Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Death of a Dream

I am so tired. The tears sting my eyes as I struggle to open the padlock on the security door and then open the locked door while balancing the files of court documents in one arm and my bag in the other. How many times do I have to bend down and look a child in the eyes and say “I love you still”, and then prize their little arms from around my legs or waist while they are being pulled away from me by an abusive parent, a family member, a stranger or a social worker?

Another day in court. Another child I could not save. Another court case where the outcome was a fait accompli. The child’s fate was sealed before we even had a chance. I lock the doors behind me, put the kettle on, make a cup of coffee and flop down on the couch. The tears slowly flow down my cheeks and before I realize it I am howling. Great big sobs are forcing their way out from deep within my chest. I am struggling to breathe. I am drowning in my grief. 

My mind is numb. I cannot think coherently anymore. My thoughts are with the children that have been taken away and then with my pain and then fly to what my mother said. “Dianne, you are farting against thunder”. Perhaps she is right. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I love, I can’t seem to make the social workers or the Commissioner of Child Welfare understand that the interests of the children come first. And I hear my own voice howling in the emptiness and silence and wonder if that is really me. Have I become insane? Have I finally and truly lost it? Is this the moment that I give up and leave it all behind? 

I struggle to bring my breathing under control and to stop the hideous howling that is coming out of my mouth. I grab a tissue and wipe the snot and tears away and look at the horrible distorted face staring back at me from the mirror. The vision staring back at me makes me start crying all over again, and now I can’t stop. I lie down on the couch and bury my head in a pillow and sob until I fall asleep. I wake up hours later, cold and disorientated. 

And then I remember. 

I found nine year old Kelly one ice-cold winter’s night in May 2002 in Lusaka, a shanty township made up of dwellings built from corrugated iron, bits of wood, plastic, cardboard or anything that can serve as cover for the severe winters and summers. The township is adjacent to Middelburg, a Karoo town in the Eastern Cape, and is the oldest township in South Africa. 

Kelly was sitting with her seven year-old friend, Jane, in what would serve as a street, which is nothing more that a strip of gravel between dwellings. They had covered themselves with a piece of cardboard to keep themselves warm. Kelly was dressed in a tracksuit top that only reached her elbows and had on a pair of track pants that reached her knees. Jane had a school dress on. Neither girl had any underwear nor had they shoes. Kelly had a very large scar running along her face where she had been stabbed by a youth in the township when she had been gang raped. 

Both girls had lice and scabies. Both had been raped. Neither girl had had anything to eat in four days. Their last meal had been on the rubbish dump, the place known to the street children as “The Restaurant”. They had also never attended school. I reported the child abuse and rape to the police and a docket was opened. 

Within weeks of the arrival of the girls, they too settled in with the other children, and were clean, healthy, happy, and attending school. But, as with all children who have lived on the street and who have been subjected to such a cruel upbringing, it is not easy to adjust to living in a house with others and it is not easy for others who are now socialized to live with such children. Children who have lived on the street and who have been subjected to abuse do not know how to eat with a knife and fork nor to eat from a plate. They are used to scraping food from pots or plastic bags or off the street with their fingers. Kelly told me how she used to scrape the banana skins off the tar road after a car had ridden over them. 

They have never used a tooth brush or a toilet and have no idea of how to use toilet paper. They do not know how to blow their noses. They have to be taught how to get dressed, irrespective of their age, because they have never had any other clothes other than the ones they have on, so therefore have never had to take them off to put others on.

Bathing is a major problem and struggle, as they want to bathe or shower with their clothes on. They do not understand that they have their own shoes and cannot just wear anyone’s shoes, so this also causes consternation with the other children when new children come in. 

Children are renowned for teasing one another, but it is a tragedy that these children tease one another in this way: “The man that raped you was a grandfather but the one that raped me was young”. It soon came to our notice that Kelly, Lindelwa and Evelyn, three of our young children, had all been raped by the same man. This man is still walking around in the town, despite it being reported to the police and dockets being opened for all three offences. In the case of Evelyn, three male police came to take the statement from her. 

