Bless You

I am very careful with words like “blessed”. It has been abused and commodified like a badge you can buff on social media – one can be #blessed but perhaps not truly #believe.

This week, I was very sick, but this week I was blessed. It seems a contradiction. There was nothing glamorous about taking antibiotics – I am suspicious of any pills. The irony of working for a pharmacy does not escape me. Nothing glittered as I nebulised myself in my pajamas, while pumping polluted breastmilk.

Yet, between the coughing fits and mountains of medicine I became aware of how blessed I am.

It started with a good friend who brought us soup and bread. It was a delicious and comforting blessing. 

I spent time with my two little girls – who I kept home when they also showed the first signs of coughing. I was blessed because they didn’t get any worse. 

I baked flap jacks (two mornings in a row and on demand) because I could. I ate breakfast with my kids – sitting on the floor next to a small red plastic table – all still dressed (and blessed) in our pajamas.

I realised that, while becoming ill is not a blessing (that is just the collution of bacteria, biology and a weak immune system); the blessing was the little time I was forced to reduce speed. The surprise of becoming aware of the blessed beauty hidden in those two horrible sick days.

Ilness and sickness cannot be glamourised. It’s always a vivid and heartaching reminder of the frailty of life. 

From now though, I am less afraid of my weaknesses (physical or otherwise); those moments of being dependent and utterly frustrated: as that is when I find myself most blessed of all.
 

 

Toemaar vannaand

Last night I fell asleep with you on your bed (on the floor) again. The days’ stress drifted away from me like the clouds breaking into playful tufts in-front of the half-lit moon. 

A night jar was calling outside and I whispered Ingrid Jonker’s Donker Man in your little ear. You were too tired to protest bedtime like you normally do these days. 

I held your sleepy growing body in a soft fleece onesie (with white hearts) a little closer tonight. In a dreamy muddle, I realised that it was already becoming a memory as it happened. When I woke up, you were sleeping and softly snoring. When both of you are sleeping, I actually miss your toddler cacophonies of giggles and sporadic shrieks, between the general noise of growing up.

The house is so quiet at 2am. I carefully rolled away from you. I climbed into my own bed – rational, big and cool. I won’t open my computer to work, like I normally do. I don’t feel guilty of falling asleep and not working at all tonight. At this moment, I tiptoe around this delicate feeling that everything is perfect. The world can wait a little while more as I think of you and your sister and I write myself to sleep on my phone …  toemaar, die donker man.

Dassiesfontein

We stopped at a farmstall on our way back from a gorgeous wedding. Freshly baked bread from a wood burning oven soaked up an orange yellow yolk. I sipped on black coffee out of a blikbeker with character. There was a roaring fire in the middle of the room, casting warmth and light into the darker corners of the space – packed to the ceiling with baskets and boxes. Leaving, the smell of freshly baked pies and fishy bokkoms became an invisible curtain which fell between that moment and my memory of this beautiful morning. 

An inverted smile.

rainbow

Lowveld thunderstorms are always beautiful. The vitality and drama of a quick burst of  rain is such a release after a day of hot humidity. This afternoon however, we were spoiled with a big generous rainbow too, like a perfect full stop after a stormy sentence. It spanned my whole view – connecting in colour – one koppie with another.

I think that our life sometimes echo this; we experience a day/month/season of being uncomfortable. Things seem unbearable and irritability chafes one’s ability to think clearly. It is such a valuable reminder that after the crescendo, the breaking point complete with thunder and lightning – things will inevitably, clear up. Perhaps things may even be better than before, despite the reality of few new potholes along the way.

 

 

 

 

About a building

Our house sits comfortably in the slope of the koppie, overlooking our city like our own Acropolis, perched on the edge, partially cantilevered over a deep and ravine filled with indigenous trees. 

When we first saw this corner of the Estate it was hidden under Lantana and Sekelbos. Stinkhout and Transvaalse Valsperdepis were being suffocated by a Wag-‘n-Bietjie creeper. Despite the tangle and the steepness of the stand, we felt the drama of this site. We recognised the promise. We bought it, almost impulsively. 

The process of building demolished any feeling of whim. Instead, over months, our house grew from its foundations according to plans, endless discussions and careful consideration and reconsideration. 

Now, almost a year after we first broke ground, we are not yet finished. As window frames start to bracket views and paint colours soften walls the end is in sight. May this be our treehouse of happiness remind us of the prize of perseverance and the power of gratitude. 

Steps around the bend

Change is challenging and frightening. It is exciting and difficult. Hopefully, worth it in the end. I believe that change isn’t meant for endings but for new beginnings. 

I lay awake thinking of the steps that brought me here. The story is full of surprises, twists and turns that I could not have predicted, even in a magical reality.

Standing on the threshold of another turn I can’t see the destination but know it is there and I must go/grow towards it. I may have a hand-drawn map under mountains of memories, complete with unchartered waters indicated and possible sea-monsters. 

For now, I can only see the few steps curving around gently into the future. Step one. Trust. Step two. Move. Step three. Watch my step. Step four. Document the journey.

See you on the other side.