Stand and Stare

 

I had seen the notice in the newspaper and thought I would make a note to attend the cancer support group, that was to meet at the Church in the village in Durban North. .
Come the day, I had a hesitancy to go.   Not knowing what to expect, and certainly not wanting to surround myself with strangers who spoke of troubles and problems and sicknesses.   My heels were becoming more firmly entrenched in my obstinacy, when I had a sense of the Lord saying to me, with His two fingers pointing at His own eyes :  ‘Keep your eyes on Me’    So the decision was made, I had to go to the meeting.
Talk about self-sabotage  – something I will have to look into at some time !!

However, it turned out to be a lovely day.  I had a lift to the meeting, so I was free to make quiet observations along the way.
One thing I noticed as we were waiting longer than usual at a robot – ( We have power outages in our country at the moment.  It is a national crisis as our electricity generating plants are in a state of disrepair !!)  –  there was a team of municipal ladies in red overalls  weeding and sweeping the gutters in the streets.   One had a long sharp blade type cutter with which she cut the weeds, the follow-up lady would sweep up the weeds, and another two would trim and clean the pavement, sidewalk or verge as some call it.
All very proper, and although very menial it was a form of employment, so very necessary for our people.  But here is the spark that lifted my day.  One of the young ladies looked very becoming for she wore a long curly “weave” or hair piece that made her look like a career woman!   As the traffic began to move and we passed by I gave her an invisible salute, for here was a young lady holding her own, doing a days work on a  hot humid day, looking the best she can while embracing a lowly work.

The scheduled meeting was quite a large one,  and I was welcomed and acknowledged as a newcomer, and escorted to a seat with a companion throughout the meeting.
The people, mainly woman, were cancer survivors gathering to share their stories.   I sat quietly and listened.   I again realised just how good God has been to me through my own encounter with cancer.

There was both suffering and strength in the room, with an open willingness to talk about their survival journey.   There were some who had nursed mothers, fathers, brothers and loved ones through cancer.  These were  the close family members of cancer patients, (often not regarded) who go through their own particular emotional traumas when their loved ones face the cancer challenge.
Tea and cake were served and we huddled together, like mother hens, to talk around everyday normal things and events.  These are things women do best  – apart from surviving cancer !
The scheduled programme of listening to an inspirational talk on cancer was shelved as the electricity was off.  Some of the ladies spoke at random and the rest respectfully listened to their experiences.
There were one or two caregivers, who had a  wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with this disease.  A small group from Reach for Recovery, who do wonderful support work through their volunteers, had also come to the meeting.  The leader of their group later  came over to speak to me and told me of their work.    She was an elderly Indian lady, with a red dot on her forward indicating she was a Hindu,  and had so much empathy. The love was quite tangible, as she leaned in to give me a hug to say good-by.
I came away feeling emotionally cuddled, clucked over, and ‘seen’   It was so good to be with a group of genuinely caring people.

The meeting had finished a little earlier and I had to wait on the pavement for my ride to arrive.   As the Church is right in the heart of the ‘village’ there were car guards hanging around.  The Church has a crèche, and parents were arriving to collect their kids.  A lot of poverty has filtered into this little suburban region, so there is a soup kitchen on certain days.

Methodist Church

During tea I had overheard a Church member lamenting that their church have many elderly people,  little youth activities, needs repair as its 80 years old in the making.   By today’s wealthy mega Church status it may need a boost or two, but I reckon by Heaven’s standard they are right up there with the best of the best.
It’s a place where vibrant community happens, and the church is at its centre.

I was getting a little impatient waiting.   February is our hot clammy humidity season, and we have been having particularly heavy hazy, lazy days.  I looked up and saw the bluest sky I had seen in a long time.   It was a beautiful radiant bluer-than-blue sky.

corn flower
Best described I suppose would be a ‘cornflower blue’.
I sensed the Lord giving me a wink, and knew  He was watching from a clear sky.              “Just wait”,  I thought Him say.

It was then that I saw a beautiful tan and white boxer dog, tongue panting with a dry thirst, coming toward me.  I gave a little whistle, but he turned and bolted on.   Just then a car stopped,  a lady got out and shouted to the car guard to stop and catch the dog.  For just a moment he stood a little gazed then slipped off his tattered sandals and ran after the dog.  ‘Yeah, he’s not going to catch that dog’ I thought to myself.   The lady in the car sat awhile and frantically watched the scenario unfold.
Never underestimate the power of the grapevine !   The car guard shouted to someone on the opposite side of the road to stop the dog.     She then saw the plan and followed the chase in her car.    I will never know if the boxer was re united with his mistress – I hope so.   But it was an interesting way to pass the time while waiting on the street called Community.

