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.
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.
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”