In less than one week’s time… (take a deep breath and hold…) one of the greatest religious leaders of our time, one Pope Francis will arrive in Kenya, making his very first visit to Africa as the Pontiff – Wow (ok, expel breath now, Phew)!! An ordinary man, with an extraordinary role in our world today, his ever-smiling, peace-spreading ‘holy’ charm transcends age, gender, religion, race, and best of all, economic class! He reaches out to everyone, yet consistently strives to interact directly with the poor, neglected and ignored in society. It’s both a State and Pastoral Stopover, meaning he’s visiting as the Vatican’s Head of State, and as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. Which means he will meet with our President and other political leaders, as well as the leader of the Catholic Church aaand (by his specific request), meet the consecrated, the poorest of the poor in the slum, the youth and with the faithful from all walks of life i.e. ordinary wananchi. Am Catholic by upbringing and practice (read: ordinary mwananchi), and am so excited at the prospect of attending the mass to be celebrated by the Pope. Imagine then, how the consecrated men and women (bishops, priests, nuns, brothers, etc) must be feeling – enthusiasm and apprehension in equal measure! Meanwhile the elaborate preparations are in full gear, and accompanying excitement are at fever pitch. We can truly appreciate the blessing in disguise that the other ‘big’ visit by America-1 (President Barrack Obama) was in having some things already in place… traffic flow’s improved, high level inter-state inter-agency security collaboration tested & strengthened… even Kidero’s super green grass is all grown – Perfect!
We pray to receive the Man of God well, that he may bless our land & people, and leave in Peace as he moves on with his visit to other African Countries.
Meanwhile, it’s fast approaching end of year which can mean only one thing: Holiday Season – Yeeeei!!
Papal Advice on Leisure
The Pontiff apparently encourages leisure: “Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.” It’s not clear whether he said this exactly or to whom, or maybe it’s a paraphrase of No. 4 of his now famous Pope’s Ten Tips to Happiness that encourages a ‘healthy sense of leisure’. Reportedly Saint John Paul II (two Popes ago before the current one) also advised, “Through the recreation and leisure made possible by travel, people are restored and renewed, body and spirit. They return home to family and work with a new perspective and enthusiasm for life.
Now I don’t mean to sound like am proselytizing (the ‘worst thing’ according to Pope Francis Ten Tips to Happiness No. 9). You really don’t have to believe in the Popes to agree that taking time off to bond with family and truly rest & recuperate, is important. The rat race never stops, nor waits for anyone. Everyone must consciously make an effort to come away (flee even) from the never ending ‘busy-ness’ of life, and do something totally different to re-energise, even if it’s just switching off all electronics, walking away from them (to stifle temptation) and ‘listening’ to something else… how about the sermon preached by nature, fresh air, birds, flowers, water and trees…?!
Sooo…. this holiday, make it a point to give your family (and yourself) a treat. Go somewhere, anywhere… away from your home environment, someplace new (familiar even) that’s different from your comfort zone, and make time to talk… really have a conversation… explore, chat, play with the ones closest and most important to you. The ones who support you and clamour for your time, even though you rarely spare enough for them because you are too busy wearing yourself out with the doing verbs: ‘climbimg’ the ladder to success, ‘putting’ food on the table, ‘seeking’ the light at the end of the tunnel, ‘chasing’ the ultimate deal… at the risk of inadvertently ‘widening’ the gap between you and them????
This time round, for a change, try the being verbs: be nice, be loving, be…. available. And what better way than to break away from it all and make it a memorable outing with them that you cherish, a vacation, a special time to bond, share real physical face-to-face time (analogue not digital), let your guard down, relax… Go on, make the decision to… Escape! J