Lessons from home

As human beings we all have our places of origin – the places where we came together as persons and individuals; where it all began for us. Most people call this beginning roots. Sometimes our roots are fixed in a certain place; at times they have their abode in a certain time period in our lives; and at other times an experience can be the site where our roots are entrenched.

My roots have become tangled over the last few years. Actually…if I had to be honest with you and with myself then I would have to confess that my roots have always been tangled. This is because I have never felt tied to one place, one land or the earth for that matter. My sense of being has always been fixed in things I cannot see or name physically. So for me, the place where I came and still come together is in that space where my individuality meets with God’s divine creation. That is where my roots are.

I’m thinking about roots because I just came back from visiting the land of my birth; the land of my beginning; my home.  It was the longest I was home in the last three years so it was blisteringly special. I haven’t sat down to properly take stock of my visit but here are a few things I was made to re-learn;

Forbearance

I have an incredible mother. For the last two years since Dad passed away, she has had to live in an incomplete house with no water or electricity; she had to fend for herself and bear the unfairness of people, especially men, simply because she is a woman and a widow. I look at her and I marvel at her resilience and courage. Her fortitude to keep the faith and rise above her trying difficulties is simply phenomenal. She reminded me that there is a difference between patience and forbearance. Sometimes we are patient not knowing the end result of that patience and sometimes we are patient but still manage to get ourselves twisted into a bad attitude about our having to wait. Forbearance is not like that.  It is sure that good will be the ultimate outcome of whatever is being borne. And when it pertains to people, it implies having an understanding of one’s own weaknesses and the weaknesses of others, and thus a willingness to overlook other people’s injustices. This is not weakness nor is it a failure to stand up for oneself. On the contrary, it is power that moves God to act on behalf of mortal men. 

It only takes a moment to lose your cool and say or do something you will regret

I admire my two brothers, Mantabe and Sam. They have one of the most beautiful and peaceful dispositions I have ever seen in a human being – of course they take after Dad 🙂  They have the ability to take offences in a way that makes the offender look stupid. I, on the other hand, lack this gift – this ability to handle anger in a dignified and elegant manner.

On one of the days, Mom, my nephew and I went into town and on our way back, while trying to board a bus during the busiest time of the day, my nephew got pushed by someone and I reacted. In an instant, I had done and said something that I lived to regret. The altercation that followed this incident between this person and I lasted close to an hour. Yes, sometimes these things cannot be avoided but still, I was confronted with the power of anger and just how destructive it can be.

Just because it appears as though we are not making any progress doesn’t actually mean we are not.

I spent a lot of time flying this holiday. In a space of three weeks I flew eight times. There are aspects of flying that I absolutely love and others I loathe. I enjoy the time it presents to me to simply sit in one spot for hours (especially if it’s a long haul flight) and just think. I enjoy how bewildered my mind gets because I’m forced to sit and not go about my workaholic tendencies. I also appreciate the amazing view of the earth from the skies.

Flying lets you see the bigger picture of what the world looks like from above. It makes you realise just how puny you are. My flight from Johannesburg to Doha was particularly interesting because for the first time I opted for a window seat. I prefer aisle seats; I don’t like window seats because I simply don’t want to know just how high off the ground I am. But this time, I found myself mesmerised by how close to the stars I was. I was mesmerised by the light on the wing of the plane. It seemed still and fixed in one spot in the night air and yet it was moving at hundreds of kilometres airspeed per hour. 

Likewise, sometimes in life it appears as though we are not making any progress; as though we are not moving but be rest assured that the process of life is faithfully moving us along.

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