It’s tough but…

never give up

When I saw this, I just HAD to share it. I hope you’re singing along with me 😛

If you’re a regular reader, then you know that this is something I truly believe in – no, not the hokey pokey 😛 I truly believe that we should NEVER give up. No matter what.
But as I have said before, my advantage seems to be that I am a ‘prisoner of hope’. There’s just something in me that refuses to lose hope altogether. And I am, always have been, and always will be, extremely grateful for that! I have been through some terrible times and terrible things, and if it wasn’t for this part of me, I wouldn’t be here to share things with you today.

Interestingly enough, although we should exercise it every day, today has been chosen as ‘Never Give Up Day’.

The honest truth about this is that it’s easier said than done, I know. Because sometimes the circumstances are not within our control, and sometimes we are just too overwhelmed.
But I ask you to try anyway. To just NOT give up.

A friend of mine is really battling depression at the moment. We were talking and she was explaining to me how bad it is for her right now. She commented that she nearly didn’t bother to answer my call – that it took a lot for her to ‘summon up the will to speak to me’. And my words to her were : ‘But you did. And that’s part of the battle won. And I am proud of you for fighting that feeling, for not giving in, and for taking my call.’
There was a slight change in her mood when she realised that she did have a small win under her belt. She hadn’t seen it until it had been pointed out… because sometimes it’s so dark where we are that we struggle to see.
(Which is why it is so important for us to recognise and encourage others with the things WE see in them – even if it’s just something small.)

As I mentioned in my previous post, sometimes we need to just take time – put everything on hold and be still, and rest, and allow ourselves to replenish body, mind and soul. It can help us to gain a new perspective, and find a better way forward, making a wise choice that we possibly hadn’t seen before.

It’s also important to remember that, in the words of Zig Ziglar, ‘motivation doesn’t last… neither does bathing…. that’s why we recommend it daily’.
In order to stay motivated, we need to work on it daily. And we all have different ways and things that motivate us. What is yours? Now carve out at least ten minutes a day, and get to it! 😉

It has been said that one of the main reasons that people ‘give up’ is because they haven’t been honest… with themselves! They’ve never questioned the belief systems they have and why they have them, and so they haven’t been able to identify the ones that are actually limiting them. There are also other people’s expectations that drive us to not be honest with ourselves : is that how I really feel? is this what I really want? is this who I really am?
For many years, I struggled with my own limiting (and negatively incorrect) belief systems, and looking back now, I don’t really think I had ‘my own identity’. I completely exhausted myself just trying to do, feel and be what was expected of me – to live up to someone else’s expectations.
It’s been a long road with many uncomfortable curves and bumps along the way, and it’s been a lot of hard work. I STILL have to do the work, daily. There is no ‘quick fix’ on this journey. It takes time…. it’s still taking time…
And yet the small rewards and celebrations along the way make it bearable. And I just know that the bigger picture will be a stunning masterpiece!
And I think it is partly THAT that keeps me going!
Even if you start small, be honest WITH YOU today. 

And remember Albert Einstein… a pure genius!
His father said he was a failure. He only started talking at age 4. At 16, he failed his entrance exams to a school in Zurich.
I truly believe that Albert Einstein’s secret recipe for success was that HE NEVER GAVE UP!

May you, dear readers and friends, make the choice today to do the same and NEVER GIVE UP! 

 

Survive… an emotional rant of sorts

ernst-quote-ascent

Photo credit : strictlymotivationalquotes.wordpress.com

The last two weeks seem to have flown by. There has not been a lot of productivity within them for me. The message in the picture above is one of great value, for we all know that time is the one thing that we cannot retrieve once it has gone.

For some, passing time in the best possible way is simply curling up in a chair with a good book – for others it involves physical busyness.
Both are correct. It’s about what matters to you the most.

For me the past two weeks? It has been consumed with ‘survival’. I’ve struggled through the most horrific physical pain due to a tooth abscess unlike any other I have ever experienced before. And that pain came after the visit to the dentist, and an attempt to treat it, and the filling of a prescription for strong antibiotics and painkillers. Thankfully, the dentist managed to solve all the issues on Friday. But it took a full three days thereafter for me to recover physically – from an exhaustion point of view.

Survival has been a theme the past two weeks though. And Covid19 itself has not been an issue. Things in my country are unhealthy – and the virus is but the tip of an iceberg that will destroy many ships before this is over. I will not be sharing details or news articles or facts – or any of the destruction I am seeing happen.

