I need uncluttered space. In fact
we all do. We crave for a place where
the cellular phone doesn’t ring, where the internet is not connected where we
can think and breathe and live a little. Most cities in the world have spaces like that. I’m talking about our city parks. Those sanctuaries that are sadly ignored by
so many; the green spaces that realtors covet and developers dream to demolish
and turn into gold digs, the parks that we pray will stay untouched beckon us. Those
neglected parks invite us for a walk.
Three times a week I frequent the parks around our house. We live a mile from a golf course and next to
the course is a beautiful piece of land a peace-spot. It’s not an empty spot. All parks have integrated echo-systems. The park close to my house has a
sophisticated network of life. Ten to fifteen people live in the park – they
are men who make a living from the rich people’s spoils. They collect golf balls. The rich Johannesburg businessmen and
women with low handicaps drive their balls into the park, into the river that
runs though it. Some people’s hobby
becomes another’s life. Titleist,
Pinnacle, Nike and other balls are picked up and then turned into bread and
chicken feet and cheap food and sadly sometimes liquor.
Two times a week I walk through the backyard of the golf ball
seekers. I know some of their names and
they know mine. Every now and then I
take three breads and then they feast – their thanks are genuine. When I walk through this specific park, I’m
connected to God and to God in those poor people. Parks and empty spaces are not opportunities
for developing utopian dreams; the real sanctuaries are places that connect us
to God and God in others. Places that
turn us into givers and not just consumers. Real sanctuaries prepare us for the battle, jolts us awake to what has
been going on all around us. It forces
us out of the numbing mainstream into the lively current of God’s kingdom. It’s a current that’s trickling together in
all cities of the world and will one day connect on different continents and
produce a deafening roaring river of life. Each one of us has a trickling stream to tend.
The park that I walk through is a piece of land that I love. It’s not idyllic! The river is full of debris and clutter; in
fact we’re in the planning stage of adopting that piece of land not in the
owning sense; but in the responsibility sense. To keep it clean we envision our community taking some time, as part of
our corporate disciplines, to clean up the mess. Plastic bags and old clothes and plastic and
discarded consumables are a plenty and we can clean it up. We can get involved and make a difference by
befriending the golf ball seekers and learn from them because they’re part of
the creation and so are we.
We heard today that we’re having a girl! Her name is Tyla. I dream of a
place where Lollie, Tyla and Tom can go and play and work and connect with God
and creation (all of it) a place where we can refocus and focus. That place is walking distance from my house.
Close to your house is a park and a river of life flows through it so
shut down your computer, turn off your phone, put on your shoes and open up your heart and
pray “open the eyes of my heart Lord”.