On the Death of my Wife

 

The End

It was on Thursday January 5, 2017 at around 15h45 that I got the call at work.

Crystal, my wife Jasmine’s friend at work, was on the line.

“Ian, you’d better get here quickly. I think Jas has had a stroke or something”.

“She was fine 5 minutes ago, and when I got back to the office, we found her collapsed on the kitchen floor!”

Needless to say, I dropped everything and drove as fast as I could.

I got there in 10 minutes.

As I got close to her workplace though, I was held up by road works.

An ambulance appeared behind me…

a good sign that at least the best professional help was at hand…

They had her dripped, stabilized and at the emergency room by 16h30

I was only allowed a minute with her before they asked me to leave and closed the curtain.

I waited nervously. I made anxious phone calls to her mother and my family,

I drank LOTS of coffee and flattened most of my packet of cigarettes.

I knew instinctively that the longer it took, the more serious her condition was.

So when the Specialist Physician called for me at around 19h30, a full 3 hours or 180 minutes of fervent prayer later, I knew that the news was not likely to be good.

“Mr. Wilson” he said, “I’m afraid your wife has suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage.”

“I doubt that she will make it through the night”

In a blur, I looked at the scans he showed me.

In a daze, I followed him to the ICU and looked at that frail, pale figure lying between the beeping machines, with tubes and pipes and a oxygen mask…

The Beginning

I just knew.

I’d found the one.

I would pursue her till

her heart was won.

From the moment she raised her eyes and peeked at me from under her fringe

I was smitten by this stranger, the new boarder at a friend’s house.

She was from Knysna, casually invited me to visit next time she went home. I did.

I invited her to church. She accepted.

She tried dodging me when I started getting serious. She failed. Miserably.

She wanted an Ice-Cream cake for her 21st. I travelled 50km the night before to get her one.

We got engaged. We broke it off.

She moved to Johannesburg. We still spoke every 2nd night.

We got married at 4pm on 04/04/1992.

Our vows never included the traditional “till death do us part”

But it did.

24 years and 280 days later

09 January 2017. 07h30. I held her by now cool hand under the bed covers.

I couldn’t speak, so I just nodded to the Specialist and he turned the ventilator off.

I PRAYED. I HOPED. I IMPLORED. I PRAYED HARDER. I WEPT.

But after 7 minutes, her pulse stopped altogether.

That brave, fighting, joyful heart stopped beating.

One last goodbye, whispered in her ear

One last gentle kiss on the cheek

One more disbelieving tear shed

I oozed out of that hospital ward

Alone.

Family and friends were there, but she wasn’t

81 days short of her 50th birthday

85 days before our 25th Wedding Anniversary

She wasn’t there anymore

The Memorials

We had a private family cremation service

One song to start, then those that wanted to, shared something

A verse or two, my one sister wrote a special poem to read out

Some memories

Her mom, sister and I placed her beloved St Joseph lilies on the coffin

Freshly picked from her own garden

She hadn’t had a chance to see them bloom

Then we sang another Hymn, then pushed the button to lower the coffin

One last lump-swallowing farewell

A quiet service, simple.

She was humble, hated being the centre of attraction

Yet drew people to her by her compassion and care, her innocent love

Freely given, expecting nothing in return

It was fitting

We held another Memorial later, at our church

Open to all, and she would have been shocked at how many people came

Not only her work colleagues, but even customers and suppliers

Her previous bosses, travelled from far

Our friends. Her friends. My friends.

She was loved and respected more than she ever knew

To her, she was nothing special – just Jas

But to the rest of us “just Jas” was more than enough

We played a musical montage that I will touch on again

Our pastor spoke, and although he’d only met her a few times, he remembered

The smiling face, the sparkling eyes, the joy that shone from her. He knew her.

