2015: A Brief Reflection

It would be remiss of me if I failed to reflect upon the year gone by. A year that has gone by far too quickly. A year that I realise I was never ready nor equipped for. A year that I still feel I am readying myself for. A year of first experiences, of lingering thoughts, tuggings at my heart, that will forever be etched upon my every waking moment, and securely stowed in the treasure chests of my heart as a lifetime of memories. A brief synopsis … my feeble attempt to capture these life-changing moments will always be too inadequate to express these breath-taking moments…

One early February evening, a little soul, too little to be real and yet too real to be too little, entered and changed me life completely, forever. A little soul who bestowed upon me the privileged name of daddy.

A wife, a partner, a friend, in the person of Mia-Cara who has become my all – not because she demands it, not because of a ring on my finger, not because of an romantic gesture – but because she has my heart. A woman of strength, of courage, of perseverance. A woman I do not deserve, and yet, one who stands beside me through this daunting journey called life. In the words of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music), “I must have done something good…

A flight so short that was so long. A meeting of family. An introduction that was so fleeting, so profound and yet so poignant. Will a little soul remember names, faces, voices? Will they be strangers or remain family despite distance, despite a loss of familiarity?

A symposium littered with academics. Names I have only previously read about, my audience, my first conference proceeding. Nerves unsettled, mouth parched, words failing me, the exit too far to be an option.

Coloured insecurity amongst a room of strangers. A misunderstood privilege, a misdirected fear. A glimmer of friendship, of support, of realness. An exposed introvert who struggled to make sense of the contradiction.

A worshiping culture too foreign to be real, or to understand. A sea of families that would be underrepresented in my broken community. An intellectual acceptance of the Gospel that would have no place in an emotional embracing of the presence of God that breaks through poverty, hopelessness and desperateness.

Yet, it will remain a year that will forever whisper in my heart the words uttered by Andre de Villiers,

“I remember the days of my life
I recall the faces- mostly yours
Magic moments – life was a mystery
There’s no place on earth that- we’d rather be”

I am becoming…

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.