My personal social media has been void of all of it.

Because people are on the edge already. I choose not to be part of the overwhelming problem. And I find it frustrating that I cannot be part of the solution either, simply because everything that is happening is completely out of my control.

I have tried to comfort myself, and remind myself daily, that the only thing I can control is my actions, my responses, my emotions, my part that I play where I am right now. 
do know myself well enough to know that the exhaustion and physical ill health makes ‘everything seem worse’ to my heart and mind.
But as I sit here, pretty much pain free (other than a twinge of a sinus headache forming) and fairly well rested? I feel just as frustrated and overwhelmed and sad and burdened as what I did a week ago. As what I have over the past few weeks, watching the devastation around me – happening to people that I am connected to, even if just as acquaintances.

In a country where desperation has marred us for far too many years, circumstances have become even more desperate. In a country where crime and corruption has surpassed most others in the world, it has reached an even more alarming level. I can’t even find the words in my heart or my head to describe it all. And when I do talk about it to the few that I am close with, the advice is always the same : ”It’s not your burden to carry.”

I hear. I know. I even understand that. It is still extremely difficult to just only feel heavy concern for my children and I. I know a line needs to be drawn… but how.

I have had the training, I have done the research and I personally know a partial solution that may make these circumstances ever so slightly easier. (And right now, even that ever so slightly could make a huge difference.)
But I can’t do that either. And this is something I WILL share and reveal…. 
Not to create panic and a sense of hopelessness, but to help put our current situation into perspective in a small way.

When I was in my twenties, I used to joke that by age 40 (I am older than that now!) I would be living overseas in a cabin in the woods, preferably near a forest and a waterfall. Fairly isolated. But I knew, even then, that ‘no man is an island’ and that for the majority of us, human contact/physical presence is essential in some form. So part of the joke/dream was always this : there would be a small town nearby, and I would visit it once a week for the day, to get supplies, enjoy a coffee and a chat at the local, and just be around people.

Our country is currently in the longest recorded lock down IN THE WORLD. It has been declared invalid and unconstitutional – but nothing is being done.
The part I need to share is this : in the beginning, phone calls, online chats and video calls were enough. (And as much as it’s a horror when it fails, I will forever be grateful for technology!) So please don’t get me wrong and think that I am only seeing the problems and am ungrateful for the gifts.

But we are now on day 76 – SEVENTY SIX DAYS – of not being allowed to visit our friends or family. Even lingering too long in one spot in your car (like perhaps trying to sit and watch the ocean) is not allowed. Our beaches are still closed.
Coupled with all the other crazy rules and regulations, people are becoming depressed on levels unlike anything I have ever seen before. And I hope that when this is over, that I never have to see it again.

I am longer afraid of the virus.

Many, in sheer desperation, have rebelled. Thankfully, they have not been caught. And the difference after just an hour with their nearest and dearest is evident in their mindsets. I have continued to follow the rules because of my children. I love my children dearly, and although being cooped up together has been challenging, we’ve only experienced the usual minor bickering – and the sibling rivalry levels have remained the same. I am very thankful for that too. The three of us still have a great glue 😉

If you get caught breaking lock down regulations (being in a house that is not your own)….
You not only receive a ludicrous financial fine – you also get a criminal record.

I just want to sit in the same room as one of my nearest and dearest and have a cup of coffee and good conversation in their physical presence. 76 days, and no end in sight.

But I want to leave you with this …

Yes, I am overwhelmed and frustrated. I am sad and angry. I am stressed and worried. I am probably every negative emotion I can even think of right now. There are moments in the day where I feel I am teetering on an edge that is about to break off and just take me.

And yet….

At the same time, there is a flame that flickers within me. The winds of circumstance have blown heavy and hard, and it just refuses to die. There’s darkness that keeps telling me to just give up, but it continues to flicker. They say fear shouts, but terror whispers. My eardrums hurt from both.
That flicker remains. It is that strong.

My greatest lesson in all of this? It IS possible to feel all the negative, but still know that it’s not hopeless. 

As a young lady, when needing to come up with a handle for a website, I chose ‘Prisoner of Hope’. Perhaps I spoke that into being, who knows?

But dear friends, while I ask that you think of each and every person living here in South Africa (and spare a thought for me too, of course 😉 ) I also ask that you take a moment and remind yourself that there IS always hope. 