We played a video clip of her favourite song, a piano piece

Performed specially at her request by the artist a month or two before

Our home cell leader spoke of the Jasmine he’d come to know

Serious about her walk with Jesus, which still continues today, unbroken

In heaven and at peace, full of joy

Of how she had impacted on the group

Always asking questions and willing to be taught

Then we sang again and went for tea and eats

The greeting queue lasted an hour

So many people with so many compliments and good memories to share

That it was an such emotional blur. I hardly remember

A week later, we scattered her ashes, as per her wishes

Off the rocks in the sea, 150 metres from our house

Close to where we walked her beloved dogs

My Continuing Path to Healing

I’m no expert in this thing called life

Or death, for that matter

So, I write the rest of this out of humility

At the suggestion of someone I trust, who I told my story to

They feel that the story of my personal journey could encourage others

The experts tell me that the classic steps to healing are

Denial, Anger, depression and acceptance

I hate little boxes like that, they over-simplify life

If only life was 1,2,3,4 and all was fine

Mine is more like 4, 1, 2, 4, 3, 2, 3.. and any other variation thereof

Like a dyslexic Bingo player after one glass of red wine too many

Maybe the fact that I’ve been on medication for number three

Has helped me

After a month of tying to cope on my own

I went to my doctor

And she doubled my dose

So, so, so many people have shared their thoughts and own experiences with me

So many have cared enough to keep encouraging me, 3 months down the line

Many have also not, but that’s ok –

Cos for them, life carries on

As usual

Whereas mine will never be “usual” again

To have been part of “one flesh” for almost 25 years

And suddenly be an individual again?

It takes hard work.

Trust me

People say what they think you need to hear

“I can imagine what you’re going through”

Not really…

Though of course it’s well-meant

Coz although they may have gone through similar circumstances

But they are not me, and their loved one was not Jasmine

Their relationship was probably different

Ours wasn’t perfect

We had differences quite regularly

We were both stubborn and both right mostly

What worked for me was

“If there’s anything I/we can do, no matter what time of day or night”

When it was genuine and heart-felt

Step 1 for me was:

To not ALLOW myself to go down the “if only” road

Well, as little as I could/can anyway

You see, I know this:

If the roles were reversed, Jas would’ve also felt those things!!

Yes, I made a lot of mistakes but so did she

So I said to myself, “Let’s call this one a draw”

“Call it quits.”

If I was the one up in heaven, I would hate her to beat herself up like that

And I know she would feel the same for me.

In fact if the roles were reversed

I would want desperately for her to be even happier than we had been

I know how badly I fell short of the classic description of love

Found in 1 Corinthians 13

“Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, 

It is not easily angered, It keeps no record of wrongs. 

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

NEVER fails? Mine did. Ours did.

Can I do a quick bit of personal theology here? I ask your indulgence…

See, 1 Cor 12 and 1 Cor 14 are both about spiritual gifts

But because we read/see/study/preach 1 Cor 13 on its own so much

We treat it as if the Apostle Paul got tired of that subject

Needed a break from it, so decided to chat about something more light hearted

Surely this isn’t the case?

The love he writes of can only be achieved with God’s supernatural intervention

It’s an aim, a benchmark of a calling to love like he “Agape’s” us

Not a destination we can achieve on our own

1 Peter 4:8 says “Love covers a multitude of sins”

Is more apt perhaps?

Regret is normal.

It’s a part of feeling your loss

But don’t dwell on it

Because when you do, it consumes you

Be at peace with having done the best you knew how, given your human frailty

Know that God knows you did your best

And He still loves you, no matter what

Step 2 is perhaps part of my acceptance.

As a Christian, we should know that our loved one is now with the Lord

There’s a scripture that is read at most funerals:

1 Thessalonians 4:13 says “We do not grieve as those that do not have hope”

We’ve all heard it said, in various forms and translations

But when it was read at my own wife’s funeral?

  1. A. N.  G.

It became as real to me as the suit I was wearing.

My Jas was WITH THE LORD.

What’s to grieve about?

She’s in heaven, and it’s not called that for nothing

The Bible says, amongst other things

“No more weeping, no more suffering and pain, no more fear”

“Eternal rest, everlasting joy and peace”

Her walk with Jesus has continued uninterrupted, as my friend Mike told me

It was ME that needed to grasp that fact

And believe it, grasp it, make it a reality in my heart!!