She told her story up until the point of the rape and then she refused to continue speaking. I then requested the police to send a female detective to take her statement. No female detective was ever sent. In the case of Kelly, no detective ever came to take a statement; and in the case of Lindelwa, she told her entire story to all three male detectives, which I thought was very brave for an eleven year-old girl. She also mentioned the name of her rapist as well as the address at which he stayed. The dockets went to the Public Prosecutor but he refused to prosecute. 

When I requested reasons for refusal to prosecute, it was stated that there was insufficient evidence, and that the problem had been socially taken care of since the children were now in my care. I have written to the Head of Public Prosecutions requesting an investigation into the reasons why it was thought there was insufficient evidence. Surely the police investigated the cases thoroughly, since rape is a serious offence and three children identified the same man as the rapist? 

The children also play-act their rapes and sodomies for months after coming into care. Often, too, the children will use sticks or toothbrush ends to stick into their vaginas and anuses to show one another what has been done to them. It takes a lot of patience and counselling to get the children past their sex games and to the point where they realize that what has been done to them is not normal living. 

As time passed, Kelly and Jane became more and more settled in and socialized with the large family that we had become. They were happy and carefree children. 

One late afternoon in August 2002, a little squint-eyed boy who I had often seen with a group of street boys came to see me. He told me that he wanted to come and live with me. “Mama D”, he said, “I am tired of living on the street and since you are looking after my sister, it is my right to live with you”. It turned out that his sister was Kelly. The little boy was 10 year old Shaun, or Gigi, as he was known in the township. Shaun was on the Department of Social Development Register so I made the necessary enquiries and was told that there was no problem with the child living with me. 

By the time Shaun came to live with us, there were thirty-four of us. Shaun was clever, witty, smart and loveable. He was also a talented gumboot dancer. The gumboot dance is the dance that the men on the mines in South Africa dance. And I fell in love with Shaun instantly. He always came up with the most amazing things. One day he stroked my arms and said, “I love the fat on these arms, because these are the arms that are growing me”. Shaun lived life with abandon. And I sent him to school as well. 

I remember how Kelly grew from the frightened, abandoned, emotionally damaged child she was to the confident and child she became, the child with courage, determination and the beautiful smile. I remember the pranks and the compassion that Shaun showed at all times, the spirit of survival that he showed, his enthusiasm for life. I remembered the laughter, the love and the joy of our family being together and the security we all shared in being together. And I remembered with disbelief the telephone call I received yesterday the Social Worker, Pumza Mobo, to tell me that I was to bring Kelly and Shaun to the Magistrate’s Court because their aunt was going to foster the children. I relive it in my mind. 

“What aunt?”, I ask. 

“Their mother’s cousin’s sister”, she said. 

“Have you investigated and done the report?”, I asked. 


“What are the circumstances?”, I asked. 

“She lives alone and is willing to care for the children”, she tells me. 

“But where has this aunt been for the past three years?”, I ask. 


“Be at court at 7h45”, the social worker tells me, “and don’t forget to bring the children”. 

The time is 16h30. The offices of the Department of Social Development close at 16h30. I have no time to argue the case or do anything about what is going to happen. Pumza Mobo has timed this perfectly to her advantage. 

I go down to the children’s house. I call Kelly and Shaun and tell them that we have to go to court tomorrow and that their aunt wants them to go and live with her. I ask them if they are happy about that. They are not. They say they will go for the weekend but not forever. I tell them that family is better than staying in a children’s home forever, but I will try and speak to the magistrate to get him to let them stay a while longer or let them come home to me for weekends. I try and get them prepared in case things do not go according to what they want, and for that matter, according to what I want. 

The Department of Social Development has a mandate that all children are to be re-unified with family as soon as possible after being removed from their home. In Kelly and Shaun’s case, they were not removed from their home, but from the street. Re-unification also means that the child or children are given a period of adjustment, so that they get used to their new family circumstances and that there is as little trauma associated with the move to their new environment as possible. 

