Category Archives: Living, made possible

Thank You

For all the good and the bad

the nice and the ugly

the easy and the difficult

for talents and faults

for righteousness and sin

 

For up and down

for heavy and light

for work and for rest

for the forest and the path

for light and for dark

for day and for night

 

For building and breaking

for health and for illness

for ease and for pain

for having and lacking

for sanity and madness

 

For peace and anxiety

for joy and depression

for yesterday and tomorrow

And for today

 

Because how else would I have known

that your grace is enough for me

 

How else would I have learnt

that your love overflows

 

How else would I have come to rest

in the safety of your arms

 

And how would I have understood

That whether on mountains or in valleys

You will always be there

Advertisements

Fallen Heroes

Hansie Cronje

Hansie Cronje (1969 – 2002) was elected as the South African Protea cricket captain at the age of 24, and held that position from 1994 to 2000.  In his day, Hansie was considered as the best cricket captain in the world, especially in one-day matches.  He was known as a gentleman.

On 7 April 2000, Delhi police charged Hansie with fixing South Africa’s one-day-international against India and released transcripts of an alleged conversation between Cronje and a bookie.  The conversation centred around who would be playing and who not, who is in on the deal and how much would be paid to Hansie and his team-mates Pieter Strydom, Nicky Boje and Herschelle Gibbs.  Hansie denied any involvement in the matter and all of South Africa rallied behind him.

On 11 April 2000, Hansie called a meeting with Dr. Ali Bacher, the MD of the SA cricket board and confessed to being dishonest in India.  He said that he received $10,000 to $15,000 for providing information and forecasts but that he had never fixed a match in India.  He was sacked.  In a controversial investigation, other international cricket players were found guilty of match-fixing but they all denied it.  In October he was banned from cricket for life by the United Cricket Board of South Africa.

Hansie died in George on 1 June 2002 when the light aircraft he was in crashed into the Outeniekwa mountains in George.  He was 32 years old.  He will be remembered by some as the only cricket player in the world to confess to taking money from match-fixing, and as a gentleman.  By others he will be remembered as that “Christian that sinned”.

Joost van der Westhuizen

Joost van der Westhuizen was born in 1971 and retired as the most capped Springbok rugby player of all times.  At that time, he held the record for the most test tries scored by a South African rugby player.  He was regarded as one of the greatest half-backs of all time.

In February 2009 two newspapers broke a story claiming that they had a video of Joost engaging in sexual play with an unidentified woman and snorting a white substance.  Joost initially vehemently denied that he was the man on the video but in November confessed that it was him.  In that time another woman came forward claiming that she had an affair with Joost while he was married.

On 12 May 2011 it was made public that Joost suffers from a form of motor neurone disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and only has another two to five years to live.  The disease is incurable.

***

The stories of Hansie Cronje and Joost van der Westhuizen are similarly fascinating.  Both confessed their Christian faith throughout their sporting careers and achieved the highest accolades possible in their fields.  Yet, both succumbed to ‘sin’, were greatly humiliated and either died unexpectedly like Hansie, or became gravely ill with very little time to live, like Joost.

In a world where religious tolerance is oh-so part of being politically correct, it somehow does not extend itself to Christianity.  Anyone professing to be a Christian is frowned upon, slighted and considered somewhat of an idiot.  And so it was with glee that the fall of these two men were received.  They were sneered at, humiliated, slandered, mocked and castigated.  Oh God, there but by your grace go I.  How they must have suffered.

But this is what happens when we put mere mortals on pedestals, we pave the way for their fall.  We line them up for stumbling.  No man should be treated as a god.  We make them, and when they displease us, or we find that their feet are made of clay just like ours, we break them.

What they did was wrong, but no more so than the wrongs I commit each day.  I however do not find myself on the world’s stage where everyone can boo or throw stones at me.  I have to ask for forgiveness from few.  An idol from many.  And forgiveness is not something freely parted with because we love to judge, we love to hold grudges and we love to hate.  When someone like Hansie is publicly humiliated, it makes us look and feel more righteous.  And so we can be armchair judges, criticizing how others chose to live their lives and severely punishing those who, as decided by ourselves, were not allowed to transgress in the first place.

How are the mighty fallen

How much lower though,the throwers of stones

“The past truly no longer matters to me. I am no longer the arrogant rugby player who needs the accolades from the crowd or the man with the incessant need to impress society. I am me and I am a father, and that is more than enough right now.”

http://joost.co.za/about-joost/life-at-present


The ridiculousness of us all

I get the most bizarre emails and questions every day.  I can either get annoyed, or laugh.  And to be honest, I choose the latter.

For instance, a lady enquired about a course today and I replied by email, giving the details and asking if she wants me to reserve her place.  She replies by telling me:  “No, I will go back home the same day”.

