He is mindful of me

Sometimes when I become self-consumed and consumed in my daily life and all stress or joys which I experience, everything that I do, see or feel is just there, right in front of me. I process situations or feelings on my own, seeking no help from others or from God. All of it is just there, draining my time, sleep and energy.

The universe and its timing, however, is incredible. It’s magical, understanding and perceptive. Something which we take for granted more often than not.

On Tuesday, the 3rd of June 2014, I was sitting in my car with two new found friends listening to music and copying a series onto my laptop. We had just had dinner, the conversation got away with me and I forgot that I wanted to share a story about ‘why I still choose God,’ and I suddenly remembered and I shared my story. I’d also like to share it with you today.

I had stopped going to church and praying in my second year of university, 2008. I had been told to be patient, that God hears, answers accordingly and that He will only test us to a certain point because He knows each of His children and their limits. I got to a stage where I was tired, frustrated, hurt and angry with God. So I stopped believing and I told my mother not to expect me to go to church on Sundays or anything that required my time for fellowship or prayer.

Three days before she passed away, I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t have peace. Funny thing is, I had seen her that afternoon, she was sitting up, was jovial and she said that she’ll “be back home soon.” I got up from bed that night and called the hospital where she was and asked one of the nurses in that particular ward how she was doing. The nurse asked me stay on the line, after a minute or so she picked up the phone again and told me that she’s fine and that she was asleep. At the end of the call, I still couldn’t sleep. I found myself crying and looking for a scroll which she had given to me on my 10th birthday. It was titled ‘I believe in you.‘ It had a very empowering message which I didn’t quite understand when she gave it to me, but I knew that night what it meant and that I needed to follow through, that now is the time. Eventually I found it (I wasn’t that organised back then).

The next day, I arrived at work and I found myself crying at my work desk. I pulled myself together and continued on with my day.

On the 10th of September 2011, I was lying back on my bed waiting for our helper to finish cleaning so that I could go to see my mother at the hospital. While waiting, I heard a voice say to me “read John 14:15-31.” I don’t remember ever reading that passage before that day. I sat there for a while and thought that I was being silly, because for so many years before that day, I had waited, prayed and fasted so that I could hear a word from God. Eventually I stood up and got my Bible. Basically, Jesus is telling His disciples that He is going to die, but that they should not be afraid because He will not leave them alone on this earth. That instead, the Holy Spirit will dwell inside of them to give them peace, hope, to guide, to teach and to comfort them.

In that very moment I knew.
I went to the hospital and my mother literally said her goodbyes, and I had said mine. She passed away the next day.
I chose God once again.

What I know now is that God is mindful of me. And before the 3rd of June 2014 I seemed to have forgotten that. I’d been making all of these decisions which I feel I could have handled better, plans for my own procedure at the hospital, organising everything at work, home, etc. and I realised just how afraid I was of hospitals due to my past experiences. But there I was telling my new found friends my story, and I had my own revelation.

I am not alone.
I have been showered by such love from my father when he was here (not to say that he’s not normally like that), the nurses in the hospital, the other patients whom I shared a ward with, my land lord and lady, colleagues, my manager and friends, even my cat has been more patient with me in the past two weeks. I realised that I had closed myself up so much, that I had to let down my guard because the truth is I really did need help. For one, I don’t like having visitors at my place, but do you know how many people I’ve had to direct to my place and open the door to lately? Then it’s the issue of calling someone up and saying “hey…. could you help me with…” and having to be honest about how I was feeling, because normally ‘I’m fine’ and ‘don’t need anything.’

That is God’s love and His love through people.
He is mindful of me.

Here’s to love, conversations with loved ones and those subtle reminders right here on Benita’s Laine.

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (1999)

“It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.”

The Invitation. I encourage you to find this book and to open yourself up to its challenges.

The Invitation.
I encourage you to find this book and to open yourself up to its challenges.

As thin as this book is, it took me quite some time to finish reading it, 2 months to be exact. A dear friend of mine and I met up at the beach in February and she brought it along with her with the intention of reading it as we basked in the sun. I too had brought a book, but neither of us read our books. Instead we talked about a lot of different things, but mainly about my breakup, my hurts and disappointment. That was when she took it out of her sling bag and wiped the front cover as if it had dust on it. She said to me “I bought this some time back and I still haven’t read it, but right now I think you need it more than I do.”

Timing is everything.

Oriah challenges you, and that’s what makes it a difficult read. She challenges your way of thinking, your approach to life, how you treat yourself and says “if you want more out of this life, then why aren’t you going for it?”

