I’m sitting in the window with the sun warming my back. It’s my favourite spot this time of the year when the house becomes so cold inside. Already we’ve had light snow in some parts of the country, which is completely bizarre for April. More and more, I’ll spend my days following the sun, searching for its loving warmth and inspiration as the cold days of winter approach. And I do need that warmth and inspiration so much today.
The late morning is passing by so quietly. I could almost believe that the world is a peaceful and gentle place right now, if it wasn’t for the sadness that I carry in my heart. I wonder too, if I deserve these quiet moments of peace and grace when chaos seems to be rising in this crazy world.
Good things have happened over the past few days. I went to the coast to attend my baby brother’s university graduation and I got to visit with one of my longest and dearest friends and her family over the weekend while I was there. I am grateful for these blessings because it was a much need break for my husband and I. I also got that fix of the ocean that I’d been craving for a while and just the sound of the waves and the feel of the water rushing over my feet has a way of washing the weight of the world off my shoulders.
However, on the flip side, devastating realities have reared their ugly head too. In recent weeks, my country has seen a spate of violent xenophobic attacks on foreign African nationals, our fellow Africans who are forced to come here in search of a better life. The violence is shocking, sickening and unacceptable. I’m sad and angered by what has happened. The issue of xenophobic/afrophobic affects me very deeply, considering that my husband is from Zimbabwe and that some members of my family have immigrated here from Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The attacks have been committed by a minority of ignorant, angry and criminal individuals. Yes, many are poverty stricken, face difficult circumstances and so much more needs to be done by government and by our society in general to uplift and empower these people. Be even so, there is no excuse for violence and savage attacks on innocent people.
Although poorly handled to begin with, the situation has died down now and government, police and the army have come to the party to arrest perpetrators, quell violence and protect the vulnerable. I am encouraged by those who’ve spoken out, protested against xenophobia and who’ve been actively involved in offering support and refuge to victims of and people vulnerable to xenophobic attacks. I’ve been doing my best to show solidarity, participate in protest and offer support and needed resources where I can. One has to wonder if any of this is enough in the long run.
And then there’s the hard hitting realisation that I cannot separate myself from those who have committed these violent acts however much I detest and protest against their actions and however small a minority they are of our greater country (the majority of the country’s people are disgusted and against these acts of violence). Because the reality is that when the rest of Africa and the world see what has happened, they see us as one country and one South African nation, which leaves me with a deep sense of shame, because this is not my South African as Jonathan Jansen put it. It’s not the South Africa that so many fought for and it betrays the legacy that our freedom fighters and good honest South African people have worked hard to created.
Its difficult not to get sucked into the collective pain body of this situation when I’ve so immersed in it. I keep reminding myself that these are the moments to breathe, stay rooted in a space of presence and to apply the spiritual practises that I believe so strongly in. These are the moments where I need to remember to draw on the wild wisdom of the Earth and to allow the Spirit to guide me through.
I was contemplating how I can be a part of solutions going forward, when this line from Sarah’s blog post just went straight to my heart:
“Let go and let God – relinquish ego and ask to be shown how to use this situation so that the best love and goodness is brought about for as many people as possible.”
Continuous practical actions are necessary to fix our fractured society and repair our moral compass. But just for to today, as I lean into the embrace of the sun’s warm, I take heed from Sarah’s words. I let go and allow myself to be guided to a greater perspective that serves the higher good of all.