We are at court at 7h45. Kelly and Shaun are holding tightly onto my hands. The social worker and Trudie, the nursery school teacher, are there. I look around for someone else. I ask the social worker where the aunt is. She points to Trudie. I gasp. I am shocked. I cannot believe what I am seeing or hearing. Something cannot be right. Every day I see Trudie. She has not mentioned that she is the aunt of the children. She has never visited the children. The children have not mentioned her, nor have they ever made any fuss of her. What is going on here? 

“What is going on here, Trudie?”, I ask. 

“If you wanted the children, why did you not discuss it with me?”, I question her. 

“Pumza told me to take the children and I assumed you knew about it”, she said, indicating the social worker. 

Just then, we are called into the court room. 

The magistrate, who now assumes the position of Commissioner of Child Welfare, looks at all the papers, asks the “aunt” if she is willing to take the children, then asks the social worker if she is happy and when he gets the affirmative starts making out the order. I attempt to make myself heard by telling the Commissioner that the children have been with me for three years, that they need a period of adjustment before the final move, and that I have not been given a chance to see the report. He tells me that children need to be with 
their families and that is all that matters. With that, the order is signed and we are dismissed. I am shocked. Thoughts run through my head. I want to shout out loud that it is all a set up. That if the social worker was not sleeping with the Commissioner of Child Welfare, maybe the children’s rights would be observed!!!! In whose interest was the order made out? We walk out and the children cling to me. I ask the aunt to please let the children visit and then she and the social worker start pulling them away from me and put them into the social worker’s car. I stand on the court house steps and watch the car drive away, the children’s faces awash with tears, pressed up against the windows of the car. 

I get up and wash my face. I am no longer so cold and disorientated. I have had a cup of coffee but I need to talk. I need to be with other human beings who care. I need to talk to Nonqaba. I put on a jacket and walk down the road. Three houses of children in the same street, but this evening the sound is muted. There is a sadness hanging over all the homes. Shaun and Kelly are gone. I remember overhearing Shaun telling some of the other children one day, “Life is better when she is around”, pointing over his shoulder at me. They were part of the family. I must remember to tell the children that although these two are gone, they are not dead, not like the others. 

I fall into Nonqaba’s arms. I can see she has been crying too. But her tears are of anger. 

“That woman is not the children’s aunt! And she has already got 8 children that she is fostering. She only does this to get the foster-care money”, said Nonqaba, clearly angry and agitated. 

“I am going to see that Pumza Mobo, she is a liar. I don’t know what she is trying to do with this community”, she continued. 

The situation regarding the two children was worse than I thought. Not only were they suddenly uprooted from a place where they were safe and happy with no preparation for the move, but now they were in a place where they were not with family as they were led to believe, but with a group of children. Kelly is now living in the same township where her rapist is still walking free. The interest of the child was clearly not a priority. 

The priority was foster-care grant for the foster mother, and an easy solution for the social worker whose mandate was to ensure that as many children were removed from my care as possible, regardless of where and how they are placed. Section 28 (2) of the Constitution states: A child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child. 

What does this really mean to the child? It may as well not exist as far as the child is concerned, because in this case the child’s interests were clearly not taken into consideration and, in fact, the children’s rights were violated according to the constitution.

Nonqaba and I put the children to bed and when all was quiet, made a cup of tea and sat at the kitchen table, talking about the problems caused by the authorities. Why, when the authorities had no alternative to us, did they give us such a hard time? Why did they not want to assist us with what we were doing? Why would they not work with us? After all, these children belonged to all of us. They were the thrown away children of the community. 

We did not receive any grants for them. We did not take anything from the authorities. We were no threat to the social workers. Or were we? Were we showing them up by doing what we were doing? Were we doing what they were being paid to do and they were not doing it? Was it professional jealousy? We had tried attracting the bees with the honey. It had not worked. We were now standing up to them. We were studying the Child Care Act and the Constitution and using those when dealing with them, but even that did not always work. They would catch us off guard, like they did with Kelly and Shaun. 

We had another problem. Shaun was part of the drama performance we were taking to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. We had been practicing for weeks and the gumboot dancers’ performance was excellent. Their precision and synchronization was unbelievable for children of their age, and Shaun was an integral part of the performance. The venue had been booked and paid for, the accommodation had been booked and paid for, the advertising had been done and above all, Shaun was looking forward to the ten days of performing in Grahamstown. Now we would have to look at the whole play and try and get the boys to perform without one of the team. 