It took me a while to finish reading The Invitation because I made mental and physical notes. In some instances, I felt that I applied my new-found learnings in my daily life. It’s a book that will appeal to you when you are at a certain point of your life; you’ll have to want to read it and most importantly, to be ready. It’s an eye-opener, it reveals what’s in your heart and encourages you to let your mind and actions think and move towards making your heart’s truths realities. I’ve finished reading the book and here’s my blog post about it, but it won’t end here for me. I will buy a copy for myself and I will read it again and again. As soon I find myself in a place of complacency, where I’m losing my way and I’m not hearing my own voice, I shall read it once more.

Normally I list quotes, but not this time. Instead I’ve copied and pasted the prologue above. If that didn’t draw you in, then hopefully my next book review will speak to you.

To a life awakening, light and blessings here on Benita’s Laine.

To You, on Mother’s Day

Today is supposed to be a celebration, but for me it isn’t. I’m going to very honest today, do not hold it against me, especially you, my conscious.

I want you to know that I decided to go out with friends today because I know that if I stay home all day, it will do me no good. It’s tough moving forward because there’s an element of guilt. One thinks: is it too soon? Is it right? What will my family think? Do I really deserve to be in a place where I can enjoy myself, laugh, dance and just be in the moment?

I was thinking about the last Mother’s day which we shared together back in 2011. I bought you cross shaped-earrings, a card and I took you out for dinner. I was wondering what you would like this year. I thought maybe the latest Joyous Celebration CD (by the way, I gave your collection to Auntie Zo), or maybe a trip somewhere together or … actually I don’t know. It’s been 2 and half years since I’ve received a list of what you’d like for your birthday, Mother’s Day and Christmas.

Yesterday after work, I met up with my friend Abigail and on the way back home in the car, I asked her what her plans were for Mother’s Day, and obviously she said that she’d be with her mother. I asked what she had bought for her and she responded with “nothing; I normally just get her a blank card and I write, since that comes naturally to me. Last year one of the things I wrote was: you say that I am a good mother, but that is only because I’ve seen you.”

I thought about that line and how Abi said that there’s a biblical reference to it and that she knew that her mother would understand it. I also thought that it’s true that Abi is a good mother to her son and how wonderful her mother is as well. Then I thought, well I only plan to have kids in my early 30s and I’m 25 now, how much would I remember of what I’ve seen you do, things that you’ve said, what to do when certain things happen? Funny enough, in this past month, there’s been a lot of people who have asked me if I want children, and my answer to each person was that it scares me. It’s not just the delivery, it’s the fact that it’s a life. A life which for a long time I will be the ‘everything’ for him/her, then they’ll be a stage where that child will have his/her own voice, ideas, opinions and path for him/herself. But in everything, I’ll always be there and one day, my time here will be no longer. It’s not just the responsibility of raising a child that scares me, it’s how will my children be affected when I am no longer here. I’m sure you’ve seen me flounder. I’m sure you’ve heard my phone calls to my dad and heard the long pauses which are filled with my sobbing. Or you’ve seen me wake up in tears. My restless nights and how I miss our long chats in the evenings. I’m sure you’ve watched me in my car talking to myself, trying to find clarity. I’m sure you’ve watched me get ready for a special evening or as I straighten my hair. Seen me looking at wedding dresses and maybe you don’t like my décor or agree on the furniture layout in my flat. And I say this because there have been a few times when suddenly I just feel your presence, I hear your voice or my mind finds a past memory of something you’ve said and the times where we really enjoyed each other’s company and stories.

It’s taken a long time to feel like my life is good and that I can continue to achieve my dreams and aspirations again. I’ve been haunted by the words you said to me in August 2011 for a very long time. So Ma, I’ve decided to go out today. I can’t seem to remember what I did on Mother’s Day last year. The year before I went to church, went home then to the gym and came back home again. I hope you understand and I hope that you’re not upset with me. I also want to tell you that I’m going to be studying again. Then there’s the surgery which I was supposed to have years ago; well I’m seeing the surgeon tomorrow and I’ll go through with it this time. I’m trying to grow my hair again. I’m making time for people. I am more open to ideas without the guilt-trip afterwards. I’m learning how to speak Xhosa. This for me is my Mother’s Day gift to you: to let you know that I shall love, live and be whole again and I say to myself that that’s ok and where there is peace, there is freedom.

As we would say to each other, I love you more than the whole wide world and back again.
Rest well Ma.

“Sometimes you just need to breathe the air in…”

This is what my dad told me in 2011.

