After a six month break the story of Mike continues…You could read the immediate previous instance here to get the flow. …
That Friday night after Mike submitted letter of resignation from work, he did not sleep. It was as if all negative thoughts had been waiting for that moment, conspiring to affront him with guilt and possibilities he had not considered before. He suddenly started being made aware of the possible implications of the decision he had made. Regardless of how much he tried to brush the thoughts aside, he could not. Mike on his part tried to cope by working up positive thoughts in his mind to counter the affront of guilt and condemnation – ‘’what will your children eat?”, “you are to blame for whatever happens” , “God does not condone arrogance…”. “I will work very hard for my family”, “I am still strong if the worst comes to the worst, I can do menial work..”. In all the torturous conversation going on through his mind, Mike did not realize that the issue had shifted from his need to focus on mountain climbing to the issue of provision.
By the following morning, Mike was exhausted from lack of sleep and he decided that he needed to go somewhere where he could distract himself from thinking. That place ended up being the swimming pool at Nyayo stadium. Being close to where he lived, he reasoned that he could take a walk with the boys and distract his mind as he watched people swim. He was personally not in a mood to swim, but Vincent loved swimming and he could stay as long as he needed time out. In addition, he carried a book that could occupy his time that the watching would not occupy. Just to be sure, he requested Violet to also accompany them, maybe conversation with her could also distract a little more of his mind from preoccupation with his action of the previous day.
The idea of going out to swim was excitedly received by both Vincent and Derrick, but Violet was not too keen as she had her plans for the day so she excused herself. Mike was not as lucky where having his way was concerned. The boys demanded that they need him in the water so he could not sit back and watch. He was not too sure, but without Violet to converse with, he was not too convincing on why he’d want to sit beside the pool alone so he ended up in the water. He played in the water for a bit with the boys, but even that could not distract him from his thoughts and he finally gave up trying. He told the boys that he really needed to sit down and they could continue enjoying themselves which having at least entered the water for a bit was not too hard.
As he sat at the poolside and pulled out his book and opened to the last page he had read, he realized he could not read after being on the same paragraph for five minutes. He just covered his face with the open book and let go any further attempt to control his thoughts. As he did that, possibly because of the exhaustion from the previous night lack of sleep, and partly from the warm sun, a definite welcome contrast from the pool water, he found himself drifting into a doze.
As Mike slept he had a dream; In his dream, he found himself in an exciting place where instead of swimming and resting at a public pool, he was in some sort of holiday at an exquisite beach resort with his family. Incidentally in the dream, he had become a successful business man that could afford a holiday anywhere he wanted. What started as a simple poolside doze ended up being a two hour sleep interrupted only by Derick when he had had enough swimming and wanted something to eat. That was when Mike was startled from his sleep grudgingly wishing that somehow he could hold on to the dream and make it real. Unfortunately he had to return to his present reality.
The children dressed up and Mike decided to take them to Mc Fry, the fast food joint at Nairobi west for some fries and chicken. The rest of the afternoon was relatively calmer in Mike’s mind and he was more relaxed. That followed through for the remainder of the weekend with occasional thoughts of, ”what if I don’t make it?” By Sunday night when Mike retired to sleep, he had a moment of reminding himself what had informed the decision he had made, “focus on mountain climbing”. This gave him the much needed peace of mind and he was able to sleep soundly that night.
Monday morning was a day like any other to everybody else in the office, but not so for Mike. For that day and the rest of the week even though word was yet to spread about his resignation, it felt to him like it was written on his face. He actually started feeling like a foreigner at his workplace and he had to work very hard to maintain a sense of belonging so as to be productive. He purposed to keep the news to himself and only share when asked as it was going to be in the public domain shortly. That way he felt he’d maintain a low enough profile to allow him to give his best at his job in the remaining time.
Barely two weeks after that defining Friday however, news started spreading within the workplace of Mike’s pending departure. It was a mixture of admiration on one hand and quiet pity and sympathy on the other from his colleagues. He did not need to be explicitly told as he could read through the questions he constantly faced, “are you sure?”, “I wish I was that bold.”, “ do you have a house of your own or do you still rent?”.
It was a tough time of wondering whether he was sure of what he was doing and try to get answers for questions he had not even considered before. One very most challenging moment came when he had to inform the group of Christians he had been fellow-shipping with in the office that he was leaving. There was a silence that was hard to interpret and that was not easy on Mike. He was not sure what each of his friends were thinking and that was a bit scary. The expressions of uncertainty notwithstanding , the few words (for the few who muscled courage to say something) were encouraging in the line of, “as long as you are persuaded, God is with you”. Little did they know how those words were to prove valuable in the days ahead.
The days before the actual day of departure dragged on quite a bit. Apart from the constant questions from colleagues that kept challenging Mike’s resolve, there were several happenings that reminded mike that very soon he was going not to be any more a part of that he had been a part of him for the last over 10 years. One such significant moment was when Violet went to hospital for a checkup only to be turned back as his medical insurance card was disabled as an ex-employee. That started making Mike to start realizing there are some things he had taken for granted for many years, and now a time of reckoning was with him. For the duration he had been in employment, he had not had to think much about medical bills both for himself and for his family as the employer took care of that. Another question was added to the many coming up, “How will you cover medical bills for your family?”. This incidence and several others became reality checks for Mike the remainder of the time at his employer’s office.
To cope with many confusing thoughts threatening to make Mike doubt his decision, he decided to keep consciously reminding himself what he had wanted to do once he left in the first place, “mountain climbing.”. To put action into his faith, he set out to start planning for the next climb to mt Kenya. That way, he knew his mind and time would be focused ahead instead of behind and therewith embrace the possibilities ahead instead of focusing on the challenges that departure would bring. In a way he purposed to be motivated by what he envisioned as lying ahead of him instead of allowing the trappings of the past to incapacitate him.
The next climb to Mt Kenya was planned for the first week after Mike was to leave employment. He figured that there was no point planning before as he would not have sufficient time that he had wanted to make it a success this time. He spent lots of time even at the office (duties were slowly reducing as he was handing over) researching on ways of mountain climbing. His source of information largely consisted of testimonials from those with experience and had shared their experiences and advise online. One common theme in their experience was that each had to decide whether they were to use a guide or a map, or both in each of their excursions. He however noted that each had had to get to an answer to that on their own as most would say that one should choose what works for them. Somehow, the last few weeks of Mike’s stay in the office were exciting as he got absorbed in planning for the mountain climb which somehow encouraged him to think that it was going to be good for him.
Mike could not wait for the day he’d leave to pursue his passion, “Mountain Climbing”. Join me in part 6 to discover more how things turned out.