The light of a Soul

URGH!!!!!

There are times in my life that I regret. Magnificent moments of utter catastrophe. Moments you  hide even from the closest of close friends. Moments that not even copious amounts of alcohol can prize from your soul. They are the moments that people judge you for – whether they have a right to or not. Regardless of how far you have come. Where you are now. What you have achieved. Moments of black that mar your soul and shape your destiny. Moments where you are so far from Grace and Faith and Hope that nothing makes sense. Nothing matters. Except stillness. And dark solace. And no more pain.

Those moments I can deal with. I am good at moments like that. There have been rather a few. So I know how to process. The decisions that lead to an event and an event so huge it carries visible and emotive consequence. I am very good at consequences.

But what about the small moments? The little ones where you harm another without intention? The moments when you make another doubt who they are. Or perhaps even what they are. Not with any kind of maliciousness. Not with any kind of wish to harm. But harmful none the less.

I don’t have many close, call in an emergency type friends. Friends that, at your lowest point – the point when your damnation of yourself is absolute – they still find the grace of your soul beautiful. Friends like that. The ones that God sends. I have been luckier than most I guess. Over the years, God has blessed me with a few. Perhaps because he knew I would need them more than most.

I do have many, many acquaintances. People who are fun. People who fill the grey of a rather mundane and introverted life with light and colour and balance and joy. They are ‘acquaintances’ merely in the distinction of the 2 words. They add immense value to my life. And I would hope that I add immense value to theirs.

Sometimes though, the acquaintance crosses over into the friend. They bring an intrinsic value to my life that belongs only to them. Sometimes, Faith brings them. Sometimes, work. Sometimes, worlds just collide and the light in one sees the light in another. And the light makes sense. The light of a similar soul. A similar Grace. A similar Faith. The light in one soul, understands the light in another. That is how I see real friendship. The light in one soul, finding, understanding and accepting the light of another soul.

Except this time, because of stupidity. Or naivety. Or just some complete assholic batshit craziness on my part – someone ended up getting hurt. Those moments – I don’t always know how to process those moments.

So generally – I write. Because in anonymous words I can find the ways to say sorry that I cannot always find in person.

Without intent. Without malice. Without wanting to. The massive amounts of stupid that I carry around in my soul reared it’s head and bingo bongo – shitstorm.

I hurt someone I really didn’t want to hurt the other day. Someone kind, and gentle. Someone gracious. And Grace filled. Someone that is already filled with hurt. The hurt of others, the hurt that others leave behind – but also the hurt we inflict on ourselves. I understand that kind of light.

Over the years, I have a learnt that Grace sometimes leads us to places we don’t always understand. But we still have choice. I got a bit lost in the stupidity of choice. And I made the wrong choice.

I will not chose wrong again. And I won’t let you chose wrong, with me, again either.

I am so sorry.

I will not hurt you again.

I promise.

There but by the Grace go I

Sometimes, you say the wrong thing.

Sometimes, you hear the wrong words.

Sometimes, you see what is not there.

Sometimes, all the things you didn’t do come back to haunt you.

Sometimes, all the things you did do come back to haunt you.

My dad died when he was 52. He was strong and vibrant and I barely remember him. I remember a smile sometimes. Other times I wonder if I honestly remember. Or just remember what I want to remember.

He never grew old. He never grew frail. He never got weak. He never faded.

The mommy, for reasons they are trying very hard to figure out, has faded. She is sitting in this odd no mans land where words are jumbled and she can’t remember to swallow. This grey area where she knows there is something wrong, and she thinks I can fix it. This hard and horrible place where she wants her mommy. Much like we all do, when shit gets really bad.

I don’t know which is worse. The maybe a memory or the memory of old.

Sometimes, all the things you said and did and didn’t do come back to haunt you.

Sometimes, you take it out on people who don’t really know you. Or know how broken you can be, when it gets hard and you are tired.

