Afrikaans en God

Hier is ‘n skrywe van Stephan Joubert aan E-kerk lesers: Ek het ‘n paar van sy woorde in rooi gemerk en my refleksie volg onder aan.

Van familietaal gepraat, dink net hoe sal jou huweliksmaat voel as jy heeltyd in toekomstaal of hipotetiese taal oor hom of haar praat? As jy gedurig vir almal dinge sou sê soos jy staan op ’n klomp beloftes wat hy of sy vir jou gegee het, sal dit vreemd op hulle oor val. Net so as jy om elke hoek en draai vertel jou huweliksmaat het pas weer drie of vier versoeke van jou laat waar word. Sal ander mense regtig dink jy is ernstig oor jou verhouding met jou huweliksmaat as jy net gedurig deurbrake en antwoorde van hom of haar verwag?

Kry asseblief jou geloofstaal reg. Hoe? Wel, besef opnuut jy is regtig deel van God se nuwe familie omdat jy met jou hele lewe in Jesus Christus glo (1 Johannes 3:1–2). Begryp dat God regtig jou Hemelse Vader is wat vir ewig by jou en al sy ander kinders is. Sy teenwoordigheid, sy liefde, sy nabyheid — dis al wat regtig saakmaak! As jy dit verstaan, sal jou taal God nie langer verskraal tot ’n blote verskaffer van bepaalde religieuse dienste nie. Dan sal jy nie meer op stereotiepe maniere oor Hom praat nie, maar vars, opreg en ook met groot respek! Ware geloofstaal maak jou diep bewus van God se Vaderhart. Dit maak jou nederig.

Laai aanhoudend nuwe familietaal op jou lippe, daardie soort wat vertel dat jy God liefhet met jou hele hart, siel en verstand. Praat groot oor ons groot God. Vertel op kreatiewe maniere van al sy groot dade. Laat jou woorde wys dat sy Gees besig is om jou van heerlikheid tot heerlikheid te verander (2 Korintiërs 3:18). Onthou asseblief die regte geloofstaal is verhoudingstaal. Dis die taal van Goddelike liefde, nabyheid, versorging en omgee. Dis die taal van verwondering, dankbaarheid en tevredenheid. Oefen dit in. Praat gedurig met God as een van sy geliefde kinders. Dan sal jou woorde weer magneties raak in die hemel en op aarde.”

Soos altyd is dit makliker om te verduidelik wat fout is as om die regte ding te doen. Ek doen dit gereeld: terwyl ek in die kar ry en kla oor korrupsie,
sien ek dat ek 20km/uur oor die spoedgrens ry. Ek skinder van die mense wat skinder en ek raak kwaad vir mense wat nie die ‘vrug van die Gees’ uitleef nie!

Stephan doen goed in die artikel hieronder, maar ’n paar van sy keuses het my laat glimlag. Ek besef hy is slim en geleerd, maar ek wonder sommer, aan die hand van die punt wat hy maak oor ’n paar van sy sêgoed.

Dalk is hy net poëties, maar hoe sal dit klink as ek met my vrou praat en bedank vir haar ‘teenwordigheid’? ‘Dankie dat jy hier is’, of selfs ‘om by jou te wees’ klink vir my meer natuurlik as die ‘teenwoordigheid’ wat dalk ’n NG weergawe van die charismate se ‘salwing’ is!

Selfs ‘Hemelse’ Vader is in my kop ook maar cliche. Soos daai ‘e’ aan die einde van ‘Onse’ Vader. God is tricky en moeilik genoeg, om nou nog ’n abstraksie soos hemel in te gooi help my nie om ‘aardse familietaal’ te praat nie.

Hoeveel keer het iemand al met hul kinders of man gepraat van hul ‘nabyheid’. Dis nie ’n groot woord nie, maar in 38 jaar het ek nog nooit iemand hoor praat met iemand in die huis oor hul nabyheid nie.