May your flickering flames burn a little brighter 😉

embrace

brene-brown-quotes
With the current state of the world, and various countries experiencing different levels and restrictions and difficulties with regards to lock down, I really thought that our focus would have shifted a little.

And yet, there are so many who still seem to hold a picture in their mind of how other people should be. What saddens me the most as I scroll through social media of those who live in my country, is that when people voice their frustration or even admit to an inkling of depression that seems to be falling upon them, the general response is ‘you need to practice an attitude of gratitude’, ‘you need to be more positive’, ‘you need to change / stop complaining’.

Please don’t get me wrong. I DO agree with those sentiments, because we all know that having the right ‘heart’s attitude’ about anything in life makes ALL the difference.

But at the same time, people are struggling. They’re frustrated, they’ve lost their income, they are alone and lonely, they are worried, they are stressed, they are sad and afraid. And this is where kindness and compassion need to play the biggest role – especially in the times we are facing currently, and with regards to what lies ahead and seems to be looming in my country.

Perhaps we need to pause and consider our responses, a little more than usual.

I have one friend who is a truly great chick 😉 She’s always positive and uplifting, a real fitness freak, and oh man, she’s not too proud to laugh in an unladylike manner. But our current restrictions have hit her hard the last few days, and so for the past 24 hours her Facebook posts have been what I suppose could be construed as negative and depressing.

My first thought as I scrolled through her timeline this morning was, ‘You’re so brave to be sharing publicly the negative emotions you are actually feeling because you are finding yourself overwhelmed by it all – I salute your vulnerability, my friend.’
But the responses from others just broke my heart. I didn’t publicly share any of my sentiments, but instead popped off a private message to her. And I was astounded at something in her reply : Meg, you’re the only one who has actually asked if there is anything you can do to help me. Words can’t describe my gratitude.

I don’t share this as a brag – or to boast and boost my ego. I share this to create an awareness that you know is there in your spirit. I am sure people have come to mind, I am sure you have come across negativity. Allow that to be a prompt to just ask if there is anything you can do. The likelihood that there IS may be minimal, but what I am realising the most is this : in these troubling times, the mere fact that someone is even WANTING to offer some form of support is more appreciated than whether or not they actually CAN help you. 

I’m even struggling at the moment. Things are getting a little bit ‘stupid’ here – we’re even being dictated to with regards to what we are allowed to wear, and the purchase of t-shirts and slip slops/sandals has been taken off the table for us. And there was a moment yesterday where I found myself being a little bit too hard on myself. Criticising me, because ‘everyone is struggling, and negative emotions are not good, you’re supposed to be be positive and inspirational and a kind heart is supposed to reflect beauty, not frustration and sadness, there is more expected of you than this’.

This morning I realised that I AM still being the kind of woman I want to be, that I CAN still hold my head high, that the negative emotions ARE allowed to be feltit’s how I handle the after effects of them that matters.  

None of what I am feeling is unusual in these circumstances. I need to let go of the suppositions and expectations of others and embrace all of me…

Because ‘me’ is enough, so long as I keep doing my best in circumstances that I have no control over.

And so, for everyone reading… please be kind to yourself, and please be kind to others… no matter how near or far they are.

 

Not quitting

ed mylett

Photo credit : edmylett.com

 

It’s been a strange few days. Our lock down, due to the virus, has been somewhat extreme – but I do realise how serious this is, so I haven’t complained, and I have complied in every way. While I am not completely self isolated, because I have four kids – two human ones and two fur babies – I have felt an effect of self isolation, nonetheless. And it’s been strange for me.

I am quite a social person, for the most part. I have learned to love myself and be at peace with my own company in the past few years. I am good on my own, but I am also good when dealing with people. I tease a lot about hiding from ‘peopling’ but in reality I truly do love the social aspects of others. Communication has always been a big thing for me – not necessarily in person, but somehow finding ways to connect to people.. even if just a brief messaging exchange. People are important to me – their feelings and lives have meaning.

People are important to me – their feelings and lives have meaning. This part has not changed. Not at all. But the last few days I have found myself withdrawing into myself. Naturally, there is still plenty of communication with my four kids and me – and not just about food 😛 😉
But I have found myself struggling with keeping up communication with most everyone else. I am not unhappy – my mood is stable. I don’t feel miserable, and I am not sleeping more than usual. I am really quite fine – I am okay.
It just feels strange for me to be able to feel okay, without the desire to communicate with others. How odd.