The welfare knew that Shaun was part of the team and that we were going to Grahamstown. No one from Middelburg had ever performed at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival before, and this was a really big event in all our lives. We were going to be performing against seven hundred other professional performances. How could that social worker do this to us, and more specifically, to Shaun? Did she not have any compassion, any vision, any thought for the future of the children? 

I left Nonqaba to go to bed, hoping that a new day would bring a new perspective on everything. I did not have the energy to bath. I just lay on the bed. Despair was the only thing I felt. Total despair. Total exhaustion. Not depression. 

Despair. Depression is a sadness, one you can speak about, a condition that can be treated with medication. Despair is a dark pit in the mind from which there is no escape, no words to describe and no medication to relieve. No place to go. No way to turn. No way out. I think of death. I feel I cannot carry on. There seems no reason to take the children in, protect them, love them and to let them go the way Shaun and Kelly left today. I know what will happen to them. They will stop going to school. They will return to the streets. The foster care grant will be misused. It has happened hundreds of times before. What help did I really give to Kelly and Shaun? Would it not have been better to leave them on the street, because then they would have known no better? Perhaps they would have been dead, but now they were suffering indescribable heartache, the wrench from the safety of our home, the love, the security. What had I really achieved by taking them in for three years and loving them the way I had? I think of taking an overdose. But I don’t have the energy to get off the bed. I hope God will be kind enough not to let me wake up tomorrow.

(Extract from Saving Mandela’s Children by Dianne Lang - available on Amazon and Kindle) 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A consciousness of lack increases until a vacuum fills the human mind

An impassioned student seeking the Truth once went to India to study the ways of the Far East under a famous teacher who was believed to know the Truth.
Having accepted that poverty and asceticism go hand in hand with spirituality, the student had taken the vow of poverty. He was horrified to find the Master, not sitting in a loincloth under a tree, but living in comfort in a marble palace, surrounded by treasures. In addition, the Master was beautifully dressed in Oriental fashion and wore magnificent jewels.

The student was unable to comprehend what he was and spoke at length on the uselessness of material possessions. The Master sat quietly, listening until the student had finished his tirade against riches, luxury and worldly possessions. And then he spoke:
“It is not the possession of things, but the possession by them of you that counts. I have no interest in things for their material value, but for the beauty and comfort they give me".

The Teacher just sat quietly. The student rushed over to him: "Get up and help - all these beautiful things are being destroyed". The Teacher sat quietly and smiled. Finally, in exasperation and exhausted from his efforts, the student once more begged the Master: "For the love of God, do something to save all this stuff". The Teacher answered, "I am not concerned at all. I possess it now and can always replace it. This 'wealth' has no value to me. But you, who come half way across the world to tell me how to renounce wealth, are in a terrible state over the destruction of what I have repeatedly told you was nothing".
Then, as the astonished student looked about him, the fire receded and there was no trace of damage.

This did not appease the student who argued that if the Master had no interest in material possessions, he should then renounce them all. He was still speaking when a fire alarm was heard in the palace. He looked up and saw the flames devouring all the precious works of art. As the Master seemed unperturbed, the student jumped into action, shouting orders to the servants as to how to save the furnishings and treasures.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Truth is not a democracy .....

Everyone wants acceptance. Everyone wants someone to believe in him or her. Everyone wants to feel part of a group. Everyone wants to feel respected for their views. Everyone wants to feel special.  I also want to feel loved, accepted and respected.

So what is it inside of me that I push the envelope with people? What is it that makes me put myself in the position of ridicule time after time? What is it that makes me become a voice for the voiceless? What is it that drives me to put myself in positions where I can be hurt, humiliated, sworn at, shouted at, scorned and designated to the group called “loony” or “crazy” or to be constantly told that I need to be institutionalised?