Dan is daar ‘verskraal’! Eks seker baie mense sou bly wees as woorde mekaar kon verskraal sodat daai jeans beter sou pas, maar God verskraal? Dalk is dit net mooi Afrikaans, maar is die idee van die artikel nie om eenvoudige woorde te gebruik soos mense elke dag praat nie?

Mense hou tog so van die woord en idee van hart as metafoor; ek is mal oor my regte pa en ek het hom nog nooit bedank vir sy ‘vaderhart’ nie. Vars woorde is moeilik as mens sit en tik om iets te publiseer.

So is die ‘laai die taal op jou lippe’ ook pragtige Afrikaans, maar weereens iets wat jy in min Suid Afrikaanse gesinne gaan hoor. In my huis praat ek, ek laai nie taal op my lippe nie.

Ek wil graag verander. Maar by watse ‘heerlikheid’ ek begin en by watse ‘heerlikheid’ ek moet opeindig weet ek nie. By die huis is ’n skaaptjoppie ’n heerlikheid asook ander dinge waaroor ek nie hier mag skryf nie, maar die ‘heerlikheid tot heerlikheid’ is dalk bybelwoorde wat ’n Vrystaatse Eugene Peterson nodig het om bietjie deur te trap.

Laastens, ek probeer normaal met God praat, maar ek sukkel om lekker en real te voel as ek Hom vra om my woorde ‘magneties’ te maak op ‘hemel en op aarde’.

Die artikel van Stephan maak twee briljante punte: eerstens, dat ons met God moet praat soos ons by die huis praat (aka familietaal) en tweedens, sien ons hoe moeilik dit is om dit reg te kry in ’n wêreld waar lesers taaljuweeltjies en slimmighede verwag en prys.

Ambivalence Anonymous

I write to stay sane. I write to recover. I write to discover.

The past two weeks saw my three greatest irritations and problems get solved, pretty much taking care of themselves. I know my top three problems and irritations by the amount of prayer time they usurp.

These three issues were not so serious or insurmountable, nor were they that threatening. They did cause me stress and admin though:
– Noisy neighbours weekly upsetting me with inconsiderate actions, representing the worst of what I associate with certain stereotypes.
– Two maxed out credit cards.
– A colleague I needed to fire, but didn’t want to give up on and threatening labour issues.
These may seem innocuous in the bigger world of serious problems, but they were three little foxes eating away at me on a personal level. What they had in common is that I could not resolve them by myself. I could exert pressure and hope that with enough time my fortunes change, but events outside my direct control brought the bother to me.

Then, just like that, in two weeks: my neighbours move out, SARS pays me a tax return exactly as big as my debt and the unruly staff member resigns. Boom. Bang. Problems gone. Out of the blue, the blues disappeared.

And then the weird anti-climax, the melancholic ambivalence, the what-now, the day after passing metric, the hour after getting your license, the dissatisfaction and the unchuffed tardiness set in.

It’s the weirdest thing, a complete lack of joy and celebration in a situation that is supposed to leave me exuberantly joyous and celebratory.

As I reflect on this weirdness of feeling, I can think of three explanations:
– Fear: I am scared that these familiar problems might be replaced by greater challenges…better
the devil you know.
– Guilt: A Calvinistic guilt and unease for receiving something I did not deserve or make
happen…grace can be a bitch.
– Sadness: A sense of loss when pity and frustration makes way for abdication and abnegation.

In stead of being happy, it is as if I am waiting for the replacements to enter the stage. How silly and sad it is? Sad, because I have been slapped by life so often it seems normative. Silly, if I start self-fulfilling the fears by looking for and creating the replacement issues. Like a fighter who will beat up people, until he inevitably meets his match that clobbers him well. One can argue people who like to fight with their fists are on a masochistic journey of cursed curiosity, in that every victory bring them closer to the proper defeat that inevitably awaits them.

I don’t want to be that guy. I want to be the guy who is ok to take a stress holiday, a break from irritation and difficulty. I want to be the guy that can learn from the rhythms of tolerance, patience and relief.

