“The church is a whore but she’s my mother”
was the phrase that connected me with an American couple (Augustine said that). When Phil
and Meg Williams introduced themselves we clicked and we started a conversation
that has continued for the last two years.
Phil is an NFL agent and he has a
plan. In the words on his website,
“Our mission is to show athletes a better way, a path that leads to fulfilment
and a hope that will not be empty.”
He dreams of helping his multi-million dollar-player-clients to discover
what Paul once termed, “the life that is truly life”. I think it is a wonderful calling and vocation (take some time to browse his site).
So for the past week friends and clients of
Phil visited some care-points in Swaziland and then spent the last few days
with our community. It was very
interesting. I love to see how
people of different countries experience Africa.
Three of the guys who visited play in the
NFL and one of them was just on the winning Saints team. Let me tell you, these guys are huge
(two of them weigh 150kg each).
When they arrived I had to borrow my parent’s 4X4 because my car just
didn’t have the firepower to carry these guys.
While they were here I experienced
something that caught me by surprise.
I thought that I would be excited to introduce my local friends to these
NFL starts. What I experienced instead was my excitement to introduce the NFL stars to my friends.
On Sunday evening the tour group got the
opportunity to sit in on our Sunday evening meeting where we are building
friendships across race and socio-economic boundaries and on Monday we visited
together in Zandspruit; the squatter community in the Northwest part of
Today I’m thinking about the “weight” of
In a celebrity culture it is so easy to
only see the “weight” of superstars.
The actors and actresses, the rich, the famous and the sporting
What I experienced yesterday was the weight
of ordinary people. People like
the mother of one of my friends.
While we were in Zandspruit he introduced
me to his mother. She was busy
cleaning their house. We made
small talk about her son, my friend.
As we walked out he looked at me and said,
“my mother is my hero”. There we
were, a hundred metres from some of the icons of American stardom and my friend
lifts up his mother as a hero.
In his eyes she is a 150kg giant – a person
In speaking to the American group it is
obvious to me that my friends made a huge impact on them. This is the gift of my friends – they
teach people about humanity.
They are my 150kg giants.
Some of them work long hours to support
mothers, brother and sisters. One of them studies hard so that he can reach his dream …. to become a social
worker who could help the community.
These people make me glad that I came back
to South Africa. They are my tutors, teaching me what really matters. It is a privilege to be with these
saints. I will leave you with one
of my favourite CS Lewis quotes.
It is from his essay, “The weight of glory”.
“It is a serious thing to
live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest
and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if
you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and
a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long
we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these
destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities… that we
should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves,
all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to
a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and
their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke
with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting