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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What If?

What if God takes away the rain because we do not thank him for the flowers?
What if God takes away his gifts because I do not open them?
What if God takes away his Word because I do not believe and trust what he says?
What if God answers my prayers in a way I did not expect?
What if God had granted Jesus’ prayer when he asked to let the cup pass him by?
What if God allows me to feel utterly desolate?

What if the pain of broken relationships leaves me in utter dismay?
What if accusations and curses come from unexpected places?
What if losses are more than gains?
What if disappointments drain the life out of you and nightmares come true?

Vaneetha Rendall Rishner wrote the following in her blog:

Even if.
These two simple words have taken the fear out of life. Replacing “what if” with “even if” is one of the most liberating exchanges we can ever make. We trade our irrational fears of an uncertain future for the loving assurance of an unchanging God. We see that even if the worst happens, God will carry us. He will still be good. And he will never leave us.

Habakkuk models this exchange beautifully. Though he had pleaded with God to save his people, he closes this book with this exquisite “even if…”

Even though the fig trees have no fruit
and no grapes grow on the vines,
even though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no corn,
even though the sheep all die
and the cattle stalls are empty,
I will still be joyful and glad,
because the Lord God is my savior.
The Sovereign Lord gives me strength.
He makes me sure-footed as a deer,
and keeps me safe on the mountains.

Hab 3:17-19 (GNB)

Blessed

My husband and I watched the sunrise together this morning.

It was awesome and life giving. I remembered then that it was the one year anniversary of the passing of a friend of ours. There was this contrast between the rising sun on the one hand, and on the other, the sadness of having to have said the final goodbyes. Sometimes we get the opportunity to say them, and sometimes they are said for us through sudden change of circumstances. But they are final.

This friend’s wife’s journey of the past year has been, to say the least, astounding. She is incredibly courageous, positive, hopeful, practical, wise, graceful, peaceful transparent,honest and caring. She has come through so much since the horrific accident they suffered a year ago. She has an incredible story and testimony of God’s grace and love, as do her children.

The sunrise reminded me of the following:

“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

In honour of her and her family, I am sharing a poem she wrote today:

BLESSED

One year today
One very very long year
It seems as impossible now
as it seemed then
It seems as unfathomable now
as it did then
It is as real now
as it was then
That I will never
hear you
say my name again
That I will never
feel you wrap me
in your arms again
That I will never
wake up and hear
you breathe again
But you left me
your eyes
in the eyes
of a son
and you left me
your smile
in the smile
of a son
And your laughter
will be with me always
My memories
are the colour of
your kindness
The gift of your love
changed my life
forever
I am so blessed
so, so blessed!

– Karin, May 17th, 2016