires one to read a lot. My insatiable lover for knowledge and information has exposed me to very many things I wouldn’t have known anywhere else if I didn’t ever get myself into this. Like Anne Proulx, I believe: “You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page.Writing comes from reading and reading is the finest teacher of how to write”.
Recently, I came across a very rich article via the Atlantic blog, it had some of the most beautiful words to every writer I have read this year: “When I’m writing the way I want, the way I love, which is without thinking about what I am writing, a strange thing happens: I feel simultaneously the most self I could possibly be, and at the same time totally relieved of self. I become, I guess, a version of myself that isn’t filtered through the detritus and clutter of experience. We can’t control so much of what happens to us in Life. Even our actions unfold in time in ways we can’t possibly imagine. But there is someone inside who remains untouched by all that. That person may not really exist in the light, but she is there, in the dark... (And then she goes on to write)—I’ll present myself to the world as a writer it helps continue writing. I always think of that beautiful Kafka Quote: ‘A book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us”.
I think if I ever get a job, it should one that gives me space to read and write. My surrogate mother, Tabitha Scaife, often calls me a words man—yes I am but surely, it takes a lot of sacrifice, reading everything I care about.Because,to write meaningful things, the right words build rapport—as N.Scott.Mommaday once said: “For the storyteller, for the arrow maker,language does indeed represent the only chance for survival”. I have met several people who ask me whether I have plans of publishing a book in future. The answer is a definite Yes. I can’t do it now in the circumstances but when I have the resources, I certainly will, there are so many things I think I can put my thoughts to. If there is anything I am dealing with is the danger of a single story. Of course many people wonder how a business graduate writes and reads this much but there is more this. As the story begun if you paid attention in the preamble, I didn’t necessarily want to be in the business field but I am there. A while ago (a year ago and some days—April 16th 2015), after very many battles on what I should settle for as my career line. In a facebook comment to the thread, a friend, Sandra Creason told me these powerful and inspiring words:
Why limit yourself? You are young, kind articulate, talented and handsome; you have plenty of time to explore the world and see both what you have to offer it and what it has to offer to you. Many successful people in the world have more than one passion. I say, take on the world like a child,explore,learn,be ambitious but be happy about things that matter to you.Eventually,you will find all the pieces that make you well-rounded and whole, and you will not get stuck in a rut of any single thing. Maybe you are meant to do and be many things”. These are some of the kindest words anyone has told me, thank you Sandra.
On this road, of writing about things I care about, some people have branded me a puritanical show off but I refuse to listen to that crap.I have actually over time chosen to listen to either sides and my findings are that those who see me like that in their colored glasses are those who hate inconvenient truths. I know how to live with both vitriol and constructive criticism—as young child, and through my adult years, I learned to listen to my mistakes; learn from them and embrace change where need be. I have also learned very importantly that no matter where we come from, our dreams are very much alive. I have often told my peers and the people who come to me for counseling: “You matter and you deserve a Life which corresponds to your authentic self”.There is a lot of noise out there in the background—people want to tell you how many things you can’t do just because you are less fortunate than they are but as I said above at the start, I have proved that beyond reasonable doubt—our backgrounds do not matter at all, who we are is what matters. About two years ago, I came across a TED talk from 2009, the phenomenal Chimanda Ngozi explicitly put clear the dangers of a single story, and it explains what I am saying in a much better way. An extract:
All these stories make who I am. But to insist only on those negative stories is to flatten my experience and to overlook the many other stories that formed me.The single story creates the stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are not true, but they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can be used to break the dignity of a people, but stories can also be used to repair that broken dignity”.

THE IMPACT OF UNDERSTANDING WORLDVIEWS—A COURSE UNIT AT UGANDA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
A world view is a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe in and by which we interpret and judge reality—Ronald Nash (Philosopher)-Faith & Reason.
It can be argued on the basis of facts concerning the nature of man and the conditions of human life that human being have a deep-seated need to form some general picture of the total universe in which they live, in order to relate their own fragmentary activities to the universe as a whole in a way meaningful to them; and that a life in which this is not carried through is a life impoverished in a moment significant respect—W.P.Alston
The first introductory lessons to this course unit begun by understanding the concept around a “Worldview”—the work and effort of educating me about this by my lecturers   Ms.Ibale Hope & Mr. Samuel David Lukaire didn’t leave any stone unturned: they summarized this concept in a few words and these are—there are as many worldviews as the people in the world. As instructed, I first read David Burnett’s CLASH OF THE WORLDS and Charles Colson’s HOW NOW SHALL WE LIVE?—this was an attempt to answer the Questions: who are we, where do we come from, what has gone wrong with the world and what can we do to correct it? The basic instinct is that we are all champions and stewards of change; we just have to embrace change amid embracing reality. As a matter-of-factually, this course unit fundamentally built my ingrained discipline in regard to my fellow human siblings: understanding and appreciating that we shall always have areas have times when we disagree but it is very normal to do so.
A great writer and Civil rights activist, the phenomenal Maya Angelou taught something before and after she died, this was in her very precious words:My mission isn’t merely to survive, but to thrive; to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style. You may not control the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them”—these words and the awesome Poem, STILL I RISE, are my anthems in many ways.

MY MESSAGE TO MY GRADUATING CLASS 2011-2014: “I MISS Y’ALL”
I do not know how many of you have jobs and how many work in areas related to what you studied but for each one of you, wherever you are, there is something fundamental you can do—‘for things to be important they do not have to change the world’- Steve Jobs once said. I know many of us may feel a little beaten down especially those have struggled to find jobs since but you can’t give up now, you are better than you think. Read with me these Powerful words I picked from Tennessee Williams interview with James Grissom: “Everything that is tearing us down today will become a memory, and this memory will be shared as an anecdote or a story or a poem or a play or a warning. It will be shared with another human being, who will then understand that he is not alone in his sadness. This is why we show up for others and tell our tales and listen to others. The great congregation meets daily and you are someone’s angel today
On the eve of the commissioning Service, the University Chancellor, Dr.John Senyonyi, said words that I will forever remember. In his own words : “May each one of these men and women fly as an arrow to the truth to a society often muddled about right and wrong; as the arrow of compassion to  the unloved and unwanted; as an arrow of light pointing to the day that the Lord Jesus will reign over the earth. I pray that they will know the Hope of their calling and like Timothy stir up the gift within them”. Now to this message I will add a few words from John McArthur: “You are the only bible some unbelievers will ever read”. While you are out there, even when the odds are so great and there is no margin for error, stand tall and do not fall like dominoes. ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in Faith’—1 Peter 5:8-9a.May the good Lord richly bless you in all you do.
You can read some of my recent blog posts and more. We keep in touch—Grace Abaho Sr, INDEPENDENT BLOGGER.

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