So how do we grieve, how are we supposed to, if the scripture is true

Which of course it is

I took comfort in the GOOD memories

There were and are so many

I had felt that it would be a nice introduction to the public Memorial

To show a slide presentation of happy pictures

From our holidays, which having never been blessed with children,

We’d had more than most

Jas had loved travelling, so I included many pictures taken during those happy days

There were pictures with her of our “fur babies”

She loved them all, not as replacement children

But as the special, caring person that she was to all God’s creations

Even the human ones that didn’t love her back

We showed shots of her garden, which she loved so much

And poured so much time into

Individual flowers and wide angle shots

She would have been so proud to have seen them all

We grieve for ourselves

We have lost someone very dear to our hearts

Jas-of-mine was gone forever

So do I dwell on my own loss?

Isn’t that actually just plain “feeling sorry for myself”

Selfish, in fact?

Step 3 may just blow some minds

I have a very different sense of humour, it takes some getting used to

But God has allowed me to become who I am

And so when I hear Him speak, He knows how to get through to me

During my time off work, the words of Jeremiah 29:11 come to mind:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

Me:      OK, Lord – so what are you telling me this for

For today, for my situation, for my grief

God:    “My beloved son, does that scripture go on to say

            Up until your wife dies, then you’re on your own?”

 

Woah!! Say WHAT??

Said scripture goes from head to heart in 0,003 seconds

He still has a plan for my life

Be that another 2 years

Or be it 10, 20, or 6 months

Understand that in my situation, the frailty of life is a reality

My understanding is stretched back to the reality of what I said earlier

As a couple, we live as a unit

Many changes are needed to adapt to being “one flesh”

Leaving your family and cleaving to one another”

Results in many compromises being made

Dreams being pushed aside, even

For the sake of unity, for common ground to be achieved

And held firmly onto, together.

And so this revelation shakes me to my very foundation

Who IS Ian Wilson

And what is his future, where does it lie?

The answer is suddenly clear and definite

It lies in NOT walking around the mountain again, as Israel did for 40 years

It lies in taking a deep breath of faith

Being “Strong and VERY Courageous” like the Lord told Joshua to be

And crossing that Jordan

Into that land of milk and honey; of provision and blessing

A new and Promised Land

Bring on the giants…

Step Backwards

It was inevitable, I guess.

The giants came

So, all the positives I’ve shared before are challenged

Especially keeping the memories limited to the good ones

Oh my word.

So many bad memories, what to do?

Hurt? Cry? Gasp for breath?

Prayer doesn’t even seem to help

Sleep comes fitfully

Self-recrimination, anger at her

Anger at her parents and family

Why? Why did she suffer so much hurt?

Not in death, the Lord in His grace took her peacefully

Hurt from me in my insensitivity

Hurt by her parent’s divorce when she was only a baby

At being raised never knowing unconditional love

Hurt by me when she needed love and I was too self-absorbed to hear her cries

And broke her trust

Why, the most gentle, loving, caring, sweet girl?

Shame upon Shame, is this Giant’s name.

The second is called Self-Disappointment

How could I have poured, in my own misguided way

24 years of unconditional love into this partnership

And yet have so often disappointed us both?

Must be something wrong with ME!!

In the grip of this same struggle, I went and left my job

Hastily and angrily

Out of the same sense of frustration

I just obviously wasn’t doing it well enough..

So badly that the owner had to keep correcting me

Well, then – let him run it himself.

Sorry, mate.

Then of course, there’s the serpent’s favourite from the Garden

“Did God really say?” Doubt.

You’re changing in so many external ways

In faith right. Yeah, right!

God can’t use you, you’re imperfect, tarnished

You’ve done X and Y. And especially C and I, not to mention T

You don’t belong back on that worship group, you set a bad example

You’re judgmental and inflexible and unteachable

This little revival won’t last, why bother?

Emotions – out of control so often

Highs and lows, lows and highs

Seldom much in between

Is this the “new me”?

