I am happy.
It is Sunday morning. We’re lying in bed. A winter breeze is playing with the leaves of the yellow & green Australian Christmas tree outside our bedroom door. Katinka, our young St Bernard, is lying stretched out on the deck. Sophia, our youngest daughter, is talking non-stop. Not about anything in particular. About the rides she enjoyed at yesterday’s fair. About ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ she wants to go and see. About the wonder of 3D-movies and her cat and her new pyjamas. About the new words she learnt in French and how she was able to work her horse Felix’s back feet.
Zuko and Theunsie are reworking some pictures from last Sunday on the laptop. Reducing ‘noise’ and brightening colors.
We were at the home of friends. They’ve adopted a beautiful little girl. She’s been with them for almost a year. They wanted a memory. A moment in time on which they could reflect in time to come. Our tribe gathered together. We spoke about life. About how she is a blessing and blessed all at the same time. We expressed words of hope. For her life and for our lives. That she would grow up to know God as someone and not something. That she would go through puberty to adulthood and find her counterpart and become everything she was created to be. Be complete. Affected only in a good and positive way by her being in our little tribe of friends and life.
Pippa is still sleeping. She seldom comes to rest before the clock strikes twelve, as if her heart and mind only comes to life as the sun sets with bright orange and golden rays over the ocean’s vast blue waves. In the morning, her coming to life is always slow, as if the world she inhabits after finally falling asleep does not want to let her go.
The smell of freshly brewed coffee fills the room.
A deep feeling of happiness fills my being.
I do not know where it comes from.
It is not as if my life is trouble-free.
Or perfect, as we would imagine perfect to be.
Our house is still bonded. We’ll have to make hundreds of payments over many years before it is our own.
The Landy is ageing, demanding more and more maintenance as she matures into a teenager in human years. I’m sure cars follow dogs in their ageing process, counting seven years for each of our one in decay.
I’m not immensely succesful in my career. I work at a small radio station in an insignificant African city. Competitors are working hard to annihilate our existence so that they can capture advertising revenue with greater ease. We’re breaking the rules, creating radio which speaks to life, which builds and makes a difference.
It is a work in progress.
It will be a work in progress for some time to come.
I do feel connected, though.
To my Zuko.
My three magnificent children.
A tribe of diverse friends from diverse worlds, stuck in diverse circumstances.
I do feel connected to the God who’ve shared life with me since I can remember.
I want to take a picture of this moment, even though it is not just a moment at all.
Even though it is in stark contrast to the bleak setting, like a bright red flower set in a desolate drought ridden desert environment.
My parents still do not respect who I am. I am the outcast for not being able to conform to their expectations. For not being able to apologise for who I am & what I love.
It is painful to be the outcast.
It is painful not to have an extended family with parents & siblings & cousins & nephews.
It is even more painful to have them in a genetic sense, but not being able to share life with them.
Happiness, it seems, does not care about the deep hurt of this life.
It is not deterred by it.
Or killed by it.
Or by the challenges of life.
The difficulties we face daily as we make our way from sunrise to sunset.
For me it comes through relationship.
Through loving and being loved.
Not just loving the people I’m deeply connected too. The people who accept me and love me for who I am. The people of the tribe I’ve nestled myself into.
Even the people I met this week at the media conference. The people who believe Christian media should be shrouded in Christian-speak and Religious-talk. The people who do not get it that Christian Media should find a new way if they hope to affect anything.
Even the people I do not know. The people who are facing so much more than I’ve ever had to face.
This past week we had a fundraiser for Ashleigh Botha. I’ve not met her. I’m friends with her on Facebook. She’s in her late teens. She is afflicted by Intimal Fibromuscular Dysplasia. It starves her body of blood flow, slowly killing her vital organs.
I cannot imagine this.
I cannot imagine being nineteen & living with something like this.
She needs medical treatment in the US. Kingfisher FM collaborated with a crowd of other companies. Or maybe I collaborated with a tribe of people, because it is people who run companies. People who love enough to want to make a difference. Reza, Jane, Cheryl, Heinrich, Zuko – they cared enough, loved enough, to pool resources & host a function which raised R13 000 towards Ashleigh’s treatment.
They gave time.
They were under no obligation.
They benefitted little.
I love this.
Happiness comes through loving.
Not the people you know.
Not the people who love you back.
It has been easier for me to love.
Myself as well.
As I discovered how immensely loveable our kind is.
How rich and deep and complex.
My Pippa once sat me down. She is a philosopher at nine. She explained to me that it is as if there is a piece of string attached to her heart, which extends to mine and connects us. And this string is fragile. It can break. Or be ripped loose. And we have to constantly make sure our attachment remains. As we say and do kind things. As we touch. Listen. Reveal our own heart.
And as we love more a magnificent tapestry is woven, a something bigger than ourselves, which transcends our being.
My Pippa and I.
Our Zuko and Theunsie and Soffie.
Our friends and colleagues, associates and acquaintances.
And so we are happy.
More deeply than we ever imagined.
Not because of stuff.
But because of love.
May you discover this.
May you feel its glow on your soul.
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