[I] say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was.- Hebrew Proverb
For over a decade, on this day I have a private sobbing session. This morning was no different! I woke up and allowed myself to succumb to overwhelming feelings of fondness from simply remembering memories of a life that is no more.
I snorted and cried like an inconsolable child, especially when I realised my own selfishness/foolishness. Until today, it never quite dawned on me that my loss wasn’t just mine. There are loved ones out there, who might have understood all this time, that I have this sobbing session to simply acknowledge that indeed I have experienced love in my life time. A love from an imperfect but caring uncle, who was very protective of his family. A man who convinced me, among many other things, that it is not blasphemous to declare Bob Marley a saint (and in my opinion, “a true heritage icon for the world” )!
My all-rounded uncle, malome-rangoane Sammy, graces us no more with his wings in the air, but I am sure glad that I remember with great fondness his flight. To me, he remains a rare bird that I am thankful to have seen fly and grace the skies of my existence, even if only for a fleeting moment.
So, with unabashed gratitude, today (and in the future) I will allow myself to sob and/or weep for this rare bird, for its flight (including the gliding away flight) remains memorable to me. In part, because a certain realisation of its glorious purpose (at least to my life) deepened in death, much like a thorn bird reaches its potential in death. (Arguably, this may sound warped, but I do believe in the idea of death bringing out the most glorious sound from a thorn bird.) For this reason, I cannot curse death; I can but cleanse my soul with tears of gratitude and let the words “memento mori” propel me forward!
Last night, like I have done many times before, I sat in solitude to reflect and take stock of my life and my journey thus far. I cried, laughed and sighed in absolute despair as I attempted to answer the question: Am I any closer to becoming the Mathe I truly want to be?
I acknowledged with gratitude how far I have come to where I am today. Then, I went on to ask myself the question: how does one truly measure the proverbial journey of a “thousand miles”? Is it by the distance travelled or the distance to be travelled?
I am not sure if there are simple answers but at the same time I wanted to know what emotion was legitimate for me to feel. Sadly, I am not very close to where I want to be.
I want to be at a place of contentment filled with inner and outer peace even when the hand dealt to me is less than ideal. A place where material possessions, money, fear etc play minimal or no role at all in making decisions! A place which in few words affords me the “arrogance of choice” i.e. choice that is driven by my priorities and truth about this journey called life.
Any lessons learnt from the journey travelled thus far?
Arrived or not to where I want to be, it is certainly important to reflect on the lessons learnt. While it is fair to say, I have had many lessons from different varying sources, I have learnt two very valuable lessons from attending “mekete”- ceremonial festivities. I have learnt:
- It takes hard work and perseverance to get to the ‘feeding stage of the masses’. One my wake up early to see to it that the cooking fire is burning, but there are no guarantees that all will go well. One may be faced with the task to tell off those acting as obstacles to get out of the way or get in line. One may also have to take shit from others but instead of being humiliated by it choose to take it as a humbling act.
- How to recognise and appreciate what privilege means. It is privilege if one can have a single person come to offer assistance of any kind. It is also privilege if uninvited guests can come and simply join in with the festivities, be it there are about celebrating a life that has passed on or a union of a new life to be. In a nutshell, privilege is having at least one person walk with you for the entire or part of the journey.
With lessons learnt thus far, I hope as I forge forward to where I want to be, I have the strength and courage to hold on to my faith, trusting that He and only He who knows the desires of our hearts will help me to my destination. I hope also that I may continue to remember words of wisdom from those who privilege me by walking this beautiful journey with me. I am truly grateful for all the words of kindness, support and encouragement I have received. Words such as as this from Carla Tsampiras: “… remember that shit and rubbish can also make good compost, especially if balanced with nurturing rain and the warm sunlight of those who do believe in you“!