I am acutely and finitely aware that time does not wait for anyone.
I remember moments in time that has transformed me into who I am today, completing matric (grade 12) 23 years ago, accepting Jesus Christ as personal saviour 21 years ago, starting my first job in retail 21 years ago, becoming of age (21) 19 years ago, losing my mother to cancer 15 years ago, completing my first degree 12 years ago, being ordained in christian ministry 11 years ago, purchasing my first car 8 years ago, adopting my dog 7 years ago, completing my second degree 6 years ago, becoming engaged 6 years ago, getting married 4 years ago, beginning my career in higher education 4 years ago, relocating provinces 1 year ago and becoming a father four weeks ago.
In between are more moments that will continue to have tremendous influence on my life forever, my father remarrying and the difficulty of a blended family, my eldest brother marrying and being the first of my three brothers to leave home, family illnesses, retrenchments, unemployment, challenges with economics and social taboos. Yet, all these moments are as fresh in my memory as the day that it happened. I can remember the taste, the smell and feeling of all these moments stretching as far back as 23 years ago.
I remember loneliness, rejection, and acceptance. I remember the closeness, acceptance and love of family life. I also remember the hurt, betrayal and collapse of family.
I remember first-hand experience of crime living on the Cape Flats in being mugged more than three times, two at knife point and one at gun point, and all three times I thought I was going to die. I remember oppression as a coloured in South Africa. I remember poverty and want and not to mention the many hand-me-downs.
Life really is a tapestry of many moments woven together, whether significant or insignificant. Through all of this I am fearful that I do not have the capacity to be a perfect father to my one month old daughter. In the same way I was fearful that I would not be able to be the perfect husband to my wife, we are now married for four years. I am encouraged by a saying in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), “there is no way to be a perfect parent, but a million ways to be a really good one.” It does one no good to beat yourself up when that perfection seems beyond grasp. It is our continued attempt in pursuing that perfection, the ideal, no matter how illusive or mythological it is or may seem, that matters.
And to recall the words of a friend, “I am becoming…” God is not done with me yet, but even if he is, I feel that I have received more than I deserve.