La La Land

The road the righteous travel is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until daylight has come. -Proverbs 4:18

Recently, my husband and I watched the movie La La Land. I am not sure that it could be described as a masterpiece, but it was sweet and full of pursuing one’s passion. The story reminded me again of how challenging it can be to follow your heart and follow your dreams. Some will recognize “following your heart” as actually being “following your calling”. The movie inspired me even more to do just that.

One day, I will get there.

A famous South African poet, NP van Wyk Louw, wrote in his poem “Die Beiteltjie” about his belief that, if a person would just keep at pursuing their goals and dreams, they will have a breakthrough one day. Here is the poem in Afrikaans (too beautiful) and English.

Die Beiteltjie

Ek kry ‘n klein klein beiteltjie,
ek tik hom en hy klink;
toe slyp ek en ek slyp hom
totdat hy klink en blink.

Ek sit ‘n klippie op ‘n rots:
-mens moet jou vergewis:
‘n beitel moet kan klip breek
as hy ‘n beitel is-

ek slaat hom met my beiteltjie
en dié was sterk genoeg:
daar spring die klippie stukkend
so skoon soos langs ‘n voeg:

toe, onder my tien vingers bars
die grys rots middeldeur
en langs my voete voel ek
die sagte aarde skeur,

die donker naat loop deur my land
en kloof hom wortel toe-
só moet ‘n beitel slaan
wat beitel is, of hoe?

Dan, met twee goue afgronde
val die planeet aan twee
en oor die kranse, kokend,
verdwyn die vlak groen see

en op die dag sien ek die nag
daar anderkant gaan oop
met ‘n bars wat van my beitel af
dwarsdeur die sterre loop.

The Small Chisel
Translation by CJD Harvey

I take a chisel, very small,
I tap it and it rings;
I sharpen it and sharpen it
until it shines and sings.

I place a stone upon a rock:
-for surely it’s well known
a chisel that is genuine
should easily break a stone-

I hit it with my chisel hard
and, strong enough its point,
the stone is cleanly split in two
as though along a joint:

then, under my ten fingers bursts
the grey rock suddenly;
I feel the soft earth at my feet
dividing under me;

the dark rift runs right through my land,
cleft to the roots, like that!
a chisel surely should do this
if it is real, or what?

The planet then, in cliffs of gold,
the two halves falling free,
is split, and boiling, o’er the cliffs
plunges the flat green sea

and with that sight I see the night
beyond split open too
with a crack that from my chisel runs
the furthest stars right through.

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Thursdays

 

I am a very privileged grandmother.

My beautiful granddaughter is 7 years old. Ever since she was born, I’ve gotten to spend one full day a week with her. When her brother, my handsome grandson, was born 3 years later, he joined us in this fun day.

Together with the parents, we picked Thursdays to enjoy this incredible gift.

Our days would typically include walking on the beach, visiting museums and various parks, going to the aquarium, going to malls during the wet and windy winters in the Western Cape, painting and other crafts, reading (tons of) books, having deep conversations, baking cup cakes, and eating fun food. At the moment her favourite is sushi and his is noodles. We try not to have ice cream every time but that is easier said than done!

But then our day spilled over into sleepovers, which meant a whole evening added to our time together. With that came breakfast the next day. Early in the morning we start with tea, coffee, and beskuit (rusks), and then follows sort of an English breakfast a bit later.

Last Thursday, my grandson (who just turned four) asked, “Ouma, one day when I have children, will you also come and visit them on a Thursday?” My heart gave a skip and a jump while quickly doing the math. “I do not think so Aaro. Ouma might not be around then. I will be waiting in Heaven for you.”  Yara was the one to reply that she just “heard” from the Lord that I am going to have a very, very long life and that I definitely will be around to visit with their children.

I often wonder about the cycle of life. I would give anything to still have my own oumas and oupas around, as well as my parents. I want to share so much with them and ask them so many questions. I want to show them how beautifully their grandkids have grown up and share life with them. I have the most precious memories of them, but it is now forever too late to be part of our daily lives.  This conversation with Yara and Aaro, and a few other factors, made me aware again of how much one can cling to this life as if it is everything. So much time and effort goes into our temporary existence.

Of course the gift of life is indescribable, don’t get me wrong. We are supposed to live fully while we are alive. We have to give it our all, with resilience and joy, and engaging in life. Life is beautiful.

But there is a better life still. Only when the Key turns and that Door to LIFE opens, will we be fully alive and live forevermore.

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Surrender

I am contemplating a year with new superb opportunities, delightful dreams that could come true, marvelous wishes, and numerous answered prayer requests.

With the above, I remind myself that high expectations go hand in hand with challenges. Exhaustion, disappointments, stress, feelings of hopelessness, pains, aches, and possibly tears might all be prevalent. The latter are really actually all part of normal life.

The questions come to mind, Why I should even be surprised by difficulties surrounding my so called successes and accomplishments? How could I imagine arriving at them without effort, diligence, and sacrifices at times? Is it even realistic to have these ‘ambitious’ and hopeful thoughts?

When I look at the past I know that not all is established in a year. I have so many failed goals I set out to succeed with. I have to do lists that are carried forward to each new year. It was liberating to me when my husband reminded me that there is just one day between the last and first day of a particular year. Calendars are there to help us humans stay “programmed” and it is not the end of the world if we did not reach our goals by the end of a year. It is just that: the end of a year. Gloriously, it is also the beginning of a new one. Therefore, I am forever hopeful that at some point I can tick more items off my list. On my website are some of my dreams. I have not reached my set goals in any of these areas. Yet, I found fulfillment in the process. Here they are:

Project 60
Art
Photography

There were, however, unexpected and wonderful events. Prayer requests were answered by God in the most creative ways. New friendships were formed and precious times were spent with established and faithful friends. Valuable memories were made with family, wonderful beyond description. I have a greater awareness of God’s presence and involvement in my life and in the lives of those dear to me. My baby daughter got married to the love of her life (this will be featured in another blog). I could not plan or control any of these. Yet it was granted to me. All of this was pure grace.

Then without a doubt, I want to lay down all of my plans before him. I want to please him and want to be used by him on his terms and conditions, without complaining. I want to know him better, as well as what is in my own heart. I want to surrender all and all (my complete list) to his perfect ways. I also want to see what he is doing in the moment and make sure I am there, here, in the moment. After all, it is all that I am sure of. The now. This moment.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. -Isaiah 26.3 NKJV