Maybe this is a ‘time out to talk to me’? Answering myself is sometimes amusing 😛 😉

I happened to visit Ed Mylett’s timeline this morning on Facebook. And found the picture above…. which had quite a lengthy caption, the gist of it being this :

”There’s probably an area of your life RIGHT NOW where you’re ready to throw in the towel. You’re ready to quit. ….
Decide you’re just not going to quit TODAY! Sometimes that’s all it takes is just deciding that at least for today, you are not going to quit. …
I’m challenging you today to just don’t quit for TODAY! I promise you all of your strength comes when you push past days and moments and thoughts of quitting. Remember, you’re probably on the brink of a breakthrough! ⁣….”

So here’s just a few of my thoughts on this …..

Decide you’re just not going to quit TODAY!
This statement is pretty much how I choose to live my life. There are days where I feel overwhelmed due to circumstances and on those days I make conscious decisions and talk myself through : ”Let’s just get through this hour. Do what you can now. Deal with the rest in a bit – leave it for the next hour.”
I make the choice to get through, moment by moment – and I’d say I am sort of successful… I’m here, aren’t I? 😉

Remember, you’re probably on the brink of a breakthrough!
My not-blood sister and I talk a lot – mostly through messages. Sometimes we do voice notes and calls. The greatest thing we share is based on the statement above. Because we both refer to it when we’re looking to encourage the other. 😉
It’s our go to, when it feels like it’s not just raining, but pouring – when everything seems to be going wrong all at once – when we feel down, or discouraged and momentarily forget to be kind to ourselves.
”Just remember, stuff happens, and sometimes it’s not in our control. Chin up. In all of this, there’s quiet strength building in the background. You’re going to grow. You’re being prepared for something bigger and better. Keep going. I love you.”

A Facebook comment…
Because naturally I shared the Ed Mylett post on my Facebook timeline 😉

Someone commented, ‘Sometimes you just don’t have a choice, hey?’
And I thought about it. And I replied with this :
‘And that in itself is a blessing in disguise, because it forces us to go on… imagine how awful it would be if we all just gave up! How much we’d miss out on! 😉 ‘

KEEP GOING, DEAR READERS! MAY YOU HAVE A TRULY MARVELLOUS MONDAY! 😉

Hospital window

As I lay in bed last night, my brain slowly winding down to allow me to sleep, I was reminded of the story that I managed to find, and am going to share below. 

”Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Author Unknown”

These are trying times. May we continue to encourage one another as much as we possibly can. ❤

Why my heart is sad…

South Africa is on a 21 day lockdown. It began at midnight on Thursday night.

To be completely honest, I doubted our countries ability to follow through with this. But in my area, they’re being really strict about it. A friend went to buy bread yesterday, and was stopped by the police – questioned as to why he was out, and then his registration number was taken down. He was warned that he was not allowed out again yesterday – and that he needed to be quick about his bread trip. I’m sort of impressed.
They’ve limited all movement – you may not walk your dog, the beaches are closed, you may not leave your house for any form of physical exercise, even if you’re wearing a mask.

Unfortunately, I woke up yesterday to confirmed reports in my area of eleven house break ins between midnight and 5am – that’s a lot for an area where there are only about 9000 of us living (total population is about 13 000, but the balance reside in an informal settlement.)
As I suspected, despite these strict measures in place, crime is on the rise.

Because we’re a people where the majority live below the poverty line. Our unemployment rate is higher than anywhere else. Many don’t have access to social media or television. They didn’t know about the proposed lock down until they got to work on Tuesday. There are a lot of casual labourers who now have no income whatsoever – and were living hand to mouth anyway on the days they were able to work. It’s heartbreaking. In a place where people are already hungry, and struggling to survive, this was like a death sentence.
There will be no government assistance for individuals or small businesses.
Us self employed people? You just gotta make it work.

Domestic abuse and child rape is alarmingly high here. I feel ill about the 21 day lock down.

Then the government announced on Thursday morning that Thursday would be the last day you could purchase cigarettes and alcohol for this lock down period. And my little area went wild. Alcohol is a big coping mechanism around here – and although I have never been one to turn to it, for some reason I get it.
But here’s where things got nasty.
Because suddenly, instead of buying food to see them through, way too many spent their wages or the stipend they received on stocking up on alcohol to see them through. When you’re an individual, then sure, that’s your choice. When you have a family? They’re paying a price I don’t even want to think about.
Then my mind wandered to the alcoholics with families who just didn’t have the money to stock up at all. What happens when they go cold turkey?