I want to be the guy who can smile at pressure and ridiculousness.

I want to be the guy with a smile that can be entertained without harbouring bitterness;
– The guy who can smile ironically without sarcasm.

anticipating

Strong chin
Stubborn shoulders
Smart feet
Quiet lips
Resilient heart
Purposeful hands
Far seeing eyes
Layered ears
Grateful thoughts

and

a clean conscience.

The Real Me

Look at me?

I am not the thing that you see.

I live inside.

My outside naturally says much about my inside, but it is not the same thing.

The outside is easy: I train and eat well and you can see the effect.

The inside is tricky: I train and live well, but the real me stays hidden.

It is precisely this hidden nature of the inner life that makes it easy to fake things

It is also the thing that reveals our true nature.

Compare the cost of what people pay for gym membership vs church tithing.
Compare the expenses on personal trainers vs life coaches.
Compare the money used to buy make-up and jewellery vs books.
Compare the investment in clothes and shoes vs materials that could make you grow.
Compare fancy holidays with spiritual retreats.

Our lives reveal our priorities, beliefs and character.
Our budgets and calendars affirms our values.

People are empty, confused, lost and stupid.

And they like it that way…

It’s like a fat man never running, eating an ice-cream and drinking beer…

Only on the inside we are all the fat lazy guy who talks a good game, but are too useless to take action.

What am I investing in my inner life?

In terms of cash, discomfort and time?

Compare that with what I am investing in my external life…

Ouch.

World View

The best way to go through this life
is as a scholar, as a student.
With the existential aim of knowing and becoming
sense and meaning avails itself at every turn.

Death might be the antethisis of life
but it does not give life meaning
since we would have been trapped in a paradoxical farce
of a meaningless life until we die.

the knowledge and expectation of death can bring urgency.
Urgency to what purpose however?
The meaning of life is intensified through awareness of death
and how incredible short our time is.

The nature and content of meaning though is evasive
A desire to connect and contribute
finds expression, for me
in a constant journey towards knowing and learning

I take as machine as possible
I give as much out as possible

And then I die
with a smile

Fucking Poor

Most men, and some women
find in sex
an affirmation of power and acquisition
a journey of intimacy that mirrors the lost age of real adventure
and conquest
A mirror soon replaces the window
– the shadow becomes the thing
and every thrust
a suicidal dagger
into a broken soul
forever lost.

Most women and some men
find in sex
an affirmation of love and belonging
a realisation of intimacy
that mirrors the lost hope of self-love
and connecting
A mirror soon replaces the window
– the shadow becomes the thing
and every thrust
a desperate cry
to be filled and felt
seen and touched.

I still Miss Betty

When the head of the Deutsche Bank in South Africa heard he had to move to Singapore, he was left with a dilemma. What to do with his English Pointer, a well trained working dog that he took out every weekend to hunt with his falcon. People who love dogs know very well that you can’t leave your loved one with a stranger. So, when a mutual friend introduced us, the owner of Betty, told me that I have to meet him at 6 a.m. for five consecutive Saturdays to go walk with Betty so he could ascertain whether I was a worthy new caretaker. We went out every Saturday and Betty found a new home.

The first thing I did with Betty was to regularly go jogging. She was so obedient that I even went riding my mountain bike- with her on the leash, attached to my handle bars! That went well until the day she thought we should go past the lamp post on the left and I thought we should pass by the right side… it would have been funny if the fall wasn’t so painful! Needless to say, the bike riding became jogging again.

Betty was well trained to hunt with a falcon and I was always entertained when I threw a rock in the grass to see how she would freeze, focus and then change angles so that she investigates the sound approaching against up-wind. Betty, like many English Pointers showed the naturally elegant traits of a thoroughbred. Once a friend and I were sitting at a restaurant next to Chicamba dam with Betty laying next to us. A wild falcon was circling and to our amazement Miss Betty jumped up and started ‘working’ the field shadowed by the wild falcon. It was amazing to see the two of them working instinctively together. Betty was an interesting mix of a fearless worker and adventurer on the one hand and also a real domestic lady and comfort seeker on the other. Betty was such a little lady that we renamed her ‘Miss Betty’.