Sometimes, all you can do is sit with someone. And let them talk the broken away. Whether it be the broken ‘misremembered’ words. Or their broken self. Everyone should have someone that will sit with them.

Sometimes – we forget what matters. And then Grace reminds us.

Sometimes, Grace is all that sits with you.

Sometime, Grace gets you up and moving and functioning. It keeps you moving when the tired gets you.

There but for the Grace go I.

The Loudest Introvert

The most profound thing profoundly smacked me right in the centrals the other day.

Rewind a bit first.

I am the life and soul at work. I am friendly and gregarious and open and trusting and kind and like to bribe people and especially like to feed people and most especially like to spread my knowledge around. Good things up the freaking ying yang. Happy things up the Christmas Tree. Blah blah blah.

I am funny as pork. Seriously. Ask anyone.

And because of all those things – people assume they know me. Worse yet, I assumed people knew me better than I knew me.

Obviously you are extroverted Jessie. Obviously you are all the things extroverted people are. OBVIOUS!!!

*insert mandatory Lunch Bar advert here and give away my age*

Except No.

I get to work rather early. I do allot of the very many things that my job entails while the office is quiet and calm and before all the peeps arrive.

And then I get to be me. The me who is friendly and the life and soul and smart and helpful and fast and considerate and and and blah blah blah up the freaking banana loaf.

IT IS EXHAUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I go home, I would really rather not see anything human. Quite often, I absolutely need to have a nap. I never do, because that is just sad and I am not that old, but still. The eyelids betray me.

I spend time with the fluffs and I cook and faff and watch rubbish on YouTube and then I Netflix and Chill.

Alone.

Because point in fact peepers. I am not an extrovert. I am an introvert.

You may think you know me better than I know me. But actually. You are wrong.

Funny thing about being exactly who you are and rejecting all the labels people think they are allowed to stick to you.

And yes, on one memorable occasion someone actually stuck a green sticky note to me with a single word on it.

Eccentric.

Well I raise you your sticky note and hereby embrace the eccentric.

I am loud as bananas. I have friends that seriously struggle with it.

I am sarcastic as all holy hell. I know people who simply take offence.

I am smarter than most people I know. I know that sounds vain but that doesn’t make it untrue, in my own way.

I am kinder, freer, more honest, more loyal, nicer, lovelier, truer, and funnier than so many people. Not better than. Just more me than. And that is awesome.

Labels can do so very much damage to you, if you let them stick.

Never let another persons sticky note for you stick.

Find your own labels. Find your own self. Be the loudest introvert that anyone ever met. Then go home and revel in the restorative quiet.

Be the most sarcastic empath, the smartest doffle, the loveliest chubber, the funniest kind. The least religious faithful one.

Be you.

Own your shiz.

Your shiz is fabulous.

Now bugger off and let me try to NOT have a nap.

*insert another gratuitous Lunch Bar advert just cause it brought back so very many memories and I loved it growing up*

See you later, my friend.

Every now and again, you meet a person that makes absolute and fundamental sense to your soul.

Gender, race, age, appearance – none of it matters. Somehow, in this big universe, you just click.

Attached to the house I currently live in, is a separate rental granny flat. For too short of a time, my friend Laurence stayed there. I met him the day he moved in, and last saw him about 4 months ago, the day he moved out.

Unfortunately, because of work, Laurence couldn’t stay. He tried. He worked the longest hours I have ever seen anyone work, trying his level best to support his family.

But eventually, the long hours took their toll, and Laurence went back to Villiersdorp.

Such was our connection that we stayed in touch. He had the absolute best sense of humour. I have never come across the like. We chatted via WhatsApp and I started making a few plans to visit him and his wife.

This was our conversation on Wednesday 17 January 2018.

On Saturday 20 January, Laurence with the easy laugh and massive smile and the best love I have ever seen for another, hung himself.

I found out about his death on the Sunday. But only yesterday did his wife Ruth tell me what happened.