What?  Really?  I have a hotel?

But it has to do with a different frame of reference, a different education and a different culture.  What seems ridiculous to me is a perfectly normal assumption to the other person.  Like when they tell me they are on their way to Hollywood but need to start somewhere.  Or that they are the next big thing on the world’s stage.  Hey!  I hope so too.

I do have days where I get annoyed because it is one ridiculous question or comment after the other.  But luckily most of the time my sense of humour wins the battle and I land up sitting here with tears in my eyes.

 

 

 


She waits

Everyday she waits.  Her insides twisted as her fingers tug and pull.

Everyday he returns.  The boat filled with catch.

Each time he hugs her, and bathes her in his joy.

“Mother, you know I and the land, and the air and the sea, are all in God’s hands.  Should a wave cause my boat to capsize, and me to drown, I shall remain in those hands still”.

At last she understands.

And in this belief, shares his joy.

 

 


There is enough time in a day

Here are two facts:

  • The more you do, the more you get done
  • The less you do, the less time you have even for little things

When my drinking was at its worst I hardly functioned.  Everything seemed like an insurmountable mountain, so I just shelved it.  Which meant I had to do the same with every new task after that.  It all just snowballed.  I copied what I had to do today into tomorrow’s calendar, then into the day after and so forth until even re-writing it became too much.  The guilt and worry over all my unfinished business haunted my nights.

Under normal circumstances though, I find that even when I have a lot to do, there is always a bit of time to tackle something else.  Because it is true that each day has enough time for the things of that day.  And you will be rewarded with that wonderful sense of accomplishment when you have completed all you had set out to do.

Your body produces adrenalin when you are busy which propels you forward.  It helps you do and achieve more.

It is so easy to get home tired and be unavailable to those who love you most.  A good rule is to allow yourself and/or your spouse thirty minutes from when you step in the door to unwind.  To do whatever you want.  Afterwards it will be easier to face and listen to your family.  We are not a chatty household.  But we always know what is happening in one another’s lives.  When there is a problem, I set the table and we discuss the issue at dinner.

I am always so pleased when I complete the evening’s cooking because it is the very last thing I have to do.  After that I can officially wipe out the “5th of February 2012”. There is a great sense of relief in retiring to my bedroom.  It is also the time that partners talk and enjoy one another.

Getting through each day without worry or stress requires faith.  It also requires staying in the moment and not running ahead of yourself.  When we were tied up on the floor during our armed robbery, I had the pleasure of realizing the concept of staying in the moment.  There was no point in thinking about what they could do to us.  What use would it have been had I considered that they could gang-rape me?  And that they probably had AIDS?  Or that they could shoot us?  Instead, I stayed focused on what was happening at that instant, so that I could do whatever was best for that moment.  The preservation of our lives outweighed all scary future scenarios.  I was fully anchored in each exact second.  Which created a sense of calm in everybody and ultimately saved our lives.

So, make a list of everything that needs to be done today.  And don’t stress about it.  Tackle them one at a time without worrying about the next one.  And if there is something that you cannot get to, put it under tomorrow.

Because, tomorrow is a brand new day.


Blissful Escape

Most Interesting Bookstores of the World:  http://www.miragebookmark.ch/most-interesting-bookstores.htm

I love books.  I am still teased today because at family do’s I always had my nose in a book.  It was, and is, a blissful escape.  I escaped so much that I have more memories of fictional characters than of my own childhood.

My mother always warned me that reading in bad light would affect my eyes.  She was right.

I will only touch on some authors and books here because I am not writing a book and it is inevitable that I will leave some out that are just as important.

The last book I read was ‘George Sand A Woman’s Life Writ Large’ by Belinda Jack.  All I will say about George Sand is:  “Wow”.

Right now I am reading ‘The Life of Benvenuto Cellini, written by Himself’.  Only on page 5 but looks like it is going to be fun.

I am also reading ‘If You Want to Write’ by Brenda Ueland on my Kindle.  She draws from William Blake who is, oh, so heavenly.

One of my favourite authors is Charles Dickens.  Nobody else has developed characters as full and rich as he has.

I love Mark Twain.  I have all of his books and letters on my Kindle.

One of the most profound books I have ever read was ‘The Autobiography of Madame Guyon’ by herself, i.e. Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon.  One does not have to agree with her understanding of spirituality to know that she was preciously rare.

Stephen King is an awesome author.  I have only read about three of his more twisted tales but do check out ‘On Writing’.  It reads like a memoir.  I am awaiting my order of Secret Windows Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing. 

‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Jonathan Swift.  Swift was a master satirist.  The story of Gulliver is about people.  And how ridiculous we really are.