And all these things? They pretty much knocked the wind out of my sails yesterday.

I know these are not MY decisions or choices.
I know I am not responsible for any of it.
I know that ‘carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders’ is a very heavy burden that I should not be trying to bear.
I know that this has nothing to do with me personally. (I may still be affected by the rise in crime, but I am safer than most.)

My heart aches anyway. And I cry despite that knowledge. And I still wish I could do something to change it all.

But all I can do is stay at home, and pray really hard, for my fellow man out there – despite his/her skin colour, sexual orientation, poor life choices etc etc etc.

I know that this is not a very encouraging post to read. I know that this is a little bit unlike me. However, I also know that being honest about the impacts of the virus and not just the virus itself can also lead to an increase in awareness of those around us, and the need to pray, for those who do.

Please do check back tomorrow – my feelings will still be the same, but I promise that I will write something more uplifting ❤

How we are doing…

I saw this on Facebook and I laughed out loud… so of course, I have to share it 😉

time men

It did get me to thinking though how blessed we are to have been granted time at home to do the things we never really get a chance to do, because life gets in the way.

The only real changes to my life as I know it is that I am no longer having to be Mom’s Taxi – no school, no dance. And suddenly I am no longer minus four hours in my day 🙂
I did realise, with a small amount of sadness, that it doesn’t actually affect me socially. I very seldom get together with friends anymore. So 21 days with myself? Well, that’s pretty much the norm these days. (Well, technically me, my dogs, and my children – the norm.) This is usually due to a busy dancing schedule that means I have to cancel plans to be the transport 😉 And it’s actually a norm that I enjoy – I don’t feel unfulfilled or lonely. And when I do get together with friends on the odd occasion? It means that I enjoy and value the time a little bit more.

There has been a little bit of tension in my house though – my big dog was grumpy for a couple of days (after a vet trip, he’s been given antibiotics – infected nail), my teen is daughter is grumpy because she misses her friends and dancing, and says that practising at home on her own just isn’t the same. I totally get that! My 21 year old son, who is almost finished his BComm degree which he is doing online, is a bit grumpy because he’s used to us being out of the house for a few hours a day which gives him a little bit of peace – understandable, again. I’m grumpy because I dislike having to do damage control between the two of them 😛 😛 😛
My little dog just carries on with her life, chasing bugs and completely oblivious to the rest of us. Life is good 😉

The virus has hit my town, and as far as I know, we have three confirmed cases. This was still not enough to elicit panic in me. In fact the calm that I am feeling in the midst of all this chaos can only be credited to a Higher Power – Something Greater than me.
Or maybe there truly is something wrong with me?

Our President announced on Monday night that the country is going into lock down from Thursday. And my town went mad. People flocked to every shop, bottle store, pharmacy and emptied the shelves – hundreds of people in small spaces bumping up against each other, not respecting even half a metre distance in queues. Just plain crazy.
I have enough food supplies to last us three days – and I can bake 😉
Thereafter, I will be trying to purchase online for delivery. However, at the moment, our online service (we only have one supplier for groceries) is out of stock – I can’t even buy 2 litres of long life milk for my cupboard. How silly! They have assured us that they will be replenishing stocks in the next couple of days though. And as I said, I can bake – so I have assured the kids they won’t starve 😉
I still genuinely feel calm. SMH. (Shaking My Head, for those who don’t know 😉 )

I will admit, however, that I was extremely angry on Monday afternoon. And here’s why:

Patient Zero (our first Coronavirus patient here in my town) is a 28 year old woman who returned from Germany recently, and tested positive last week. She agreed to self-quarantine in her own home, and so they sent her home. 
However, on the weekend, she roamed the streets  – she went shopping and apparently even went out for a meal. Because, according to her, it is her right. And yes, I am going to say it, ‘What the eff???!!!’

This young lady claimed that she was exercising her right to freedom of movement – how dare they tell her to stay at home. Personally, I feel our government should be exercising their right to charge her with culpable homicide. 

I don’t think what has happened in my town is exclusive. I don’t think she’s the only one with this type of attitude. But because it hits so close to home, it just made me SO ANGRY!

Yes, we don’t need to panic. But I can’t stress enough that we DO need to stop being so selfish. Why is this so difficult for people? Has this world really become such a heartless place? 

