Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thoughts about short-cuts…

“There are many people who arrive at the result of their lives like schoolboys; they cheat their teacher by copying the answer from the key in the arithmetic-book, without bothering to do the sums themselves.” – (Kierkegaard)

Just over a month ago, not long after I first arrived in South Africa, I was thinking about this excerpt from the writing of the thinker Kierkegaard. Far from referring to anyone else as a schoolboy in this sense I came to realise how easy it is to become like that. I had been doing so many “sums” over the course of my time away from South Africa that I wanted to look for the easy way out at least for a short while…

I came across a similar thought in the famous (or perhaps infamous) book by Paolo Coelho, book by Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist. In the story the idea of a “personal legend” is spoken about as well as a treasure that comes with living it out. At one point in the story someone remarks that many people want the treasure without living the life (or personal legend) that results in the treasure. At times, I still think that I just want things to happen or that I want things to work out and for everything to be easy or okay or something like it. Coelho’s characters suggest that this is not the way to live. Additionally if I look at one of my favourite biblical personalities, David, I see that even he had a long road to walk before the promises Yahweh made to him were fulfilled. So realistically who am I to think that any less could be expected of me when the man who was said to be a “man after God’s own heart” had a trudge a long road to see his destiny fulfilled. In fact he even had to fight numerous battles on that road.

If I think about my ups and downs along the way I realise that had a taken short cuts (if that was an option) there would have been so much that I would have missed along the way. Once again I find myself in an all-too-familiar situation where I could (and sometimes do) wish that things were moving a bit faster in some imaginary “better” direction. But in reality we’re all moving into the future at a speed of 60 minutes an hour so why not enjoy the journey?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Same journey; Familiar location…

It’s been over a month since my last update and I’ve had at least one request for news from Cape Town. Yes, I’m still in South Africa at the moment and it appears I’m not going to be leaving just yet. I hope you had a great Festive Season (and holiday if you were fortunate to have some time off). I guess in some ways certain aspects of my Christmas etc was the run of the mill. I had lunch with some close family-friends (whose globally-scattered children and grandchildren were together for the first time in 10 years). I spent New Year’s Eve with some friends and the first day of the year with some family.

In between the usual events I was able to attend a really good friend’s wedding. We’ve been really good friends for a while now and it was good to be able to be there on her big day. One of the strange things was that prior to the wedding I had only met her husband twice just before I left South Africa back in 2006, so in some ways it felt as though it was sudden. Obviously though they have been together for a while. Another good friend (and his wife) arrived in Cape Town from Seattle on the day of that wedding so we spent quite a bit of time hanging out. I was supposed to be his best-man 2 years ago but couldn’t attend the wedding because of the joys of US bureaucracy (sarcasm intended).

So what am I still doing in Cape Town and am I going to Asia etc? This is a question I get asked at least once a week at the moment. The best way I can put it is that the journey is continuing but in a familiar setting for now. in a pervious entry I believe I spoke about Cape Town being the best gauge I have to see how much I have grown and changed etc. this is more true than I thought it would be because even though I’m still in touch with many of the same people and the city is largely still he same (albeit with some significant cosmetic changes in some areas) it really feels like a different place. I have come to realise that the reason for this is that the ways in which I have changed have made me see this place significantly differently. It’s a strange experience but something that is so necessary after all this time. Yahweh (aka God) has done so much over the past 3 years, I have experienced so much, I have grown and I have been forced to become wiser. The process of becoming a bit wiser has involved some mistakes and speed bumps along the way, but that’s life. So for now I’m not leaving Cape Town just yet. I’d still like to see Asia and other parts of the world at some point but I figure that considering the ways in which I have changed and the changes I have been through it could possibly take a different shape when it happens.

That’s all from me for now. it’s early Saturday morning and I’m going on a walk/climb up Lion’s Head (one of the mountains surrounding the Cape Town city bowl). So thanks for reading, hasta luego (see you soon) and sala kakuhle (stay well)…