Since I was the age of 11 years, I was called a heretic. A heretic is, according to the dictionary 1. 
somebody who holds unorthodox religious belief: a holder or adherent of an opinion or belief that contradicts established religious teaching or (so Jesus was a heretic in his day) 2. somebody with unconventional beliefs: somebody whose opinions, beliefs, or theories in any field are considered by others in that field to be extremely unconventional or unorthodox. (and Galileo was also a heretic). Of course, when I was a child I had nightmares about being burned at the stake because I had read the book about Joan of Arc. She was called a heretic and she was burned, but I did not then know that the only difference there was between me and the one who is not a heretic, is that I think differently. Being a heretic a couple of hundred years ago meant that I was would have been devil worshiping and going against the church doctrine of the day. In other words, I would have been branded a witch at worst, or accused of lunacy at best. 

Not much has changed over the centuries - I am still called “mad”, ‘loony’ and ‘crazy’ because I think in a different way to most. I always question what I read to determine the truth for myself. I always read as much as I can and from every point of view before I open my mouth with my opinion. Of course, I would much rather be called a fool or mad than be called an uninformed opinionated bigot. I am only human, so I will make mistakes, but I do try very hard to put myself in someone else’s shoes, to see the other side of the story and to realize that but for the Grace of God, I could or would have done the same thing. I would rather be called the ‘devil’s advocate’, than be branded a lunatic who needs to be put into an institution. 

The world has not changed over the last two thousand years because when a person thinks differently, he or she is still shamed and humiliated? That was the world of the middle ages, when the first person to say the world was round was called mad, when the first man to say that hand washing would save woman in labour from labour fever was put in an asylum because his idea was not popular and it made the other doctors and professors look inadequate. Personal jealousies, ignorance … these are the vanities or the deadly sins we are warned about in the bible. But even if you don’t believe in the bible or in God or in any religion … but merely in the science of rational debate then you have to agree that institutionalising someone who thinks differently to you is a serious mistake. 

I have had a rather rough Easter weekend. I have been sworn at, ridiculed and humiliated by a number of people, because I believe Eugene de Kock should be freed. I do not have the knowledge or authority to write about what went down, how it was or how it should have been. I was not there. I did not walk in Eugene’s shoes, nor did I have the privilege of walking in the shoes of his friends. Many times I have been told that there are more deserving drums I could beat, but I fail to see any of these advisor’s beating any drums on behalf of anyone else. They have blinkers on their eyes, cotton wool in their ears and they refuse to see any point of view that is not popular or the latest fashion. 

I remember once watching a 4 x 4 drive over a street child, the driver did not even notice and then reversed over him again. No one noticed, no one did a thing. Every adult’s eyes were focused on their own lives so they did not see that child with broken legs. I cannot (and I have tried) keep blinkers on and not get involved, but it is impossible. If I turn my back on myself, on who I really am inside, then I will snap my spine. 

A complete stranger, Loot Joubert, a Facebook friend whom I have never met, stood up for me when I was sworn at and ridiculed by one person on Facebook. Never in my life did a stranger stood up for me and the feeling that I felt was one of extreme gratitude. I was worried when I started moving FREE EUGENE DE KOCK’s group along because I felt that I did not have the knowledge or the authority to begin to speak on his behalf. I have often wondered what he must think about me getting involved in this, a stranger. But after Loot Joubert stood up for me, it made me realize that maybe even if I don’t know Eugene, he may appreciate what I am doing. Because I know that I got a really warm feeling of safety and of friendship when Loot stood up for me and for me humanity has redeemed itself through Loot. And of course, not to forget mentioning some other amazing people I have met through the Free Eugene de Kock group. 

For every good story about Eugene, there are dozens depicting him as evil personified. What amazes me is the number of Christians that has not an ounce of forgiveness in them. It also amazes me that so many men who fought on the border have, using their words, been ‘brainwashed’ again. It is always easier to go with the flow … to go with what is the flavour of the day … to go with the majority. 

But there is no democracy in truth. People will just as easily vote for an error than vote for what is right. That is the sad fact about people. They lack conviction and prefer a safe little life. As long as I am OK, Jack, I don’t give a continental about the next man. Well, I just can’t be like that. 

I have very few family members who even speak to me because I always go against the norm. Even my daughter has scolded me for not minding my own business. But how can I turn my back on myself. How can I look myself in the mirror each day if I do not stand up for those who have no voice? How can I, at the end of the day, fall asleep in my bed, knowing that there was perhaps just one more thing I could have done to make another man’s burden lighter. 

