If you stumbled upon this post, you’ve come to join me as I write ‘The 9th City’.
I would like you to be my accomplice in this. Subscribe to ‘sevencitys’, by clicking on ‘sign me up!’ & over the next few months leave comments on each new chapter. If I use your input, I will credit you as conspirator when ‘The 9th City’ is publsihed.
So let’s get started on the introduction.
A is for adverCITY: a state of hardship, affliction or misfortune
I am not immensily knowledgeable when it comes to adversity.
I don’t think anyone can claim to be.
Except perhaps that man known as Job, who suffered the loss of his children & his wealth & his health.
All practically at the same time.
Even he wasn’t knowledgeable when it came to adversity.
Even though he suffered adversity as few suffer it.
For he did not know the loss of being molested by a father.
Or of being raped.
Or of suffering violence at the hands of a soulless monster for the profit of a little property.
Or sick pleasure.
He did not know what it means to lose a leg as a young teenage girl.
Or how it is to grow up in extreme poverty.
He did not know the hardship of having to step up to raise your brothers and sisters as a twelve-year-old, because your parents died and there just was no one else to take care of them.
Adversity comes to us in many shapes.
At different times.
With varying intensity.
In the world of wealth which can afford books & eReaders it looks different from in the world of poverty.
For me it remained illusive until a few short weeks before my thirty-fifth birthday.
Then it presented itself.
Very real & exceedingly intense.
It came in relational brokeness & familial shunning, accompanied by professional failure.
It almost crushed me.
But it did not.
I am still here.
More than alive.
I am free.
I am more.
More than I would’ve been had adversity not found me and shaken my existence.
That is what adversity does.
It shakes our existence.
It shakes our understanding.
The way we’ve always seen ourselves & the world we live in.
The way we’ve always made sense of life.
The way we’ve lived.
Adversity evaporates it.
No, evaporation is a gradual and natural process.
Evaporation is beautiful.
It is at the heart of life-giving rain.
Adversity does not evaporate.
It is violent.
It tears away from us any semblance of certainty we may have had, replacing it with doubt and bewilderment.
And at the end of the reluctant journey it forces upon us, we find a new version of ourselves.
Or perhaps a bit of both & ‘more’ in a way we never thought ‘more’ could realize.
I am not exceedingly knowledgeable when it comes to adversity, but I’ve eaten my portion.
And I wasn’t destroyed.
For that I am grateful.
And so our hope is this – that as we share our little bit of journey, you will be encouraged, finding your own way, to a new version of yourself.
It is a diverse journey.
Two people from different worlds and different generations living through adversity in different ways.
Both of us trying to make sense of life.
Both of us only making some sense.
I was born in the seventies.
Lloyd is a son of the sixties.
I was the son of a Dutch Reformed Minister in an Afrikaner dominated society.
Lloyd the son of a man who did not concern himself too much with religion.
When Lloyd was responding to Apartheid at its height I was unaware that my kind prospered off the demise of others.
Lloyd excelled at music – his music contributing to social change as it catapulted him into social and religious leadership. I did not excel at anything of any consequence, not then & not now.
He was conscripted into a military which was fighting a war which was not its to fight, fuelled by lies & political gamesmanship. I was conscripted into a navy in transition as Nelson Mandela was released from prison and our country screamed with the birthing pains of a new society.
We both love Africa.
We both love the people we are fortunate to share life with.
We both wonder if our ideas and thoughts have anything meaningful to offer.
We often agree in conversation that somehow faith is not about religion & God is not to be owned.
Perhaps our hope as we write is not so much that you would find a ‘new’ version of yourself. Perhaps it is more a hope that in and amongst all our thoughts and ideas you will find something to relate with. That you will find a glimmer of hope in your own adversity & be encouraged to keep on living.
To keep on asking.
Reaching to a truth which is yours to own, which has been revealed but not understood & expressed but not necessarily embraced.
And – that in the asking & reaching you will discover a ‘more’ version of you.
More capable & confident.
More free and more happy.
Now don’t forget to take part in this process. Tell me what you’re missing from this introduction. Or what expectations it creates.
And if you’ve not yet taken a look at what is on the bookshelf in Amazon’s Kindle-store, please take a look here: Theunis Pienaar’s Books in Amazon’s Kindle-Store