In 2002 when I moved to Mozambique, Betty came along. All papers in order we travelled the 2000km via Maputo in my red Stallion bakkie. We settled in a town called Manica. It was Miss Betty paradise. The scent of wild quail and guinea fowl would always be the triggers that make her genetic disposition explode with a shivering intensity. Above all this was a working dog. She could hold a point for 20 minutes with intense discipline. Being trained with a falcon, she was unfortunately a bit gun shy, and her fear of loud noises was most apparent during thunderstorms. During loud thunderstorms Miss Betty became a house dog.

Miss Betty was an extremely intelligent little Pointer. On a weekend visit to a Colonel’s house where she visited her three GSP friends she discovered a way to escape the confounds of the yard and explore the adjacent veld. None of the GSP’s ever found a way out, but Miss Betty started by working in the opposite direction of her exit point. She climbed into a tree, jumped onto a shed, walked onto the roof of the house, down onto a another wall and then jumped off the front wall. The Colonel and his family was in disbelief, 40 years with very smart dogs, but never have they seen such a manoeuvre!

In the town of Manica, Miss Betty learnt to ‘speak’ her third language. She was raised by the falconer in English, learnt Afrikaans from me and now had to learn all her commands in Portuguese. Wait… Wag… Espera… was followed by Eat it… Eet hom… Comer… She was so good that the local English teacher took her into the English 101 lecture and proved to the kids with various commands that Miss Betty understood more than 10 words in three languages! The same house that functioned as the English School was where she performed a few of her miracles. When a grass lawn was planted everybody had to walk on a specific path laid out with spaced concrete blocks. I started placing her Eukenuba on those blocks and reprimanded her if the diverted of the path. Reward for doing it right and stress for trying to take a short cut. Very soon Miss Betty would first finish the path route and then made a left turn to he destination, even without the food, she would show the kids not to take a short cut over the grass. She did this even when nobody was around and people would peek through the windows from inside the house to see this for themselves.

English Pointers love to run and Miss Betty loved to swim. Chasing geese in the dam was one of her most futile yet stubbornly persistent hobbies. She once kept going for two hours and I learnt that a swimming Pointer cannot catch a duck or goose on a dam. She would easily run 30km of dirt road and once ran so far that when she got home all the cushions of her paws were raw. For a few weeks she struggled to walk and we all felt very sorry for her as she tip toed around looking like a cat with sticky tape around her paws. I had an old farm motorbike and Betty with my command of ‘UP’ would give a mighty jump onto the bike seat and sit neatly on the seat between my legs, up straight with her front legs standing on the petrol tank. It was quite a scene for the local villagers to see the Afrikaner and his dog drive by like that.

In some areas Miss Betty was just a normal dog. She could bark at people at the gate, she loved to play with other dogs and even one minute after feeding could make you think she hasn’t had food for two months. After a bath, she somehow knew she could try to sneak into the house. She would stand next to me and softly place her chin on my leg. She sometimes stood like that for 15 minutes, and I loved it. The end goal of all her conniving and scheming was off course to sit on my lap. Once on the lap she would curl into a little bundle and act like an invisible little puppy, the oddity of her actual large body ignored in favour of a construct that would allow for prolonged state of lap sitting bliss.