‘The Grapes of Wrath’ by John Steinbeck.  Let me quote the Amazon description:  “The story of one Oklahoma family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity”.

‘Out of Africa’ by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen).  The opening sentence “I have a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong hills ……” is the beginning of a journey that cannot but stir you deeply.

‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ by Irving Stone.  Michelangelo brought to life.

Wally Lamb writes beautifully.  ‘The Hour I first Believed’ and ‘I know this Much is True’.

One of my favourite local books is The Deneys Reitz Trilogy – ‘Adrift on the Open Veld.  The Anglo-Boer War and its Aftermath 1899 – 1943’.  History is fascinating to me, particularly the Anglo-Boer War.  A better account has yet to be written.  This historical piece reads like a novel.  You feel as though you are in the saddle with the young Deneys.

Dalene Matthee introduced me to the wonders of Knysna, the Tsitsikama Forrest and surround.  Her stories are based on fact and wonderfully funny, complex and spell-binding.  ‘Moerbeibos’ being a favourite.

At a quick glance, the books here mentioned (and ommitted) have a couple of things in common:

  • They are well written, but some were crafted
  • Most of them are amusing, and those that aren’t, still produce deep emotions
  • Many of them were biographical in nature, or based on fact
  • But they are ALL, inspirational

Wish there was more time … … …


On blogging

I am now in my fourth month of blogging and I have decided to capture the experience so far, in the hope that when I look back, perhaps in a year, that I, and the experience, would have matured or altered in some way.

Why did I start in the first place?  For one reason and one reason only, to get back into the habit of writing.  I had stopped for so many years that I just the thought of writing scared me.  I saw blogging as a way to get back into the groove, which meant, writing daily.

Initially I found it difficult to blog every day.  I had a million excuses and fifty other things to do.  I would stare at my blank screen, read my mail, write a sentence, check my Facebook page, etc.  Ad nauseum.  I do still do it but less often.

I have learnt that you can skip a day or so, but missing a week diminishes traffic to such an extent that you almost have to start from scratch.  Or maybe just when You are a new blogger.  Anyway, the discipline that goes with the exercise has been so beneficial.  In the beginning I felt that I had to finish my daily post by a certain time.  Now it doesn’t matter anymore, as long as I write.

With a bit more writing behind me, I have found that the editing time has decreased somewhat.  Initially I would write for thirty minutes and edit for three hours.  Now I am less anal about it and to be honest, I really don’t have that kind of time.  I have eased up on myself, allowing for the fact that nothing in life is perfect.  Anyway, even had I edited one post for twenty hours, I would still not have been satisfied.  At some point one has to let go.  Put the baby in the crib so to speak.  A useful tool that I learnt early on in life is not to start editing until I had finished writing.  Editing while writing takes long and is discouraging.  Writing should not be a chore.

At first I had difficulty coming up with daily ideas and made use of Digg, Plinky and similar websites.  Now, I grab an event or a thought that stood out during the day, and elaborate on it.

Today strangely enough, was different.  I had no clue what to say.  I turned to my son for ideas.

Typically boy, he replied:  “I don’t know Mommy, anything” .

“Please Kyle, just throw words at me, anything that comes into your head”.

“I really can’t think of anything Ma, why don’t you just write about blogging”.

Thank you Kyle.

I have learnt a load of new skills.  From blog building to tagging and publicising on other platforms.  The list is endless.  And as life would have it, no sooner had I learnt a new skill than I needed it for another area in my life.  For once I did not have to waste time asking Google.

I must confess, I do not look for blogs, simply because I don’t have the time.  But, when someone likes one of my posts, or comments on it, I take the time to read their About page as well as their latest post.  If it appeals to me, I follow the blog via email so that I can read it on my phone at night.

As for my own blogging style, it is not topical, nor am I concerned with current events.  I have opened myself up and I blog honestly, about myself.  I do refrain from using names when I write about others because I have no intention of offending or hurting them.

I don’t know if my blog is enjoyable, or whether any of it speaks to anyone.  What I do know is that if only one person learnt something, laughed at something, or thought about something after I had shared of myself, it is a bonus.  Over and above what I had set out to do.

There is a lot I still don’t know about blogging but I know that in time, I will learn.  I don’t know what would be considered a good amount of traffic.  What is a good hit rate after six months, or a year?  But I don’t care about that too much.  Like I said, I blog for no other reason than to write.  I would be lying though if I said I did not like seeing feet through my cyber heart.

In summary I can say that on the whole, blogging has been richly rewarding to me personally.  Not because thousands of people read what I have to say, but because I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I press ‘publish’.  I really do.  And it is because I did what I love.  The reward is even greater on the days that I did not feel like it.

So, as for my blog and I, we shall soldier on.