More like the old, pre-Jesus one

Coz he was like that before he found the Rock

So, you get in with Steve, or another Christian Counsellor

You chat to one of the elders, to “seek wisdom from the grey hairs”

Good start, I don’t care how tough you think you are..

You need people to talk to

And sometimes it’s just easier with a relative stranger

Relatives know you, but can be relatively biased too

Here’s an example, meeting with a Christian friend who says

“Just sit on the Father’s lap”

So I close my eyes and picture it

Yup, on Daddy God’s lap – for about 30 seconds

Then I’m off doing stuff – “Hey Dad, look what I can do!”

He says, “That’s wonderful my Son, but come and sit with me again now”

Repeat three times and I get the message

He knows what I can do, He gave me the gifts

In fact He knows my POTENTIAL

Better than I do

But He wants me to sit still and enjoy Him right now

Which I do

With my head against His chest, I can hear his heartbeat

But then I start talking, telling Him what I’m feeling

And what I’m thinking. And wondering. And how I don’t understand all my pain

He quietly just “shushes” me, and I get the message at last

I need to just sit still and FEEL His love, absorb it

Cherish it

I’ve found peace there

I can go back more easily now that I’ve found out that

He doesn’t need me to impress Him

With my works

Or my many words

He loves me just the way He made me

Yoh!

We know it in our heads

But if it wasn’t for my sensitive friend

I wouldn’t have found it in my heart

Busy-ness can be the enemy too, go back to the Rock of our Salvation

More steps toward recovery..

Yes, I’ve come to realize that this path

This trail through a rugged forest

Is one that you can’t just quit on

There’s no way out except at the end

Short-cuts only lead back to the beginning

Keep attending the course, keep seeing the counselor

Keep learning, keep seeking

Learn from those who have walked it in the past

and

From those who are walking it at the same time as you

Some for longer, some shorter

They’re never next to you for long because their path is as crooked as yours

But treasure the meeting points

Where you meet briefly and encourage each other

The path of death is one

Which we would never choose to willingly walk

But it can become your friend as you discover more

More about yourself

And what you need

To become the “new you”

The new creation toward His Glory

What baggage do you have to drop, to continue stronger in your walk?

To let this experience transform you from Darkness

into His everlasting light?

To become More Effective in achieving His calling for you

Because, (and here comes the stinger..)

We have to learn to accept that

It was part of His plan for our life

This being left behind

This lonely place of pain

If I believe that He has known me since my mother’s womb

If I believe that His purpose has shaped me

Prepared me

For this day

It. Was. In. His. Plan.

That’s a tough one

God planned for my precious wife to die and leave me?

OUCH!!

YOUR (death/divorce/loss/pain/agony) HAS A GOD-ORDAINED PURPOSE!!

Listening to Louie Giglio yesterday

I find his messages inspiring

He spoke about “do we want a leading part in our own little life story?”

“Or a smaller part in God’s bigger Story”

In our story, this could be the start of the end

In His, it’s the end of the start

The beginning of a new Chapter

Find yours.

Our role in His story is one of our lives being

Offered to the director of the Universe

In worship

Lives sacrificed, bought by the Blood of Jesus

Willingly and submissively and humbly

Given back to Him to use

Let Him be God again

Don’t see yourself as a victim

You were BORN for such a time as this

Yes.

You were.

Defeating the Enemy

Uh-oh.. I feel a “live” write coming.. Why uh-oh?
Coz I’ve been up for 16 hours.
Coz I drove for 11 of those, and was over-tired before…

I get called upon by 4 people for various reasons
The second wants business advice.
Easy… I do that for fun
Tick.

The next one has marriage issues
But wants to tough it out
maybe they don’t want to move out of
their comfort zone
even if it hurts

They really just need a friend to talk to
To vent

The third is getting over a shattered
And shattering
relationship

They’ve moved on
In hope
Toward a dream they desperately want
For themselves & for their kids

Perhaps with rose-tinted glasses of hope
Too fast..
Maybe?
And they’ve just been broken again

The unmentioned one
Got saved
Saved from an undeserved piece of my bitter tongue
For playing games with life
To hide away the pain
By the other 3 “interrupting” me

So, what’s my point?
Sitting here with my 475th coffee of the day
A Cafe Breve from Seattle
Bought it when I went to buy milk
Never meant to buy it, but
It ambushed me from behind the counter

See, I never got to have supper
Coz I forgot to eat what I bought earlier
Coz when my peeps
God’s peeps mainly, need help
I’m there

Are you still reading?
Coz I’m just letting these words flow..