I have been very careful to pretty much ‘self quarantine’ the kids and I, even though we have no symptoms of the virus. (Pretty much since schools here shut down, and so I have been ‘legally’ able to.) I have limited my outings to the shops greatly, without panic buying.
I haven’t done all this because I am overreacting, scared or misinformed. I have done this because I need to do my part to protect the elderly, and people that are perhaps sick with pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable. 

Because here’s what I do know : they’re still learning about this virus. I could be a carrier without even knowing it, despite the fact that I have been really careful, and not been in physical contact with anyone who has travelled – to my knowledge.

I know that It’s Not About Me!

Let’s all try to be kind enough to consider other people, please.

Be safe, dear readers and friends. And don’t forget to fix the things that need fixing because now you have time 😛 😉

being practical

 

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Photo credit : Facebook

Yes…this sometimes happens. In a world where entertainment is the focus a lot of the time, my ‘kids’ still get bored with it sometimes. Reading a book is usually the next option for them, but every now and then they get cabin fever. The bored is usually in referral to the fact that they need to go somewhere, and do something.

Yesterday, I was standing washing the dishes, when the two little boys across from my house came out to play. On one of their dads business trips, he had purchased each of them handmade wire push cars – in South Africa, you will often see the handmade wire items for sale on the side of the road. They are truly exquisite, and the time and effort that goes into them must be priceless! The push car looks something like this :

Photo credits : 123RF.com and unsungart.co.za

The younger of the two (6) has a car, and the older one (7) has a small truck.

I live in a townhouse complex, in a corner of four houses. The roads are not very wide, and our little corner is quite safe traffic wise, especially if we’re all at home. The neighbour next to me, and this family who are across from me to the left, have become my friends, after 7 years of us all living here.
The boys are adopted, and I was there for each one ‘coming home’. They have the same biological mother, but different fathers. Both were discarded at the hospital – she just ran away. Both times, I was called on because ‘new mom’, my friend and neighbour, was a little unsure. And to them I am an expert with babies 😛 I’ve cared for quite a few that have not been my own.

But I digress…

So the boys were playing and I was watching and smiling, with my arms buried in a sink full of hot water and dish soap. The older one disappeared inside, and came out with two Father Christmas teddies being transported in his truck. The younger one was not happy – he also wanted to drive someone around. But the soft toy his brother shared with him just wouldn’t stay put. He was becoming upset and frustrated. The older one disappeared back inside, and a few minutes later he was helping his little brother tie the teddy to the roof of the car.

By this stage, my dishes had been forgotten, and I was giggling – off they went, racing to see who would deliver their precious cargo first. My heart was instantly warmed and happy.

And I was reminded of a story from so many years ago that I can’t even tell you if I read it or heard it, or how old I was when I did. I found the story this morning, and wanted to share it with all of you, in case you hadn’t heard it before. It’s called ”The Broken Doll” and this is my re-telling of it :

~~A little girl was late coming home from school one day. Her mother was, of course, upset and worried. When she at last walked through the door, her mother demanded an explanation as to why she was late.

The little girl explained, ”I was walking home with Julie, and she dropped her doll. It broke into a million pieces.”

Her mothers heart softened and she asked quietly, ”Oh honey, you helped Julie pick up the pieces of her doll and put it back together?”

In her young and innocent voice, the little girl replied, “No, Mommy. I didn’t know how to fix the doll. I just stayed to help Julie cry.”~~

We all know someone who has a problem. It’s magnitude terrifies us, and we cannot even begin to wrap our heads around what it feels like to them. We have no idea how to help, or change things. For most of us, it’s in our nature to want to fix it. We think up solutions, and offer advice. We try to assist in practical ways – we reach out and offer knowledge and research.

But do we just stay and help them cry?

There are hardly ever ‘quick fixes’. Practical help is truly great, because it changes the situation, and can often make things seem less overwhelming – offer hope of something better to come.

But sometimes, all that is needed, is someone to cry with you, to comfort you, to reach out and just ‘be’ with you.

Be practical, yes. Offer solutions, yes. If you’re in a position to assist, then do it, yes.
But don’t forget to be emotionally practical.

Because sometimes, having someone who cares enough to just cry with you, can make the biggest difference of all.

