The long and winding journey to Mount Zion

Nov 2, 2021

Today I am feeling sad. We lost my father in law this past weekend. It made us realise that what we have been preparing for – the loss of a generation has started. This morning I was driving to Cape Town, and I listened to a song I often avoid on my playlist. A song I danced to with my father when I got married. It is a song that always brings me to tears. So I listened today...

Today I am feeling sad. We lost my father in law this past weekend. It made us realise that what we have been preparing for – the loss of a generation has started. Generations before us have endured precisely the same fate, and as a child, I witnessed this. The image of my father crying when he heard his mother passed away is still with me as if it happened yesterday.

The point is – we knew it was coming; we have known this for a long time. But now, it is very real.

As the arrangements were being made, I realised a few things that my children did not know about me. I love poetry, especially Afrikaans poetry. I have always seen music as heaven’s poetry – the beautiful convergence of the most beautiful words and musical sounds.

This morning I was driving to Cape Town, and I listened to a song I often avoid on my playlist. A song I danced to with my father when I got married. It is a song that always brings me to tears. So I listened today, and yes, I cried from Bellville to Cape Town because it helped me realise we need to slow the experience of time down.

The perception of time is faster when we are “busy” when there is much stimulation around us. I feel that the noise has made us age quicker and paved the way for us to enjoy less what we have in small and seemingly insignificant moments.

Life is full of ebbs and flows, full of beautiful experiences. It is also full of heartbreak and pain. How else would we even notice the beauty if it were not for pain? I sat in my garden on Sunday, and coming from the city (i.e Cape Town – where you never see butterflies) before moving to Paarl, I saw five butterflies. This made me remember to take a mental memory picture because, in many ways, the beauty of life is like a butterfly. Rare, almost unnoticed and over too soon.

This next chapter will start as a painful one, which means we have to slowly see the beauty around us, in ourselves and each other. We have to be grateful for the path our loved ones created for us, and we have to let them go. That is how we journey on and ultimately are make it ready for our children, whether these are biological children or not.

Let me share my song with you now:

“It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

I was once like you are now
And I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found
Something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow
But your dreams may not

How can I try to explain?
When I do he turns away again
It’s always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk
I was ordered to listen
Now there’s a way
And I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it slowly
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to go through
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

All the times that I’ve cried
Keeping all the things I knew inside
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it
If they were right I’d agree
But it’s them they know, not me
Now there’s a way
And I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go”

Father and Son

Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam

**Listen to the podcast here

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Nicolene
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