Do I ask too much of love?

To those who have loved me well!

ally

Is love just a fluttering of the heart
that makes the senses come alive
or is it a wish that we have in our being for another person’s happiness?
Do we like the feeling of love
when the sky appears bluer and the birds song is sweeter.
or is love about ourselves?

How well can we love,
should we give up our true self in pursuit of love
or should love make us better?
Does it make us into beams of light or shards of glass?

Who are those who have loved us well,
loved us beyond our wild eccentricities
who have never wavered in spite of us?

Love should flow and glow into the deeper parts of ourselves.
it should infect external parts of who we are!

The question I ask of love is:
Were you there when I sinned
and did your love cover me?
When I needed your love to cast out my fear,
did you love me well
or did you run me out of town to that forbidden place
where my desires had the victory?
Was I welcome in your sanctuary when I got lost in the dark
did my brokenness melt your heart?
Can the brokenness of my being be mended by love?

When I was a child, I longed for love
the kind that nurtures and puts all wrongs to right
and steals away all sorrow!
I wanted your love to accept me,
even if I never became who you wanted me to be!

When I grew, I learned toxic love
the kind that kills all innocence
and is a destroyer of dreams!
Toxic love neither knows itself or the being that it inhabits
it only craves transient love
the kind that consumes the beauty of souls!
This is not love!

There is a kind of love that humans need
it is the kind of love that embraces us when we are ragged and poor,
dirty and homeless.
The kind of love that runs to greet us when we are still a far way off,
it dresses our wounds,
and washes us in devotion,
it clothes us in glory and adorns us with affection!
It is the kind of unconditional love that never leaves us!

 

 

 

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African Sojourner

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I was born in Nairobi, Kenya at a time when life was good for the white Colonialists of Africa. My Mother left a dark, bleak England after the Second World War for a better life in Kenya. Although my Father was born in Zimbabwe, he was from English stock.

People would probably call me a European, even though I don’t really feel like one. I was not born in Africa by my own choosing, but I can honestly say that today Africa is born in me.

It is the continent that feels like home and I have always loved its people, its diversity and its majesty.

As a child I was lied to by white people and never told the true history of Africa. In fact I learned English and European History at school. I feel cheated that I didn’t get to grow up alongside other races and learn their culture and their history.

I was attracted to Black people from a very early age. My parents employed a man who was our Housekeeper and I remember him very well, his name was Thomas, I may have mentioned him before. I could go so far as to say that I loved him more than my own Father. He had a very gentle spirit and an incredible sense of humour. He was a true gentleman. I never understood why he was relegated to a cold room outside our house. I was and am a privileged white person and have not known the sting of poverty or oppression, but I have seen it firsthand.

I would like people to know my story because although I grew up being taught prejudice, I have seen the light and reject racism or oppression of any kind.

When I was 20, I was living in Harare. I had just given birth to my first son and I was at home when Zimbabwe became independent. It was a joyous day and I went into town with my son in his pushchair to watch the celebrations. I then began seeing stories on TV about what kind of horror the Freedom fighters and their families went through in order to be recognised as a people who have a rightful say in their own country. I was mortified by the stories of mothers walking in the bush for days with babies defecating on their backs because they had no other choice and no resources to get help. While the security forces were flown out by helicopter when they were injured, the freedom fighters would die in the heat far from hospitals and loved ones.

I have also seen and read many stories about the atrocities done to people of South Africa in the name of apartheid and its evil laws. It should be part of the school curriculum, just like we learn about Nazi Germany.

This was a life changing moment and I was furious that I had been lied to for so long. The press as well as the Ian Smith Government made statements that were completely untrue. They said they were fighting Communism, but in fact they were fighting to keep white Supremacy.

I left Zimbabwe when my son was still young partly because my first husband wanted to leave and partly because we believed the lie that Communism was taking over.

I arrived in South Africa in the early 80s when there was a lot going on, but I had a young family and I didn’t follow the goings on of the Politics of the time. On looking back I realise that South Africa was a hot bed of racial division.

In Zimbabwe apartheid was not an official law, but there was definitely a division between white and black. White supremacy was rife. I just accepted what my parents told me as a child even though deep down I could feel it was wrong. I will say it again, I feel totally cheated not to have grown up having black or coloured friends in my class at school. It was never my choice to be segregated.

As the years have gone by I am honoured to have many Black and Coloured friends who have shown me a bit of their culture but I don’t know enough of their History as a people group. Something I would like to make right.

So my present Quest is to find out the real truth behind all the lies that I have been told.

I remember visiting Zimbabwe Ruins as a child and asking who built it, only to be told that they don’t know. My question today is “How could they not know!!!” Cecil John Rhodes faked History.

Do people realise how much History has been changed to make the Europeans look good and Africans look bad? The continent of Africa has been pillaged and looted. The people of Africa have been taken as slaves, exploited and dehumanised. Why are we so ignorant and remain so when there is a wealth of information to ingest and enlighten ourselves!!

In the year 2016, there seems to be a swelling of racist comment throughout social media, but there is also a wave of protest and a need for change. I want to be part of that change.

Remembrance Day is still observed more than 80 years after the war that changed mankind. Memorials and Holocaust museums are in existence today, to commemorate those affected by the evil done to them. Why is it that we must shove the atrocities done to a whole continent as well as evil laws like apartheid under the carpet? People have been irrevocably changed by slavery and oppression. One of the sayings that goes with Remembrance Day is “Lest we forget”. Perhaps we should adopt that very same expression to remember the evil that has been done to the people of Africa!!

