Friday, February 27, 2015

Race race

This week I have been faced with dealing with a racial incident. It has exhausted me to burn-out levels. Dealing with this reminded me that racial issues continue to be a big part of our country's present. It has also highlighted for me the fact that whites (gross generalization here!) really can't talk about our Apartheid history and give adequate voice to the atrocities suffered by those of colour.

This evening I read an opinion piece by Verashni Pillay of the Mail & Guardian which basically pointed out some truths about how whites (again, gross generalization) still benefit.

I know that I have been guilty of thinking 'oh come on now... It's 20 years on.... Can't we just get past this now?' But how does someone get past the fact that they are still treated as a second class citizen because of the colour of their skin? Racial slurs continue to be a problem - the 'boy' in the garden, the 'girl' in the kitchen, the joke about how all coloureds are thieves, the 'fact' that blacks are so dangerous you have to cross the road to avoid walking past them on the pavement....

What I find incredible is how many adults don't get it, including a guy in his mid 20's I had dealings with this week - someone I would have thought would have known better. My actions have been called into question by some who don't get it, who are more concerned with saving face than in the pain their actions have caused others.

I'm not perfect, and I don't claim to be. I get this wrong. I still succumb to the old way of thinking and acting. The thing that keeps me going is that Jesus calls me to being better, higher, purer, more righteous. When I see racism, it is a reminder to me to root it out in myself. When I am falsely accused though, that is really hard to deal with - not to want revenge, or to retaliate, but to try to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do - to forgive and forgive and forgive. 70 times 7... 

Sometimes I really do just want revenge though.... But if I give in to that way of thinking, it will eat up my life, my thoughts, my emotions, my energy, my sleep,  my peace.... and then I will have lost.

So I hand this over, Lord, to your capable hands. You are the One who KNOWS. I am trusting you to see both justice done and mercy poured out on those who don't get it and who have harmed others as a result. I also trust you to pour out mercy and healing on those affected, and to see justice done in them too - for none is without sin.

Cos I can't. Ek kan hie meer nie. I'm just. So. Tired. 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Things I have learnt from gardening

After more than a month I got back to my garden and spent the morning weeding the front garden. I cleared a black bag's worth of weeds from a patch about 6m square. 

Apart from the terrible aches I have today (& no doubt tomorrow will be worse) I was reminded of something: weeds will always grow where you are not actively engaged in removing them. This is true of our lives as well as my garden. They start small - the white lies, the personal photocopying, breaking the speed limit because you're late. Unhindered though, the small weeds will grow, until the beauty of the garden is obscured and sometimes destroyed.

Just as I will trim back the wild growth, and kill plants I consider weeds, so too God will work in the garden of my soul - point out the weeds, prune the parts growing out of prompt ion, so the beauty of my soul can shine. It hurts, but it is necessary if I am to have a beautiful garden.

The other thing I was reminded of is that the gardener has a grand design in his or her head that may take years to come to fruition. I planted a few trees that will take about 20 years to reach the height and shape I want, so that I can then remove an alien tree that I don't want. I am also planning a pool in the back garden. Every decision I make about planting is guided by the grand plan for 20 years hence. So the garden doesn't look as stunning as I would like, but that's because I am careful about what I plant where, knowing that in a few years I am going to pull something else out. It struck me that, in the same way, God has a plan for my life and maybe some of the things he is doing now don't make sense, because I don't see the big plan - the future plan.

Gardening is good for the soul, and body.... But maybe I will regret it tomorrow when I have to toll out if bed! ;)