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In kind … are we better off with less?

Posted in Uncategorized

482113_10151559667451271_950065831_nI’ve noticed an upswing on upbeat over the past few months.

It started with Facebook where people are sharing videos, images and stories that are intended to make us think happy thoughts.  And is continuing in ‘real’ life.  In the past week I have been introduced to:

– the elephant, orphaned by poachers, lying down to sleep … little trunk reached out to touch his keeper’s hand.
– the Baptist Church protesting bigotry on their notice board
– the man who painted his house in rainbow colours as a comment against his church’s (directly over the road from his house) rigid anti-gay marriage stance.
– the 13-year old Kenyan herder, Richard Turere, who saw lions killing his father’s cattle, but noticed they were scared of moving lights.  So he invented blinking Lion lights to deter them. He saved the lions, the cattle and caught the attention of an investor.  Richard is now running a small successful business while he attends school.

And I wondered – what’s changed? Are we coming out of our funk? And into a place where we will work with each other?  Do we harmonise, help out and support more than we did before sub-prime mortgages brought us to our knees?

And, if we do, is that one of the lessons learned from the economic crash? Did we need the financial rug to be pulled out from underneath us to remind us that civility, humanity and decency are more important than money? And that we had better get back to them damn quick? And now that we have  – are we rebuilding differently? With other humans in mind?

I think so. There seems to be an awful lot of optimism going round.

Over the weekend I hung out with a couple of pals – recently returned from Thailand. They were sitting at the fire as our host cooked dinner, hand in hand, glowing. I could see something was up … and didn’t have to wait long until Zak informed us all that they were engaged. Owen, his partner, just beamed. We heard all about how much they had loved the island of Phi-Phi, and how the simplicity of life and kindness of the Thai people made them realise how happy they are together. In fact, they planned to get married on Phi-Phi – in 24 months time exactly. Two years – that’s a long time. “We know” they said,”…. but we know”.

I told my nieces and nephew (they’re big fans of Owen and Zak who are enthusiastic players of Junior 30-seconds) and their response was “yippee a wedding – can we go (Hannah), will there be cake (Jasper), can we dance (Riley)?”

29010_625799774113905_800175126_nMy friend Tracey is here from the UK on a quick Easter Holiday. She was telling me yesterday of a work opportunity that she thought might just suit my cousin Judy (who T has never met). Judy is back in SA at the moment helping look after her dad – my uncle Gary. Who is at war with Lymphoma. Judy’s boyfriend Patrick has come from London to spend Easter with the family.  And Andrew, Judy’s brother, has bought his wife and kids to see their Poppa.

A family united. A boyfriend with staying power. A friend who gives a damn. That’s what I am talking about.

Another friend is trying to help one of his workers – a farm labourer who has developed what seems to be Parkinson’s disease. He is paranoid, frightened and inappropriate – and David is trying to figure out the best way forward. SA is not set up to provide institutional care for the poor. So David has put out the question to his friends – who are doing their best to come up with a solution. I have no doubt they will find one; David is starting from a sincere place of trying to do what is right. Rather than what is best for his business. And that will carry the day.

Our friend-in-blogging, Becca, over at the wonderful wrote a post about us. And introduced us to Nicole at Real Simple.  That’s a generosity I never expected from someone I have never met face-to-face. She did it because she wanted to.

Which is where I started with this post.  At something shared – a simple, unexpected gesture that can herald possibilities for others. With the only reward being connection.

487433_629399960408806_1653610920_nIt’s Passover and Easter. And ‘though these two observances are held within two different religions – there is much similarity. Once the atonement is over – people sit together and eat and celebrate. And they laugh and miss and reminisce. I am not religious – but I vote for more of that.

My lovely pal Oretha – a brave dame, supporter of her whole family, godmom, catechism teacher and staunch Catholic resorted to Facebook yesterday to ask people to accept that her religion isn’t perfect. She reminded us that there are good, strong people in the church: who are working towards change. I can only guess at the circumstances that led her to feeling she needed to write that post … criticism of the Pope’s election has re-opened fresh wounds. The church’s archaic stance on various long-held, but not God-bestowed, beliefs (no divorce, no right to choose, no women priests) doesn’t make me a fan. But I wholeheartedly support O – she is one of the strongest, smartest, feistiest women I know. And, if she tells me that they are working on the problem – I’m going to keep quiet and see what happens. And I will encourage others to do so too.

As ever – the Dalai Lama nails it: “This is my simple religion, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Amen. Selah. InshAllah.

(All images in the public domain)

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  1. I love the photo you open this post with.

    March 30, 2013
  2. silvia

    Great post sofagirl, so well written, so deeply felt and I would add shared.
    I love your quotation from the Dalai Lama on religion as the philosophy of kindness, you are writing a lot about it. It might be the best starting point for change.

    March 29, 2013
    • Very good point … if only we could get more people interested in just being kind rather than kind of interested in being just.

      March 29, 2013
  3. Janet Rörschåch
    Janet Rörschåch

    This really touched me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts/observations. Thank you, thank you.

    March 27, 2013
    • Thanks Janet … you made my day

      March 27, 2013
  4. The photos are precious! You may be on to something and I hope it spreads like wildfire!

    March 27, 2013
    • Thanks POP – see, it’s working!

      March 30, 2013
    • Thanks Age – great to see your name!

      March 27, 2013

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