Basically, I’m ‘always thinking.’ I struggle to relax and sometimes just to let loose. It’s just one of those things which I, let me say, picked up along the years. It’s something which I’ve had to do, but like everything else in this life, there’s pros and cons to it.

I must admit that a lot of the times I don’t like it. I’ll not do something then I get home and I replay the scene until I’m like ‘argh it’s done now.’ But in all honesty, I’m not happy. Feels like I’m in a constant twat with myself. There’s a side of me that wants everything to be stable, safe, make sense, a clear action and reaction. Then there’s another side that just wants to live without hesitation, forget about the questions and would rather laugh at the outcome, the side that has walked into tattoo parlours and walked out with tattoos, etc.

It’s all about balance really.

The past month has been an exciting month. I asked less questions, I laughed more, danced more, socialised more, ate whatever I wanted when I wanted, I’ve sat at the beach and just watched the waves and the kids without being self-conscious and pulling my stomach in, I sang more, shopped, I’m doing sales, I cut my hair (well a little), I basically just sat and breathed the air in. And I’d like to say that it’s been lovely!

No … wait, I’m not talking about completely losing it. I work, still love my cat to bits, still follow my gym schedule, still showering… I’m talking about saying to myself “Benita, it’s OK to just be you. It’s OK to go with the flow sometimes. Your life is not an equation which you need to answer correctly before the next section. It’s a life which needs to be lived to the fullest.”

As I sit here in front of my laptop, I’m thankful for parents. The one was a Doctor and Psychiatrist, the other an Artist, Lecturer and now in Management. I’ve seen both of you in me. But in the last year or so, I’m seeing more of me. I say thank you to my dad for that lecture, and thank you for those close to me. Can I say thanks to myself? Well I’m going to!

Well thank you Benita for allowing yourself to get out of your restricted zone and into a place where you can allow yourself happiness, and being comfortable with yourself and ideas. This is where you ought to be and don’t allow yourself to retreat back into those walls.

I’ve enjoyed this post of reflection. Now you know why I’ve been scarce.

Peace. Love. Light.
All here on Benita’s Laine :)

More and More by Israel and New Breed

All we want and all we need
is found in Jesus
All we ask is more of you
Nothing else can satisfy our hearts desire
All we want is more of you
For the Lord is good
And His love endures
Yes the Lord is good forever
And I’ll shout it out
from the mountain tops
Yes the Lord is good forever
We want you more and more
We want you more and more
We want you more and more
More and more

Something different

On Saturday morning, my friend and I hiked up Lion’s Head (Cape Town, South Africa)! Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t like hiking and secondly, that I don’t like being in the sun :p

But you know what, it was my first time going up Lion’s Head, I had a really good friend with me and I didn’t complain while hiking. The best part of it all is that this is the beginning of moving out of the stagnant phase which I’ve been in. There’s nothing better than acknowledging that one’s life has been stagnant and taking action!

I had to be honest with myself and say “you know, what exactly did I do last year?” and most importantly “what did I achieve?”

One thing that I’m really proud of is my weight loss journey, but I only started on that path once I won the trip to Thailand because I refused to go at my then current size and with low confidence levels. Sometimes I wonder if I would have put in the work to lose weight had I not had this trip in the pipelines… But anyway. Other than that, I worked but lounged around when I got home, everything I did seemed to be a dead end and I became complacent and too accepting of everything (especially of things which I didn’t want for myself).

As simple as this sounds, it comes down to me seeking and working towards that change. Nothing is going to be easy – the sun will be up and at its peak while trying to get back down from the top of the mountain, people will say ‘no’ or that you’re not quite the right fit for their company, unfortunately some of our hearts will be broken unexpectedly, and more sad is that in this life nothing is guaranteed and those (family/friends) who we love dearly will leave this world when we feel that we need them the most. The question that I now ask myself is “then what?”

And I’m so glad that I’ve finally asked myself this!

This is where beauty, smiles, creative, new thoughts and renewed energy lies! This is where life can begin to take a magical turn and you feel the universe working with you and not against you. This presents an opportunity to learn something new, try something, gain self-confidence and find our smiles that we’ve been hiding for too long.

I truly believe that despite what we’ve experienced or encounter, or hear in the news, pain we see around us, there is still good in this world. I’m glad that I’m seeing that again. All it takes is one small step to get out of the rut and routine…

Here’s to life on Benita’s Laine :)

Table Mountain

Table Mountain

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Going up... Almost there!

Going up… Almost there!

Glorious!

Glorious!

We each had a pancake when we got to the top :p

We each had a pancake when we got to the top :p

I made it :D

I made it :D

Making our way back down.

Making our way back down.

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