If it sounds like I wanna be a hero in someone’s eyes I’m sorry
I’m getting to my point soon

See, the Lord uses willing, available vessels
Not perfect ones
They might break a fingernail, after all..
And in the trenches of this corrupt world we live in
Blood will be spilled and hearts will be broken
If you wanna really make a difference
You have to be willing to take
A few bullets yourself

So where do I go for answers to the problems
Theirs
And my own?
For my own sanity, for my peace to be restored?
Coz taking emotional punches for others
drains me too..
My regulars will know the answer is music

I end up hearing lyrics
Or being reminded of them

Let’s start with Dire Straits
Yeah, you heard right
In one of their longest
And most outstandingly musically dramatic pieces
They tell a story of a man who sees the worst parts of life
in

Private Investigation
“It’s a mystery to me, the game commences
For the usual fee
Plus expenses”

“Confidential information, It’s always in a diary
This is my investigation, not a public enquiry
I go looking for my resource
Digging up the dirt
You get to meet all sorts in my line of work”

“Treachery and treason, there’s always an excuse for it
And when I find the reason I still can’t get used to it”
“And what have you got, at the end of the day
What have you got, to take away?
A bottle of whiskey and a new set of lies
Blinds drawn on windows
And a pain behind your eyes”

So
The world of sinners, and the world of Saints,
depending on your point of view
Is the same one

Similar pain
Issues
Hurt and distrust
Lies, suspicion
And blood and guts
And broken hearts

More words, this time from my usual sources

Casting Crowns:
“And though my heart is torn
I will praise YOU
IN THE STORM”

I pray it for them
I pray it for me

The Crowns again:
Yearning for shelter and affection
Searching for a hero to walk in and save the day
In walks Mr Charming, knows just what to say
A momentary lapse of reason
They give it all away..

Why Lord?
Why must he
/she
/we
/I
suffer
*(delete where applicable)

broken trust, trust broken
That was innocently offered
Ripped to shreds
AGAIN

Why Lord?
So why should we put ourselves at risk
Bare our hearts
Open ourselves to being
Abused.
Used.
Confused.

Because YOU did, Jesus!!
Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem..
You put yourself out there for
A bunch of ingrates
Did you do it by mistake?

No.
You CHOSE to put Your out there
To leave it all on the table

Knowing that it would get stomped on despite your best intentions

Let’s listen to Rend Collective
“I wanna live alive
Don’t wanna live a lie
I wanna live alive
and You make me alive”

“Don’t want to just survive
Be safe, but half alive
There’s danger up ahead
But I’m not running scared
I will risk my heart a thousand times
To feel again”

So, what does Darlene say
She often gets the last word…

“Carrying our burdens, covering our shame
He has overcome
Yes
He has overcome
We will NOT be shaken
We will NOT be moved
Jesus You are here”

“I WILL live
I WILL NOT die
I will declare (You) and lift You high
Christ revealed
And I AM healed
Jesus, you ARE here”

here
in this broken world
In this place of suffering because our hearts too
Have been trampled on by
Those we though we could trust

Those we offered our all to
At least we never got spat upon
Or offered vinegar to quench our thirst
Or had our side pierced by a sword
But were we willing to?

Lord, heal my friends
And if, as I suspect

I will be a vessel to bring them healing so they can be made whole
And move on in joy

And I’m still alone and exhausted by fighting for them

All praise is still yours

Musical Eyes

Transparent eyes should be illegal
Because if you’re lucky, you see through them and into a soul
Giving birth to a bond that will never easily be broken

They can capture, they draw you into danger
A siren’s song, with rocks hidden below
Drawn like a moth to a flame
Is being burnt inevitable?