I live in a small town where there is still segregation and it is abhorrent to me. People who live in Townships have been oppressed for so long that they no longer feel equal to white people. This is utter nonsense and must be eradicated at all costs. We should be doing everything humanly possible to change this legacy.

These beautiful People of the South were here long before us, this is their land. We are merely sojourners who should be thankful that they still tolerate us.

Yes, I was born in Africa, and I would like to stay and be part of her healing.

Finding myself

ally at 10

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”

― Lao Tzu

I lost myself somewhere along the road less travelled and let people tell me who I am.

I was never an ambitious person, I shouldn’t be ashamed of that. The simpler things in life made me happy. As a child I loved nature and had a gaggle of ducks and bantams. I’ve always loved dogs and other animals. I was an imaginative dancer believing in magic.

I remember feeling the pressure to do well at school from a very early age but I was a true day dreamer. My favourite book was Alice in Wonderland. My siblings did very well and this added to my insecurity. I never aspired to be a professional person even though it was a prerequisite to being loved and admired. I suppose I pretended not to care what they all thought or perhaps I was desperate for that kind of love.

I wasn’t really very good at anything and that was shoved in my face many times. “Why can’t you be like…..?”

My Mother, a gentle woman sent me to sewing lessons because my sister was so good at sewing, but I never liked sewing. Even though I do art my sister is still better at it than I am.

Someone said to me on my 50th birthday that it must be hard to live in the shadow of my brilliant sister. Yes, just punch me in the stomach…..why don’t you!!

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”
― Lao Tzu

All through my life people have admired my sister for her looks, talent and intelligence, while I stood in the background a little dull girl. I can only remember being admired once or maybe twice. I have never blamed my sister for all the adoration, I have always thought and still think she is truly spectacular.

Growing up in a family of achievers was very hard because I was not celebrated for being my authentic self. However I do believe God places us in families and He is in control of all things and I am eternally grateful for my Family. I probably wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for them.

It has taken me many years to realise who I am and celebrate myself. Yes it seems strange to want to celebrate yourself. My journey has also been marred by fundamentalist Christian belief. I lost my identity because someone told me that it should be in Christ. To this day no one has explained what my identity in Christ means in a way that I understand. Please don’t anyone try now because I’m not listening anymore!

It felt like I was not allowed to explore the dimensions of time and space and whether fairies or dragons actually exist.  I’ve been looked at strangely when I say “the Universe” and dare I ever say my Higher Power. Out there is a supernatural being who created me to be unique, so let me celebrate His creation.

I’ve read the bible and I’ve lived through the Psalms and I know that Jesus walked on this planet and He wore our flesh. I get that He is the one God among many who knows what it’s like to be human, and He fully understands the human condition. He died so that I may live. He’s been a part of my life for so long now that I can’t imagine a single day without Him.

The God as I understand Him has not given me everything that I want and He has not fixed all my problems, even though I’ve cried out to Him many times. I have often wondered where He is?

Yet He has appeared to me in the rooms of Narannon, in the testimony of an addict. He has showed me that it’s His loving kindness that leads us to repentance in a group of gay strugglers.

I have understood worship while being among the homeless and forgotten.

I’ve known His forgiveness while in the depth of my own brokenness and despair.

Please let me be who God made me to be, most beloved by Him, His treasured possession.

I want to walk in the forest and hug trees and smell the fragrance and delight in what the wind is telling me. I want to gaze at the stars for as long as possible and still question their meaning. I would like to dance in the moonlight and swim in the ocean and watch movies about werewolves and witches.

A simple life is what I seek, not to have too many things to weigh me down. I want to read the philosophies of Buddha and Lao Tzu and interpret my dreams. I want to read poetry and listen to Rock music really loud!

I would like to study the teachings Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud even if I get it all wrong. I want to risk living, without hurting anyone. I love knowing what makes people tick and the games they play. I don’t like judging those who have done wrong because then I would have to judge myself.

I believe that love covers a multitude of sins and perfect love casts out fear. I believe Love never fails because God is love. I continuously pray that I will not act morally superior to others and that bitterness would not darken my door, even though it does at times.

I hate racism in all it’s forms and I would like to help those who have been oppressed to feel equal and valued for who they are. I don’t like seeing people go hungry or the innocent suffer. I can see suffering in peoples eyes and it deeply affects me. I’m all for world peace and end to the violence that resides in some. I no longer believe in total depravity being a corporate thing, I don’t think I ever did. I believe there is good of people no matter how naive that sounds but I am very cautious of those who have been badly wounded and been changed by hurt. Yes evil does reside in the world, but not always in the form we expect. I believe God is merciful.  I love every bit of his glorious creation and my family. I believe in annihilationism because I don’t believe God would cause eternal suffering.

I would love to meet the Dali Lama and just sit with him for a while and imbibe his wisdom. There are heroes in this world who speak truth.

My hope is that one day all wrongs will be made right and this planet will return to the glorious creation that God intended it to be…The New Earth.

I will try my hardest not to stop having fun. I want to dance when nobody is watching and ride roller coasters and dress up in funny clothes.

I will continue to stand up for injustice and speak out against prejudice.