For a while we saw that eggs went missing from our chicken coup and we suspected human thieves, since we never saw a broken shell in the coup. And here is where Miss Betty the egg thieve became famously infamous. Once we saw her open the gate, but once she saw that we saw she simply turned around and walked away. The breakthrough came when a group of five of us were sitting in the garden and I saw her circling towards the coup. In a calm voice I told my friends to keep talking and not turn their heads towards the chickens. We saw her walk in and take one egg in her mouth and she walked right past us, got onto the little path that became mandatory habit and went to lie down in her box. Later I went to check and found the unbroken egg under her blanket! We went to bed that night and in the morning I saw the shells in the box, a midnight treat while the humans were sleeping. Her box or bed was also the scene of another mystery: we used to argue about who tucked Miss Betty in on cold winter nights and with everyone saying they didn’t we were left perplexed. Until we saw how the dog pushed the blanket onto her body and kept turning in a little circle until it was even, then with a twisting turn lied down on the edges of the blanket, tucked in perfectly as if a human helped her.

Then, while out of town for work a huge thunderstorm broke out and the next morning as the rays of sun started to dry out Manica, the local youths saw that Miss Betty was gone! The whole town knew her and everyone started looking. Posters and regular broadcasts on the community radio station was met by literally hundred of people going around looking for Manic’a celebrity dog. We could only assume that she jumped out of the yard and started running in fear of the lightning and thunder. The possibility of theft was also an option, knowing her fear of storms, we figured she ran, and no one knew where to or who found her. Knowing how Mozambicans treat their dogs, I was terrified of how Miss Betty’s life might end or play out. I was distraught and cried, more sad than I have ever been over a lost loved one or broken romantic relationship! I felt responsible for not being there. Miss Betty was gone. A week became a month and a month almost became a year… all hope was lost.

I was in Mutare, just across the border of Zimbabwe when a Land Cruiser with two English Pointers reminded me of Betty and brought back so many memories. As I was stroking the two Pointers the owner showed up and I apologised for touching her dogs without permission, explaining that I too had an English Pointer, and that she went missing just under a year ago. I mentioned that I stayed across the border in Mozambique. The woman looked to be in disbelief and asked if it was a bitch, I said ‘yes’.’Is she terrified of lightning?’ the woman asked and I said ‘yes’, now cautiously curious. She proceeded to tell me that she knew where my dog was and that a Zimbabwean expat farmer found her 50 km from Manica and not knowing who she belonged to kept her! I received a cell number and directions, and went straight to the farm. Arriving there I met a pleasant young man who confirmed the story. They gave her a new name and calling her Miss Betty came out of the farm house. We were about 100 meters away, but she stopped and started at my red Stallion bakkie with a curious look on her face. I shouted: ‘Betty come!’ and she sprinted towards me. The embrace, yelping and excitement was the stuff of movies were made of and I halted the euphoria with a strict heel, and she immediately sat next to my left leg. ‘UP’ I said and she jumped into the Stallion. “Ok, it’s your dog” the young Zim farmer said.

Arriving in Manica the town was in joyous disbelief and the story of the prodigal bitch had everyone talking as far as Cape Town and Colorado. Miss Betty lived out her life with me in Manica and eventually passed away at age 11 of tick fever. Her death was indeed terribly sad and seeing her becoming thinner and thinner, weaker and weaker was heart breaking. I asked a local friend to bury her. I couldn’t look at her body. The idea of seeing Betty dead was too much.

As is the case with great people, in death, we we celebrate life. In the case of Miss Betty, a life well lived, by an amazing little English Pointer.

Below: Miss Betty and I on a Sunday stroll in the streets of Manica
Miss Betty in Manica

Below: Miss Betty finally getting out of the water.
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Below: Portrait
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Below: A true lady, never lied with her face on the ground

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Below: Excerpts from my diary when Miss Betty went missing

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The Division of the Pursuit of Happiness