Sometimes it’s as if I look into a heart and a mirror at once
There is no filter or mask that can protect me
No band-aid

Yet I embrace that fear, knowing full well that the separation
That will inevitably come
Will bring death to a part of my own soul

Filled with joy, eyes like that they bring me happiness
Peace in them brings wonder

Fill them with love and defenselessness strikes
Feeling numb – Words stutter out as one struck dumb

Filled with pain, they make me want to reach in and hug their soul
Brimming with tears, they unwind me

But worst of all, filled with hope, they ignite my hope

A fierce desire to protect, that if that trust should turn out to be misplaced
Or be just another a mirage
The eyes of hopelessness will return
“Please don’t get hurt again” I scream silently

Eyes like that make me want to find somewhere to plug myself in

Set up a gentle Reverb
Add a shadowy echo, step up the deepest bass
And a touch of overdrive just to make things a bit warm and fuzzy
Then just feel my way

Strum gently till I hit the right pitch
Pluck that one note and let it hang in silence
Amplitude is everything
When harmony must be created

Words come without effort or haste
Not forced, never empty
But from a connected heart

I wish I’d set up my guitar that way
And written that song

Is it too late?

Remembering 3rd Day (Live)

Day at home: Listening to music feeding my soul

Change the regular albums, dust off the old

Offerings II, Third Day, WOW

Memories? First heard it in Butterworth, who can say that!

At a friend’s house, who got it from a friend

Who worked at a Gospel Store and heard the new stuff

It was the start of a new birth of passion in my music

Offerings2

It was the first time I was exposed to Worship music that RoCkEd, was that “allowed”?

Some said “NO”, some still do. I wasn’t arguing, I’m still not –

Some things in life you, well you just have to feel, to GET, to drink in, to savor

It’s a “Live Album”, so to do it justice I’m writing “Live”

It was and is a bit raw – I love that about the album

I don’t “DO” prepared to the Nth degree in worship

It makes no sense to me. At all. It’s gotta be REAL, else what is it?

So the stutter and giggle at the start of track 1 hooked me. What?

No sense of over-produced perfection here

Then the man’s voice hit me – that gravelly throaty roar, I pictured MeatLoaf

Same sense of “Give it Horns” passion, although the Loaf may object to that comparison

Sorry to him

and to others who don’t get that: for a muso, passion is passion.

OK, where’s this going?

To a place where almost half the songs hit the church song roster

I knew we weren’t 3rd Day, and I wasn’t ever gonna be that singer

But that didn’t matter, it was the learning that we, that I, could be freer than I was

That although pumping the beat a bit on “What a Friend” was one thing

There was more. There IS more.

j4j 029

This is a personal journey. To those who were with me on it, I salute you

We did “Offering”, of course. We also did “Sing a Song”, sans the giggle.

We REALLY did “God of Wonders”: man, did we do it 2 00 or 300 times?

“Nothing Compares” to the song of that name … and

Their version of “Turn your Eyes” became our standard

We even did, “Take my life” even though it’s not your average sing-along song

It didn’t really take root, but who cared – we tried!

And then there was THAT night. When our home group led the Sunday evening.

We “did” all these, mixed in a few standards – but at the same intensity

See, there were no expectations of the group “on stage” that night

HUGE up’s to our group leader, my fellow Church Team member…

We set out to change everything up, just ‘coz we could

We turned the lights in the hall off, before the congregation arrived

We went candles; not our “norm” – kinda Catholic, but that was the idea

To jerk us all out of our comfort zone

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We did what we did, and the Lord did what He does when we get out of His way

He visited us and moved our hearts; our Offering fell sweetly on His ears, I believe

Some really spiritual peeps in the Congregation said afterwards,

They thought they were hearing a heavenly choir. I couldn’t say.

I heard the stage monitor, and I heard my Lord and I heard my Leader behind me.

And she said “OK” when I asked if we could end with “Show me Your glory”

We’d hoped to. We’d practiced it, though it was unknown to all.

But we agreed that, if we really REALLY felt it was fitting, we would end with it.