 

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Photo credit : goodreads.com

Lights out

I have been struggling to keep up the past few days. A large part of the blame for this rests on a lack of electricity. Things are a total mess right now here where I live in general – so many human rights continually being ignored.
However, there is no right to electricity. That said, and even though I can understand why it would not be considered a right, our electricity provider for this country has recently upped our rates astronomically. I’m pretty sure if you google Eskom, or loadshedding, you can find all the forums and discussions and anger and frustration of consumers. If I added everything in here this would be a very negative post – and yet there is still a part of me that wishes the truth would find its way out there… in regards to everything that is wrong with where I live. Electricity is a very minor part of it.

Unfortunately, I am part of the majority who has to pay these ridiculously high rates, and cannot afford to purchase and run a generator in my home. This means that currently, due to loadshedding of electricity that has been implemented, I am without electricity for four hours during the day – and these are active hours, and not hours where we can just sleep through, and continue life as normal during our waking hours.
The complex I live in has another problem when there is loadshedding – the water reservoir that supplies us with water is on an electric pump – so when we have no electricity, we also have no access to water. (In a country of roughly 57 million people, about 15 million people do not have access to a safe water supply at all.)
And my water supply isn’t safe for drinking either. In fact, in my town, we were advised two months ago to not drink tap water, due to sewerage spillage in the main supply dam. There was an outbreak of cholera at the time, and lives were actually lost. 😦

But back to loadshedding – if you delve into it you will discover that one of the many reasons that our electrical supplier has provided for the current loadshedding schedule implementation is that ‘due to heavy rains the coal got wet’. We have been given this excuse for over four years now. And every one of us who have any sense can be heard saying, “You have reached an entirely new level of stupidity if you expect us to accept that. How many times do you have to experience heavy rains and severe damage that affects an entire country before you build a flipping roof over the coal???!!!!!”

It’s always during these implemented schedule times that suddenly ‘maintenance’ is also carried out – which never makes any difference and it’s naturally just assumed to be a decoy of something bigger. Yesterday, we had ‘maintenance’ in my area – from 6am till 6pm. No electricity or water for 12 hours. I have also been told that there will be ‘water maintenance’ on Thursday and Friday – 24 hours with no water.

My reason for sharing all this is this : No electricity means no computer time. My laptop battery lasts only 90 minutes – it’s an old laptop. And only has an internet connection via wifi anyway…which is off when there is no electricity. My cellphone is also really old, and so despite having a new battery, the drain of the old model means that the battery only lasts two hours.
And I can hear you saying – buy a new laptop, buy a new phone, get a dongle or other form of internet data. I am a one income household who has to pay for education, with two children – one at university and one at high school – where there is no job availability for my oldest – earning a very minimum level salary, only just managing to feed and educate my children, and keep up with costs and maintenance on a house and vehicle. SO… no new purchases will be made any time soon. (My brother assists me, for which I am very grateful, but it also makes me feel like so much of a failure, not being able to provide fully for my children and I. I’ve tried everything to change that… but with circumstances in my country being what they are, it just doesn’t seem like it will ever be possible. I refuse to give up though, and keep trying anyway!)

And NO! Please do NOT send me money! 

It always amazes me how when someone posts something like this, people naturally assume that that is what they’re after – that it’s a form of begging or trying to solicit cash. I can assure you that this is not the case AT ALL. 

I tell you all of this so that those who really care are not concerned when I ‘disappear’ for a few days at a time. (And there is that concern when you take into account the current crime rate where I live and the risks every time I leave my house.)
Most of my work is computer based – and so when the electricity returns, there is usually a lot of work, and work emails, that need to be attended to. If I don’t do that, then I don’t earn any money. So unfortunately, at this stage, that is the priority in the my life.

The following pictures are all from sapeople.com  – the first ‘bedtime story’ is exactly how I live – it’s a no wonder so many of us here are living with high awareness and anxiety – and are exhausted 80% of the time. (Except I don’t have a gun – and my last big dog that I had six years ago and let sleep outside was poisoned and I lost her – which is why my two now sleep on my bed, with me) But it’s a funny way of seeing things, this story, I guess. The other pics are also part of the jokes that are making the rounds.

And did you know that South Africa is currently the most romantic country in the world? We eat our dinner out (of cold cans) by candlelight almost every night 😛 😛 😛

load-shedding-eskom-bedtime-story-joke

(While there are still some great things in my country – winning the rugby world cup, our Miss South Africa being crowned Miss Universe – the bad still outweighs the good, sadly.)