Monday, 17 November 2014

One racist, One peanut butter and One good heart

Something pretty sad happened this weekend.

I went off to Pick 'n Pay with my BFF on Saturday after spectacular cappuccinos at Abreu (again - thankyou).

I only bought 2 things so I sped through the Express till (sped is an exaggeration, there is nothing Express about that till in this branch).  The less than 10 items sign seems to mean nothing to most people.

While hanging around opposite the end of the tills, waiting for BFF, I was lazily watching the people paying.  Along came a guy.  Nice clothes but obviously old and extremely worn everywhere.  I judged him to be about early 20's.  The reason I watched him is because he had 2 loaves of bread, one tin of fish and a small bottle of peanut butter.  He looked like he really needed it.  It made me sad for reasons that I am not going to talk about here.

When time came to pay there was much money counting, from every pocket.  There seemed to be a problem.  He counted again.  The cashier counted.  You could see his deliberation of the items bought and the peanut butter was handed back and voided by the supervisor.  He picked up his items and walked out.

That jar of peanut butter lay there on the side, waiting to be returned to the shelf.  I looked at it and suddenly it represented to me so many things, injustice, the gravy train, corruption, unfairness, greedy people getting rich at the expense of others and in turn a lot of personal feelings ... shrouded in a grey cloud of hurt that I was carrying on that day.

I closed the distance between me and the cashier in record time, to enquire how "short" his money had actually been.  70c.  Seventy cents.  Only 70 paltry cents stood behind him and a nutritious spread for his bread.  And trust me this was not a scam artist, he was hungry.  I will not allow my new found cynicism about life make me think otherwise.  I grabbed R20 out my jeans, shoved it in her hand and told her I would be back for the change.  Grabbing the jar I dashed because I had to catch him now (it is a big centre and running is not my forte').  In an attempt to help the cashier shouted to security at the door to catch him.  Perhaps not the best assistance.

Picture this.  A weather beaten young black guy (and the fact that I highlight race, which I hate doing, is relevant to the story), walking whilst two (one would have been fine) security guards run after him, followed by a white (yes it is relevant) woman clutching a Black Cat peanut butter jar.

Catching up to him in a trio, he turned and looked at us.  I saw fear.  And that made me gasp.  I quickly planted the jar in his hands and said to him "Here, I saw you were short, I have paid it for you".  As luck would have it his English was minimal, he could not grasp what I said and was probably scared to death as I had the security with me.  I did ask them to "stand down" haha, but they remained steadfast.

Now this is where it got tricky .... along came Mr White Guy.  PT shorts, boep and tshirt with a picture of a former flag of a country that changed its flag in 1994.  I quickly told Bambi in headlights aka my peanut butter guy again that he must take it because I knew "hier kom moeilikheid".  "Wat het hierdie ***** gedoen Mevrou" came the instant question.  Now some of you more "serious" readers may say that he was coming to my defence.  Very noble, but perhaps he should have asked if he could help, before he threw the racial slur.  Along came man number 2 "Nice language", he commented to Mr Tshirt, "I think you owe an apology".  I knew that there was more chance of Zuma showing his face in Parliament than that happening.

By now the security guards were translating in 2 Black languages the frikken peanut butter story and I was wishing I had paid more attention to the Sotho classes in school.  Suddenly the light dawned.  Keeping an eye on Mr Racist with Boep on his left, his eyes lit up and he said "Thankyou",  3 times.

He went on his way, but the security stood fast.  Kudos to them.  "Happy with yourself?"  I asked my huge friend.  "Proud?".  "I bought him a damn item of food".  "What the hell have you done for someone else today? "

Would I do it again?  Yes.  I have done it before.  For White ladies, White men, White kids, Black ladies.  Black men.  Black kids.  Hell can you believe I even bought a Checkers cashier and packer a Coke each earlier this year when it was 6pm and they obviously had a torrid day behind them.  How could I do something so shocking".   My kids will tell you that I remind them almost daily that there is always someone worse off than each and every person in life.

So I urge you all .... do it ...... pay it forward.

Because maybe one day that person at the till returning an item will be you.  Don't be so sure that your life cannot change in an instant.

Till soon
c'est la vie

Saturday, 15 November 2014

This is how it works

For those friends that I will never walk away from.  And who will never walk away from me.
And also for my friend who I need to remind constantly that there is a lot of love from many people for. 

“This is how it works. I love the people in my life, and I do for my friends whatever they need me to do for them, again and again, as many times as is necessary. For example, in your case you always forget who you are and how much you're loved. So what I do for you as your friend is remind you who you are and tell you how much I worry about you . And this isn't any kind of burden for me, because I like who you are very much. Every time I remind you, I get to remember with you, which is my pleasure.” 
― extracted from paragraph by James Lecesne

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Cracking open the Bible Books

I have had a number of friends be part of a Bible Study group.  I was never sure what this was.  A continuous group reading of the Bible? A quiz like situation where you were lost if you did not know all the Books in the correct order? 

I went to a Bible Study group many many years ago.  Twice.  It was a mixture of the two scenarios above and I battled to fit into either.  I found myself paging frantically through my Bible, trying to look as if I knew exactly where the Book being referred to was located, repeating in my head what we all know, Genesis and then... Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ..... and hoping to spot Hebrews along that last route, which of course I wouldn't. Because it isn't.  I never went back.  

This year our Parish started Bible Study and feeling enthused I decided to join.  Well.  Look. At. Me. Now.  

I know that all the "ians" are together ... Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians ... I call them the Ian family.  I know that when I get to James, Peter and John that I have just missed Hebrews one step before.  I know that any name that I probably battle with slightly is more than likely in the Old Testament.  I know that Psalms and Proverbs are there and a myriad of other little laws for myself.  I won't be able to recite the order, but at least I do not look for 1 Timothy around the Song of Songs area :).  Why?  Because T comes after S.  Simple hey?

I am now working on finding and knowing which stories I will find where.  I would love to have someone talk about Jesus Healing a Man Born Blind ... and BOOM I know exactly where it is .... now that I know where to find Jesus Talks with a Samaritan Woman, I am waiting with anticipation for someone to mention it and I can throw into the conversation "yes, mmmm John 4, one of my favourites".

Our Bible Study group is lead by our Parish Priest.  I am the youngest attendee (I think) so I am surrounded by a LOT of wisdom.  This is a wonderful group of women, plus Fr Chris and sometimes Deacon Tony.  Fr C knows the Bible as well as I know the best coffee shops in Pretoria.  Beyond extremely well.  There are ladies in the group who can cross reference like nobody's business - I still look a little like Bambi in headlights at some stages. 

But these Thursday morning classes ........ they make the Gospel come alive ... we learn that the initial reading is always pretty superficial and then we do what Fr C calls "scratching Scripture" and we break open every word and every nuance of that piece .... finding new meaning, new expression, forcing us to think out the box.  We look at the map in the Bible and we get totally immersed in the stories we read ..... when Fr C says "isn't this amazing?" .... we agree ..... damn, this is!   This usually leads us to a related debate on a more modern day issue and it really is an hour of sharing, interaction and learning. 

No get together at a "kerk" is complete without coffee and cookies.  We are no exception.  We huddle around the little Nespresso machine and discuss the day to come and then we go our separate ways .... me being fortunate that my office is only ten steps down the passage ....... and all day I mull that particular Scripture piece in my head. 

So, how do you feel about "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed"...... do you know where to find that?? 

till soon 
c'est la vie xxx 

2019 - new beginnings and other excitement

2019 is a big year for me.  For the first time in probably 30 years I am not in a fixed Monday to Friday job.  This is huge.  I return from...