Yes I have. Big boys cry.
What do you mean by Big Boys Cry?
Some people do not expect a grown up person to shed tears but when a grown up does shed tears, those are usually genuine tears.
What are some of the things that would make you cry?
When am hurt; not physically but emotionally.
For example I grew up in a polygamous family and did not want my life to follow the same trend. I therefore asked God to help me get married only to one wife. To the best of my knowledge I was faithful and yet the Lord decided to take away my dear wife from me; that made me cry. I felt like God had let me down; I just shed tears.
If big boys cry, would you shed tears in a public place?
Yes I would. It is not shameful. When one is hurting and tears come, it is good to let them flow. The only advice I can give the big boys is that they have to explain the reason for the tears so that people do not mistake them for simply being overly emotional big boys.
So would cry before your children or church?
Yes, but with an explanation
What does it feel like for you when you cry?
I fee like a burden has been made lighter for me; the pain remains but it becomes easier to bear.
I remember one Sunday I came to church. That was the time I was starting to sense that the ray of hope for Ruth’s (my late wife) survival was getting dimmer by the second. I took my usual seat at the back of the church and observed as the worship service went on. And despite what was happening in my life, the pain I was having, life for the rest of the church was moving on normally and people couldn’t see or feel the way I was feeling. I asked myself: don’t these people understand what I am going through?
I entered one of the rooms at the back and cried. Moments later I heard someone open the door and walk in. I turned and saw Doctor Mawano. He put his hand upon his shoulder and I just cried the more.
Dr. Mawano then asked me what the problem was and I told him that Ruth was going to die. Being in the medical profession am sure he knew that Ruth was indeed going to die.
Before crying, my heart was heavy but after crying I felt good. For m it was a sign of acceptance that I was hurting.
Another experience that made me cry was when I was staying with my step-mother. You know I grew up with my step-mothers and the last one I stayed with wanted us out of the home at some point. I had tried to explain to my dad how much we were being mistreated but he did not understand. In fact he was just punishing us instead.
One day, my dad came and told us “It is time to go”. I wondered, “time to go”, go where? I couldn’t understand where he wanted us to go. Meanwhile, being a respectful boy, I used to do many of the chores at home, I even learnt how to cook and I thought I was being helpful but my step mother and dad could not see all that ‘service’. So he insisted that we leave and we left the home. It was a very painful experience!
When your dear wife passed on, how was that whole experience for you?
When she passed on, I was numb. Her last few months were definitely very bad as she was really not doing well and all this time I thought I was getting used to handling all affairs by myself but when she breathed her last, I felt like she had left us nowhere. The first week was about burial arrangements and all the stipulations so I went through it tenaciously. After that week, I felt like I was on a plane with 3 children and the pilot had pushed us out with our parachutes and we were dropped in a place I did not know, somewhere in the wilderness. Then I wished we would be taken up in the rapture at that moment and survive the unknown. I did not know what to do with the children and yet Ruth had been ill for 6 years.
It made me cry. I had feelings about not being certain of what to do next. It wasn’t the feeling of ‘I have lost someone’ but that of ‘what next?’
I remember at that moment I did not ask God ‘what’, I simply complained, and here am talking about serious complaining. I turned the blame to God and told him: “Lord you know my life. You know I have really tried to serve you. I am a Christian and had married one wife [a covenant I had made with God and fulfilled] but now Lord, look you have left us alone. Why have you taken Ruth and why is it me that has to go through this?”
I had lots of ‘whys’ but as I quietened and listened to God more and more, my ‘whys’ slowly turned to ‘whats’. I told God: “I have 3 children I have to take care of them, what can I do now?” When I got to the whats, I realised I was starting to move forward. The whys could not have taken me anywhere because He is a sovereign God, He cannot answer those questions and in fact you cannot or should not even ask such questions. You simply have to ask Him: Lord, what do you want me to do with such a situation?
After changing the whys into whats I got inner peace and joy and I started learning how to move on. I finally understood the real definition of joy through such a situation. Joy is deep-seated happiness that only God bestows.
And how did you deal with the pain that came with the loss of your dear wife?
My first reaction was I kept away from people. I wanted some time to myself talking to God, listening to God, praying. In fact I had never prayed as much as I did at that time. During that time I also involved myself in a lot of work, I kept my self so busy.
The other thing I did was to bring the children closer to me knowing that now I was the only parent they had. I started checking on them much more than I used to. Prior to that, I had a job that required me to travel both up and out of the country a lot. However when Ruth passed on, I left that job and decided to stay right here at home with my children.
Do you have any pointers in your life that can show that you have dealt with the pain that came
with your wife’s death?
Yes there are:
My children are one of those; they are happy and doing well.
I also realised that I had to move on. My bed room [formerly mine and Ruth’s] is on the East side of the house. So even after she passed on, the sun would rise and set every day and through that I realised the world hadn’t stopped because Ruth had gone. So I had to move on. I therefore started working and the fact that I can go and work is an answered prayer.
Then time came and I thought I had to move on. I have found a friend. I shared it with my children first and later my friends. I took a while to tell them for I was convinced that for me the main stake holders in this arrangement were my children.
How is that relationship with your new friend going?
It is going on well. Come December this year, there is going to be a wedding.
Are there any lessons you have picked up as a person through this whole experience?
The first lesson is remaining focused. Being a Christian and not asking God questions but listening to God and waiting to hear from Him. I remember Ruth used to say that we were the only people that could go through this because we couldn’t send it to any other family, we held it! I remember we used to joke with her as she told me: “let me fall sick as you go and work” and she got sick and weaker by the day as I continued working.
So being focussed and knowing that what has come has come and not lamenting but praying to God to help you go through it. It is like visiting and you are served tea in cups of different sizes. The one in which you are served is what you will use. You simply have to take the tea. So Ruth used to say “I took that tea, it was only for me and I have to take it and bear the consequences that come with it”
The other lesson for me is knowing that God is Sovereign and we cannot ask Him ‘why?’
Another one is that if you have children, you do not move away from them but stay close to them.
And also knowing your friends in terms of what they can do and what they cannot do; you have to understand them. Otherwise you will get very disappointed and annoyed thinking that they do not understand you or they do not love you.
The other lesson for me has been in how to raise children. As a single parent and as a man I have learnt a lot about raising young ladies and a young man.
Not a lesson but I must say that the church was really supportive during that time of grief. They offered many kinds of help including financial support which they did until I felt it wasn’t necessary and I remember Pastor Andrew telling me: “That is pride, humble yourself”. Later though after explanation, Ps. Andrew understood where I was coming from and he told me “James your ministry is supporting people; you let them support you as well”. I then realised that people who are always supporting others are usually very hard to support. It was really so hard for me to accept the support the church was giving me especially the financial support.
Off the record: We know that you are very passionate about young people, especially the young men marrying well and we hear there is something you are cooking, do you want to give us a sneak peek?
It is really good that the study in “Marrying Well” is in the pipe line. I do not want to see people marrying because it is a wave; my friend has married so I should also marry. Marriage has to be after serious consideration after which one comes to the decision that he needs to marry.
And there are stages or things that people should go through before they make that decision because marriage is an institution where you never graduate.
What should we expect from Marrying Well?
Young men coming together, going through lessons on “marrying well” for a certain period, having sessions of sharing and much more.
Remember all these young men know what they want; you cannot choose for them.