Division of Labour is in a way natural and no one can argue the efficiency.  We produce more and the average person has access to more for cheaper.
I’m typing on this laptop which thousands of individuals made, each doing his own part.
I’m sitting in my flat, which hundreds of specialised people built. Using electricity, generated and distributed by thousands more.
My house was financed through a bank, with even more individual cogs in a big wheel.
The clothes I’m wearing is also a result of the division of labour.
All the above occurred, not because I wanted it, but because others derived a plan as to make a profit. That is, they orchestrated production of goods in excess to enable bartering and stock up on currency.
I can never escape this preoccupation. First, the economic goal was meeting needs, but the process, once it got going did not only meet needs, it created needs.
At what price? Obviously the market puts a monetary price on every singe item that is excess to the producer. The buyer (the wanter) sells some of his own exxcess (time and skill) in order to purchase the excess of the seller.
At what human price?
An ever increasing division of labour turns individuals more and more into machines. It is inescapable and I won’t argue with the relevance and force of the market.
I will however, argue and resist the dehumanising affects the system has on me.
As a spiritual person it is good, in some ways to travel light and not be too anchored, too rooted.
Yet, as a human it is also important to be rooted, to connect. With people and process. That is why even the wealthiest of individuals still have hobbies. The immitation of being involved in a complete process nurtures a hidden part of our humanity. Growing your own vegetables or gardening is perhaps the best example.
Here in my flat, suspended in the sky I make a some symbolic attempts at resistence:
I planted and nurture a few plants. At present I can see new fruits forming on the trees. It is a cyclical process of life and death. The plants and their fruits grow so slowly, but it is beautiful and miraculous in nature.
This morning I baked bread again. Sure, I did not grow the wheat or sugar cane. I did not produce the yeast or salt. But every step closer to the process serves its purpose of grounding my soul. The sight of the dough expanding, the smell of the bread baking and the satisfaction of cutting a freshly baked bread does something for the human inside of me.
All of us cannot be subsistence farmers. Well, we can, but it won’t happen. So I’m not advocating an Amish extremity. I’m advocating a balance. A rhythm that merge a bit of slow into a fast paced division and bartering of labour.
When I was young I told my dad I don’t want to learn how to wire an electric plug. I told him I will make enough money as lawyer to pay someone to do it. It was such a seminal conversation. My dad had the patience and grace to allow me to discover these things by myself. I didn’t get a speech. Only during my first year in Mozambique, at 19, did I start to experience the pleasure of doing things with my own hands. Today when I see Builders Warehouse buzzing with clueless yet excited individuals on a Saturday morning, I know that I am not alone.
Unfortunately Facebook, video games and the television is cheap numbing device that keeps humans from realising all of this. Ironically, TV, Facebook, playstation, magazines, clothing, beer and restaurants exist due to individuals devising excess production to eat our money! They don’t care about us wasting hours and keeping our minds numb. They care that someone pays for the TV, the decoder, the movie, the shoes, the bling, the music, the beer. They produce in excess through the division of labour so that others will spend their own excess (in the form of currency) on these products. Some products are obviously better or less harmful than others. Hats off to the bastards that get you to buy cigarettes and shooters. The price we pay for consuming useless things is a bombardment of advertising that floods and pollutes our minds to the extent of us not realising it.
We need to learn to say no to some things before we are allowed to say yes to others. What do you say no to? What do I say no to?
As I get older, I want to move away from the spectacular, the comfortable and the quick.
I want to discover rhythms of slower and deeper moments.
Shaving with my old fashioned cut-throat razor is one of these things, like bread baking or gardening that slows me down. By activating my hands and seeing a tangible complete outcome or result of a particular labour I am connecting myself with a way that I think is healthier and more human, more humane.
We are all in pursuit of happiness. So this is not a point of morality or spirituality; although it might affect both.
For some the pursuit of happiness entails new shoes, music videos, beer, smart cars, fashion, gossip, fast foods, walking in the mall or watching TV shows.
For some it entails creation, reading, growing, traveling, writing or cooking meat on a fire you made yourself.
Mostly it entails a weird mix of all of the above.
I won’t say one is right and one is wrong. If putting mags on your car and smoking cigarettes makes you genuinely happy; go for it.
My point is that I think the system sells happiness as a shallow by product of entrepreneurial profit drive. Our happiness are automatic assumptions derived from the market that creates, advertise and sell products that are easy to like… The super rich rely on our uselessness and ingeniousness to consume what they create for us.
My way to escape some of that is to do very basic things that are holistic rather than dissected.
My pursuit of happiness hopes to do basic things well and to derive satisfaction from integrated processes. Why? It makes me feel grounded and in touch. And being grounded in my body and outside, grounds my heart and mind, which in turn allows me to think more clearly.
And being smart and wise (one day) is a non negotiable in my pursuit of happiness.

