Life Happens


Life happens !
We are all different and respond or react differently in different situations.
Living life gives us the opportunity to experience different situations,  some that we would never choose for ourselves.   And through these life situations we get to know ourselves a little better – and perhaps that is the crux of the matter of life, to get to know ourselves a little better, through the hard times and the good times.

Sprouting a little wisdom here then ?

Well, taking a small overview of the past twelve months, and in particular the last five months, has given me a glimpse into the way I respond to life situations, and so getting to know myself a little better.
Having been diagnosed with breast cancer and walking on the stepping stones of a new pathway I am a little surprised how the walk through the valley of the shadow of death has brought a subtle change in me.
A cancer diagnosis becomes a death sentence, well in my mind it was so.
First the symptom then the mammogram, then the visit to the surgeon, then the results of his biopsy, then its over.  Well so I thought, but discovered that it was not over, and that I did not die, but lived !

My demise was a mental address, real and sad to me that there was nothing beyond the final visit to the surgeon.   I was in a dead-end street.
I tried to tidy up my cupboards, throw out any excess so the family didn’t have much bother when I was gone.  Get my accounts in order.  Just generally tidying up my life, with no loose ends to tie up.   I made no commitments  so that I would have no obligations.  I had no desire to be creative or work on any project.   I only did what I had to do.   I kind of gave up on my life, after all there was no future.

I put on a strong face for the family, and was very positive in the beginning. I wanted them to ease into the reality of the death sentence, as I knew it is a personal blow to come to terms with losing a loved one.   They were all so very supportive, each in their own way, and the love they carried in their hearts were revealed to me in each one’s unique response to the situation.  They each grew in stature and grace at Life’s happenings.

The hormone therapy that the oncologist had put me on was easy, apart from the tiredness that went along with it.   The tumour had regressed and I was on my way to healing.   I became optimistic that things were working out  after all.   Somewhere along the way I lost the death sentence as I began to realise that there was much wisdom in ‘taking one day at a time’ and ‘to keep hope alive.’

Then the tumour started to grow again.   The oncologist suggested radiation therapy, and I was in a dilemma – to do, or not to do, was the decision I struggled with, until I finally made an appointment with the unknown – radiation treatment !

Radiation sign

The treatment itself was not to daunting.   “Its like having a chest ex-ray,” my oncologist said.   It is however the after effects that had to be walked through, with plenty of rest, as the treatment left me drained, physically emotionally and spiritually.  And rest I did, for the best part of six weeks.   My poor immune system had been rocked by radiation to destroy the enemy within, it deserved to rest and to be nurtured, –  so to my soul.

It was during this time that I realised I had to keep my mind busy.   I was not to let this situation, this ‘ life’s happenings’,  this malady with its tiredness dominate my thinking.  I had to bring in other thoughts, and good thoughts.  I had to focus my mind on something better, a bigger story than my own.
So I took to the Scriptures, and focused particularly on a project-read, and then bring it to a conclusion by writing a summary of it on my blog.    I chose to look at the great men in the Bible.   I wrote Minding Moses and Dancing with David, and am currently working on other Faith heroes.

The  radiation treatment is still doing its work, and the tumour is regressing.  Hallelujah ! And my oncologist is delighted with my physical progress.

crossing the bridge
Having said all that I must add, that emotionally it is quite a ride too, a lonely ride.  I regard myself as a fairly stable person, and was outwardly, and for the most part inwardly, calm through each step of the way.  Although open,  I’m a private person and like to handle my own “emotional stuff” my own way.  There were days when I felt very alone and very sad for myself.   And indeed I was alone, except when I drew my strength from the Scriptures.

Cancer has an ugly face, its not a nice companion, and I did not embrace it for one minute, but I had to surrender to God’s sovereignty in the situation.  Once I did that I was at peace with Him and with myself.

I am not only on hormone therapy, but on faith therapy too.     Its a therapy that has no bad side effects, and will in time manifest only the goodness of God.   Faith is spiritual, a heavenly thing,  and is another ball game, which I am slowly learning by His grace, and with expectation.

I am still on my pathway to healing, and calling on God to show me the way.
Perhaps there is new ground to break, I hope so.   I hope to see Him working in new ways in my life – help me to attain higher ground in faith and healing, and His way of doing things.

I keep in mind, that His grace is sufficient for a new day, for there is always faith, hope and love in, Life’s happenings !

The sun comes up




download (4).jpg Pepper Tree


Just imagine life without a family ?  It must be the poorest thing on earth not to know the love, the joy, the heartaches, the high and low dramas of family life. We are so the richer for it.

Normal family life is the glue that keeps us together, keeps us sane, and on track… and keeps society in check !   God in His wisdom designed the family as an institution for provision, protection, productivity, procreation, and the foundational pillar on which society builds a better world, for the children and following generations to come. The complexity and dynamics of building a normal functioning family is a monumental task, and requires the grace of God to accomplish.   How sad that this institution is beginning to crumble and fade because of  “The  Selfies” – the obesession of  Self –  self importance, self gratification, self satisfaction, obsession with money, and thoughtless morals.  But I do realise that this is the way of the new millenium generation.  Normal family life, as imperfect as it can be, does knock  “the selfie” out of us, to make room for something a little larger than ourselves where we learn to share and care and  create a larger space for others to have their being too.

As I sat on the bench under the Pepper tree, reflecting on the family – and other things, I was happy, and resting before the marriage of my daughter to her friend and long time fiance.   The wedding, was to take place at a wedding venue on a small game reserve just outside the city of Pretoria.   It was all very very beautiful, with a deck overlooking the dam, with geese, and fringed with buck and other wild life gathering to eat out their troughs as the sun was setting.  A wedding flowered arch was set on the deck where the ceremony was to be performed, with peace and tranquility speaking the loudest on that blissful afternoon.
What a beautiful wedding, an occasion where two people became one, where two families briefly connected with joy to witness their union.
What is more special than a family wedding ?

It had been a hurry scurry of events that led up to the wedding, so I was happy to be quietly sitting under the Pepper tree.   Pretoria is a lovely city, not flat, but surrounded by distant hills.  The Guest house was on a gentle slope, and as I lifted up my eyes to look over the wall I could see the Cross of a nearby Church rise high into the sky, and I knew I had to be very quiet.  Then came the intensity of the passion, that seems so prevalent on the high ground.  And a prayer began to go out for South Africa, for Pretoria, for leaders of integrity and honour to be raised up, for good governance for our land…. and for rain, plenty of showers of blessings for families,  for the city,  and for our land.

Under the Pepper tree  was a special moment in time for me.   I’m sure God was listening too and heard my prayers, quietly spoken on that day under the Pepper tree.

Pepper Tree