Eugene is not my only cause, but he is my favourite cause right now and I will continue to work towards getting more and more people to remember who he was and what he stood for. It was different times in those days, there were different political agenda’s, it was a different era. In those days, he did his duty as did thousands and thousands of other white, brown and black men. Sooner or later, someone will come up with a good idea that will lead to his release. I do not understand why this one man was singled out to pay for the sins of everyone. Guess I also don’t understand why Jesus was singled out to pay for the sins of the world. Even those who believe he should be punished for what he did … should they not start forgiving? How long does a man need to be punished? How do we measure remorse? There are many things that I will never understand but I will continue to question and I will continue to think, reflect and reason. And I hope that I will continue to be a compassionate and passionate human being. 

I will apologise if I have hurt anyone by what I have said. BUT, I will never apologise for my compassion for other human beings. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Forgiveness, me and Eugene de Kock

Every activity first starts with a thought. This blog started with a thought that was provoked by a few comments about forgiveness on the Free Eugene de Kock Group on Facebook

I have struggled with the concept of forgiveness for years. From philosophers to psychologists, from religious leaders to scientists … I have spoken to them all and discussed the concept of forgiving and forgetting and moving on from the past. 

I adamantly believed that it was impossible to forgive without the abuser apologising for his or her behaviour. How can you forgive someone for doing a bad deed to you if they think they were justified in what they did? That was my dilemma. And I fought all these people about it. I just would not listen to their reasoning. I suppose, it is a case of “Die wat wil nie hoor nie, moet voel”. I ’voeled’ and I learned. 

Of course, I always knew that we cannot forget the hurts done to us, no matter how saintly we are, no matter how many times we turn the other cheek, no matter how forgiving we are … only a fool will forget what has hurt him. Surely you will not pet the dog that bit you a second and a third time, just to be bitten again. Surely you would remember not to go near him again? 

Now that I have spent the good part of 30 years thinking about forgiveness, I change my mind about the concept. While I thought that forgiveness could only happen when the trespasser asked forgiveness, I now know differently. I have learned this through having to deal with the issue of forgiving others, over and over again, ’voeling’ the lesson time and time again. 

I have learned that it is possible to forgive another even if they continue to believe that their behaviour was right and justified. 

Without going into personal details, this is how I have learned to forgive. Forgiving someone else is very difficult, especially if you have been deeply betrayed, abandoned and hurt (and no, I am not talking just about a partner doing this to you). We find that we are shocked by the other person’s or people’s behaviour because you think to yourself, “How could you do that to me? I would never do that to you”. Most of us live by the rule of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. So we are shocked when someone treats us badly. And that shock forms part of the negative emotion that you carry with you … part of the anger at the person/people who have wronged or betrayed you. 

I have learned that a negative emotion is far stronger than a positive one. A negative emotion about a person ties you to that person more strongly than love. Far better to have no feeling at all about a person than to have a negative emotion. Having no emotional attachment to someone frees you of that person. 

If we feel nothing, that person has absolutely no power over us. But if we carry negative emotions, then we lose our power and give it all away to the one who hurt us. 

The resentment that we hold over another binds us to them with ties far stronger than steel ropes. Not only are we caught in the web of negativity but the other person is free! They will most likely not even realize what they have done and if they do, they will find ways of justifying their bad behaviour towards us. So, while we feel resentful, angry and hurt, we are the only ones who are being affected, because the abuser/trespasser is not affected at all. He has moved on with his life and we are stuck to him in the past. 

Whether the situation happened 6 years ago or 6 million years ago, or six months ago, that event is no further away from you today, than yesterday. We live our emotions in the moment. That includes all the accumulated hurt and anger from long ago. We remain prisoners of the very people who have hurt us because we can’t let go of the negative emotion. 

Forgiveness has never been about the other person or persons. It has been all about me. I am the one who is freed by forgiving those people. 

