In the next few weeks I’m going to introduce you to some of our community’s people, writings and musings. This post below was a testimony by Anne-Marie. It was her intro to our weekly community discipline of publically denouncing Mammon [I think it shows some of the practical struggles we face in Jhb]
It happened last week Wednesday. Heavy rains and dark clouds covered Rosebank and I knew: the drive back home is going to be a loooong one. I took a back road from Rosebank to Blairgowrie to “avoid” traffic. As I past the Planet fitness and got in the queue to turn into Jan Smuts, with the rain pouring, I sighed just thinking about the road ahead. With my head resting heavily on my free hand next to the window, I saw the same man I often see there selling his avo’s and papajas. As he passed, the Holy Spirit told me to buy, not only some of his products, but to buy everything he needed to sell, so he can get out of the rain and home early. I remembered the R100 note that I placed in my handbag that same morning, reached for it, and excitedly, turned down my window, rain pouring in, to do as I was told. To my disappointment, the man vanished, I looked all around and just wanted to get out, when the traffic light turned green and the four cars in front of me started moving. So I got into my car with the R100 note still burning in my hand. I told the Holy Spirit not to worry, I will give it to the next person who I can buy a ticket for to get out of the rain. (Secretly, I was hoping that whatever I buy, should be something I can use or eat at home).
I was focused and excited to be an instrument of God’s word. As I drove on through Blairgowrie on my way to Randburg, I thought about my life, and how I don’t listen to God’s word, as I am to busy with my own “priorities”. I drove past headlines: Xenophobia’s second wave, South Africans standing together, When will government step in? I started talking to God about our country, our people, how selfish I am…how arrogant to sit in a car…my car..dry.. coming from work…going home…and still to be negative and tired, in comparison to what is happening to people around me. As I approached Bram Fisher, I got excited again as I know the lady who sells newspaper at the corner. Usually I would look away, trying to avoid her, today I wanted to bless her. But, she wasn’t there. The rain reflected my sadness. Be patient I told myself and God, I will give this R100 still in my hand, to the next available person selling products in the rain.
I resumed my conversation with God, about South Africa and Africans, with the rain still going strong. Our people. About what I can do to be His arms in this time. And, just by the thought of it, how I struggle, just in my daily life to talk about Him and think about Him. To just connect with Him. I went though a lot of thoughts and emotions on my way, until I realized I am almost home. I was on Republic passing Bright Water Commens and to my disbelief I saw that there were men on the side selling DVD’s..those DVD’s. I actually didn’t event want to look in their direction, to scared they might flash that other type of DVD at me. I pleaded with God. I can’t give them the money, they are selling illegal DVD’s and I can’t be part of this! So I decided to turn a blind eye and to look for that special person whose life I was going to bless today…(note the emphasis on I…)
During the last stretch of the road I was thinking about a very difficult conversation I had with a colleague at work about what difference, if any, we make when helping people on the streets, as according to her, you can only help one person at a time, while the rest of the world is dying. I thought about poverty and injustice and the emptiness in our country…across the world… where love should act, but anger, bitterness and revenge has filled that space. I thought about the Xenophobia victims, and the victims on the other side, all struggling to survive. I got sad, I got angry. I was ashamed…to find myself in front of my complex gate, the rain has stopped, the R100 still in my hand…
On Saturday, Lindie talked at our Dayenu function and her message went straight to my heart. It came from Ecclesiastics: Serve God, do what needs to be done, enjoy life! And as simple as that may sound, I asked God why we complicated everything: who we are…or aren’t, what we do, say…how we do it…even if we should do it…we always wait for a sign, a word..but instead we must just do what needs to be done..and God will take care of the rest.
The lesson I learn: stop complicating everything! And only then will things become clear…And that’s as simple as that!