I caught a glimpse of Your splendor
In the corner of my eye
The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen
And it was like a flash of lightning
Reflected off the sky
And I know I’ll never be the same

Show me Your glory
Send down Your presence
I want to see Your face
Show me Your glory
Majesty shines about You
I can’t go on without You, Lord

When I climb down the mountain
And get back to my life
I won’t settle for ordinary things
I’m gonna follow You forever
And for all of my days
I won’t rest ’til I see You again
Show me Your glory
Show me Your glory
I can’t live without You

So, that’s where I leave the story. That song never got done in the church again.

Where do we go when we climb down that mountain?

‘Coz nothing compares. NOTHING. And if you’ve been there, you know. You can’t fake it.

and you really can “never rest till I see You again”

The world is seen through a different lens forever. Thank the Lord for that.

What we need …

This is one of those “What the hell is wrong with our world?” pieces. Stop reading right now if you don’t feel in the mood for a bit of Toy Throwing …

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OK – the answer to the question is simple: Greed. Money. The LOVE of the stuff is the root of all evil.

South Africa has one of the highest “income disparity” percentages in the world. In normal English, that means the Rich are getting richer and the Poor are getting poorer. This we also know is the way things have been predicted in the Bible, so …  what to do?

Well, I am naive/dumb/stubborn enough to say “NO to the Status Quo”. I blanch every time I hear of politicians being showered with undeserved Gazillions Of $$’s while those that voted them in live in squalor, with no running water and sometimes electricity – with an unemployment rate well over 30%. HELL NO!!

I wanna puke when I hear of shady underhanded multi-billion $$ government deals being struck (with strong undertones of kick-backs rumored) when our health and schooling systems are dysfunctional, to put it mildly. HELL NO!!

Can one man make a difference? Can one group even make a dent?

We have probably one of the highest Percentages of Government spending on Social Grants in the world. In other words, our government dishes out welfare to the unemployed, the disabled, the old ager’s and even a child support grant which pays out up to the age of 16 years. Then there’s the Military Veterans, and who knows how many thousand “Ghosts” (pensions being claimed falsely). Do any of the above actually benefit the recipients much? You guessed it – HELL NO!!

At +/- $72.72 a month, it’s (only just) on the bread-line stuff. And what it is created is a “dependency” mentality.

Which actually just means that a lot of these claimants will continue to cast their vote simply out of fear that they may lose out on there meagre pickings.

Now, for my overseas readers, let me put up 2 pictures that illustrate my point. First is the “compound” recently built for the President.

Nkandla

In contrast, here’s one (off Google Earth) of the local “township”, called Mzomomhle – or to call a Spade a flipping Shovel – the squatter camp, on the outskirts of my home town.

lathitha

So (eventually, dear reader), I reach my point.

I have got the guts to say “HELL NO”. I am fully supporting a Developement Centre in the squatter camp. They’re NOT a hand-out group. They’re NOT a bunch of liberal do-gooders trying to cleanse their Apartheid-Stricken guilty consciences. They want to help people win back the HOPE which has been stolen from them.

Lathitha Developement Centre teaches people skills, with which they can go out and get a job. People want to work, I choose to believe. Because it gets them back the self respect which comes with providing for their families.

Do they need help? Yes, coz the existing Government funding structures for NGO’s is so full of Red Tape, it takes years to apply for. Yes, coz the other main Organisation to try is the National Lottery Board. And they seem to be more interested in helping Art Societies, Sports Clubs and various other set-ups that help take people’s minds off their empty stomachs and starving kids.

I would LOVE for this message to be spread as far and wide as possible.

Am I trying to help them raise funds. Unashamedly. HELL YES!!

 

 

 

 

2016 -What’s the plan?

Got challenged tonight on having a plan, the saying goes “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time”

Point taken.

So let’s lay this out:

  1. 5 articles published, 1 fully written by next meeting (mid-feb)
  2. Explore the possibilities of re-visiting my 2 favourite characters
  3. Seek out mags/publications that want good old stories
  4. Stay true to my style – I’m a “pantser”, not planner
  5. Have fun, and give myself permission to write …-