Learn, Un-learn, Repeat

When we are small we learn at a heck of a pace.

Then we start learning less.

Then we start learning useless things.

Then we start learning the wrong things.

Feeling clever, consolidating our knowing makes us feel safe.

Learning implies the acceptance of not knowing.

Not knowing makes us feel unsafe.

To learn, we need to unlearn.

Its so hard that we need tricks, starting small.

As an adult some of my interesting and humbling learnings include:

Playing football, speaking Portuguese, welding, shaving with a cut throat, playing golf…

I should find more: learning Zulu, understanding my camera, handy-man and carpentry, formal studies, keeping rhythm.

To remain a learner is hard, but we can make it fun.

Finding the habit of listening, looking and learning in small things, sets us up to be able to grow and change when it comes to fundamentals.

 

 

The Bearable Shortness of Being

There is only one thing each person has to discover. There is only one thing that each of us should comprehend deeply, that we should ‘get’ or ‘catch’. The one thing that will change everything else is if you understand how short life is. Grasping how short my time on earth is will change everything.

Our concept and expectation of time is instinctively on auto-pilot, but seldom articulated. We adapt our behaviour automatically based on our expectation of time. If you go to an exotic island on a luxury boat and you know you have two days to spend on the island, you will behave in a completely different way than you would have if you shipwrecked on the island and expected to be stuck there for 30 years. We behave differently when we know our ride is waiting. And despite our contradictory expectation of indefiniteness – our ride is in fact waiting.

Once we realise how quickly we grow up, how soon we leave behind the cuteness of being a toddler, how quickly the uncertainty and arrogance of a teenager passes by, how fleeting those students years are, how fast the next generation grows up and how quickly our bodies remind us that we are set on a very particular path of outward decay; then we realise that our journey on this planet is shorter than we thought. Years fly by. We realise all of this when we look back and realise that time is running out and we never realised the crazy ambitions and dreams of our youth.

Every day is followed by night and each sign of life is mysteriously intertwined with pending death. This can be depressing, ugly and sad, or it can just be what it is. Once we know how short our time in these bodies are, we can let go of some of our vanity. Once we realise how short our stay on this planet is we realise that we can own nothing and that everything is gifts. A gift not given, but loaned. Once you get to borrow something for a short time, you learn to hold it in the correct way, to look at it in the right way. People, experiences, nature, places, art, music, achievements, or whatever- these are all temporal gifts that will come and go.

It seems our ‘natural’, perhaps animal instinct is to act as if time is endless. We gather and build and hold onto things as if we will live for 2000 years. We hold onto people as if they will live forever. We cling to ideas as if the changing of minds and truths threaten our very being. We are mostly in denial of how fast life is flying by. Why? Maybe because if we realise the loss of what has gone, if we articulate the failures of wasted years it will place us in front of such a clear mirror that we would be forced to re-evaluate our ideas, our world views, our patterns our behaviour and our choices. We subconsciously think that if we sneak along in mediocrity nobody will notice- not even ourselves.

But we know.

We get glimpses.

We need brave and courageous friends to help us fight for the rays of life that we are so so accustomed to avoid.

Time is ticking… We are getting old. Each day a hundred ungrasped opportunities pass away.

Let us not get trapped in cycles of desperate pettiness. Let us not get addicted to pathetic patterns of  perverted self-love.

Life is short.

We get one chance and we’ve lost half of that already…

 

 

 

 

 

I have an urgent obligation to search out and appreciate every drop of beauty, to juxtapose evil and sadness with beauty and goodness so the latter can be illuminated even in the presence of the former.