To sum up then, my observations of the day, was a well-groomed aspiring street sweeper,  met a cuddle of caring women,  saw a real faithful old church, spied the bluest sky ever, and watched a barefoot car guard willing to go the extra mile – a nice slice of life.

So don’t hesitate when you get the opportunity to quietly observe real life as it passes by.
You won’t be disappointed.

William Davis, in his poem Leisure, said it this way :

“What is this life if, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare”

 

field of cornflowers.jpg

CareSA Chronicles

CARESA CHRONICLES
March 2015
Dear Community Co-hearts and Faraway Friends,

March is marching on to gobble up 2015. And I want to be quick to pen something down before time slips away and the moment to reach you with my letter is gone.
Community Matters : The year kicked off with a Soul Action group gathering. Phil Bowyer led us in a time of Reflection, Refreshing and Refocus. These were very healthy activities and cleared the cobwebs away to reset the mind on a clear course for the year ahead.
I had the pleasure of attending the Container Ministry Conference held at Grace Church here in Umhlanga. In essence this Ministry sources food, equipment and other goods, from contacts Overseas who send ship containers to South Africa. The Container Ministry then re-distributes the goods to a network of Churches (mostly rural in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa – where poverty is dire) , and to local community projects working with the poor and needy. Because of Luke 6:38 I had thought to up my giving a little this year, but my jaw dropped when I heard of the pig farmer in Wales who not only filled a container with medical equipment, but bought the container, that then was transported to a project to be used as a school classroom !! The magnitude of this giving astounds me. We also heard from the community projects who benefit from this ministry. God is good. And He goes to great lengths to help the Poor through His people, who are called by His name.
I am so looking forward to a meeting in March, calling for an Entrepreneur Development Focus Group, which wants to discuss the way forward for the Craft Traders of the Hope Craft Market. Hopefully this will strengthen the “poverty to progress” mindset. If we can capture all the right role players, with their ideas, insights and contributions, this could lead us to the next step on this very long road out of poverty. Entrepreneurs can and should form the basis of a new “emerging economy” for the sub-economic sector in our society. In fact it should form part of a bigger plan for Social Regeneration in South Africa. But alas I don’t think there is such a plan, until then we just need to trudge along as best we can. But with faith hope and love anything is possible. Right ? Right !
Now, beam me back please !! I once heard a man say : it sometimes is not easy to keep the balance between dreams and reality. So true … so for now back to reality.
At my monthly Craft Group meeting I came to hear of a ministry to premature babies by Gill Cameron of We Are Durban, who do a whole lot of good work in Durban. Gill packs little baby parcels for the premature babies and takes them to the hospitals to personally give them to the mums who have absolutely nothing for their little babies. At times they are wrapped in newspaper and sent home !! This moved me so, that I decided to use some of my off-cut materials and make up little blankets to give to Gill. Gill also encourages ladies to knit tiny beanies for these little ones, and our Craft Group members have supported her. There is much kindness in Durban, people are so willing to help where they can with what they can, and with what they have on hand. The giving is easy here !

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Gill Cameron and me showing off the little machine patchwork blankets from CareSA.

I have started blogging. I have a site on WordPress, which is a website for people who want to write. WordPress offer a course, which I did, and what a mind s-t-r-e-t-c-h for me . Smoke still coming out of my ears !! I have so much to learn. I have called my blog the CareSA Foundation, and intend to put all CareSA writings and concepts on it, so that all these dreams and ideas that lie neatly folded up in my mind can find an expression – on a global platform, nogal. That is if anyone visits my blog ! I have written quite abit on Gardens of the heart from the Care Africa Movement project. I even wrote a poem about Africa (not that I am a poet of any ilk or form)
Through Blogging I have come to realize that we are all just very tiny fish in a big big sea of humanity, with all its hurts and pains and joys and potentials.
My blog address is : https://caresafoundation.wordpress.com
Click on this and visit my blog, and leave your comments, remember to click on the Post button to publish to my blog. This will spur me on, – and I would love to hear from you.
For me the world has shifted gears, as I have come to realize that there is a whole new way of communicating going on. The Internet, Blogging, Social Media eg Twitter, Facebook, Google, have changed the world as we know it. It is scary, but I think we should embrace the change, and we will find that our worlds will expand. I’m trying, slowly, to do just that, and am finding new horizons to explore and new stories to hear.
I leave you with this encouragement, and with the hope that you will experience Luke 6:38 in your own life, and come to know the goodness of God in 2015.

Give, and it will be given to you : good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
Stay in Faith Hope and Love, and blessings to you this day.
Luv, Carol.