The fastest way I have found to forgive someone is to realize that they do not know that they are doing wrong, (they know not what they do). If someone does not know that they are doing something wrong, then how can we be angry with them. They are merely fools. And since we are all at different levels of spiritual awareness, we need to see that others are behind us and there will always be others that are ahead of us. So why be bogged down by those people who are not as spiritually advanced as you? My grandmother used to tell never to lower myself to someone else’s level, but to lift them up to mine. That is kind of what this is about … looking at those who are spiritually more advanced than us and trying to emulate them and not lowering ourselves to the level of revenge, anger, resentment, bitterness, and negativity. 

Now I know this is frivolous, but this helps me to move past hurtful people. I have a few sayings that I repeat quietly to myself when confronted with a fool who knows no better. These are a few of them: 

You can expect nothing from a pig but a grunt.

A baboon cannot see it’s own backside.

If you mix with dogs you will pick up fleas.

Your spirit will soar like an eagle only if you don’t try to fly with turkeys. 

You are a prisoner when you do not forgive. You are locked by the chains of the past. Forgiveness is the most important gift you can give yourself. Forgiveness dissolves the links of the chain that bind you and sets you free. There is no future in the past. 

Forgiveness is a creative act. It changes us. It is a commitment to a process of change and growth for ourselves. To have the courage to forgive (for it takes courage) is to expand your life, to open it up to endless possibilities which are only possible if you are freed from the past. Ghandi said that “the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attitude of the strong.” 

Forgiveness is the recognition of the humanness in your enemy, even while understanding that we may be poles apart on a spiritual and emotional level. 

No walls can imprison a spirit - our bodies can be imprisoned in jails, or imprisoned by ill health, but our spirits can soar on the wings of freedom. Forgiveness is the single most important process that brings peace and harmony to your own heart and soul. It forces you to grow beyond that which you were. 

I am free at last. I am free of my past because I have forgiven them all. My enemies have no power over me. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Some days are just KAK ...

I am feeling fear and angst … a low grade anxiety and a feeling of impending doom. I know that a few weeks from now or maybe even by tomorrow, this feeling will be gone and I will not even remember this day of angst.  

I wander through my mind wondering why I feel this anxiety. I am tired, dreadfully tired. I don’t want to tell anyone about it because they will then tell me how tired they are. My tired is different. There should be another word to describe this tiredness. Even exhaustion does not do this tiredness justice. This tired is not the tired you can sleep or rest away. Even talking makes me breathless and walking up and down these stairs is a monumental task … a fight between my body which feels so heavy … and my will. I want to do things but it feels like I am dragging my body through mud. For weeks, I have woken up so tired that every cell and tissue of my body is burning and screaming for … I don’t know what.

I have to earn a living. I must work because I need a roof over my head and food for my belly. There is no alternative. But what work can I do?  What skills do I have that I can use within this limited way of living?  I want my old life back...to the time when I had energy and could move my body any way I liked...when I could run up and down stairs and do therapies for hours on end without getting tired...when I could ... what is the use of looking back.  I must come to terms with where I am and do what I can with what I have. I can feel the tears form as I write this … tears of anxiety, frustration and exhaustion. 

I look at this pile of medical bills that the medical aid has rejected and I feel despair. If I don’t have the money to pay them, then there is nothing I can do about it right now. I ask myself these questions: Is this a priority? Can I do anything about it? Does it add value to my life? The answer to all or most of these questions is NO … so I must put it down and not carry it with me today. I must see what I can do today, what is a priority, what I can do and do only those things that add value to my life. I can rest. I can lie down and sleep and allow my body to rejuvenate itself. And that will add value to my life.

I know tomorrow will be different. I will wake up and hear the birds singing. I will see the sun shine and I will feel more energetic. I will find my spirit again and I will smile from the inside out. Every tomorrow is different from today and every tomorrow holds the possibility of health and peace. I also know without any doubt that God provides for my every need.   Why do I feel sorry for myself when out there in the world there are a lot of people very much worse off than I am? 

Perhaps my next lesson is to be kind to me and to understand that I am only human and as such I am fallible.  But I do know that it takes a lot more courage to choose life, than to choose death.  Through all these tears, I can see a rainbow of hope.  I choose LIFE!