I simply cannot fathom it. Not for one moment. My brain refuses to comprehend that this man of integrity and love and light, hung himself.

That he found himself in such a state of despair, that in a mad moment of sadness, he thought he needed to end his existence.

Pain is a funny old thing. Physical or mental. It creeps into your bones and turns them into lead. It saturates your existence like a feather light armour you don’t even know you are wearing.

It sets in by degrees. And slowly leaches the light and the life from your eyes.

Laurence was a legend. He moved into the granny flat next door and, just because I had the privilege of knowing him, he made my world a better place.

He was honest and real and genuine and true.

He worked hard and he adored his family.

He touched my soul.

Unfortunately, because of something I don’t know or understand, Laurence couldn’t stay.

I will miss you. The you I knew but also the you I never had the chance to know.

Thank you for making my life better, just for being in it.

I know your light is shining bright, there where you are. I hope it is surrounded by all the things you have loved, that passed before.

See you later, my friend.

Where the Light Lies

Hope if a funny old thing. We manage to find it in the most unique and desperate places.

It isn’t always called Hope. Sometimes we call it Faith. Sometimes it is called Surviving.

Sometimes it doesn’t really have a proper name.

In the darkness – it is simply a facet of your being.

A glimmer deep in your soul that reaches out for life. For love. For peace. For something better.

Sometimes, it is very simply, your soul searching and reaching for where the light lies.

The light of laughter on a cool evening.

The light of joy in a smiling baby.

The light of faith in an everlasting.

The light of healing in the face of illness.

The light of enduring when faced with devastation.

The light of a God, when you know you didn’t get here by yourself.

The hope that the light will find you and love you and accept you anyway. Even when you don’t love yourself.

It is always there. Even when you see only darkness.

It is there in the people around you, the ones that are light.

The ones that are hope.

Because they are there.

And they see the you that, just for a moment, you cannot.

May the light find you.

And may you find where your light lies.

 

The Story of Me

I have a nasty habit. A destructive, cruel and mean streak that flays skin.

That damages the soul.

A habit that finds the weak spaces and places and, like molten lava on bare land, burns chaos into being.

I hold myself up to the blinding light of what I think I should be, must be, have to be, and am meant to be – for others.

Never for myself. Never valuing me. Who I am – above who others think I am.

I guess that the very act of acknowledging the glitch in the process is the first step to healing?

The story you have for me, is not the story I have for me.

And my story of me is what is important.

Today, I felt Reproach

Anyone who even vaguely knows me, knows that I believe in my God fiercely! Not your God, not the God of bibles or organized religion. Rather, the Being that I can sometimes see in my daily life. The Being that, when I don’t forget and drift too far, I can feel around me. To be quite brutally honest, it doesn’t even really matter if you believe in Him – He is my God, my Truth, my Hope. And my Peace.

I have been taking a bit of strain lately. It all started when I took the words of someone I considered a friend, and I allowed them a power that only I can give. Destructive and hurtful power. 

It got in, and it festered and bubbled and, by inches, I withdrew and internalized and added just a little bit more weight to the concrete core of self doubt that I wear like a mantle.

Without ever really seeing it head on, it twisted thoughts and brought on a sadness that was made up of millions of featherlight layers of doubt. No single layer will break you, or is even really noticeable. Each individual layer so light that you don’t even feel them settling their little tendrils of malaise into you. Until one morning you wake up, and you are tired. For no reason that you can think of. But tired nonetheless. The weight of millions of feathers and hundreds of tendrils, brought on by inches.

And the vicious circle begins.

I always get like this, when I give others a power they don’t deserve, and when I drift too far from my God. Every time, it sneaks up on me and I don’t even realize it. Until I do.

I have never been one of those believers that hears God. And I am still not. Mostly, I just feel Him as I would a feeling of warmth in the cold. Or a cool, soft breeze when it is hot. Or that full, contented feeling you get sometimes, when you just know that the moment you are in, is completely perfect. 

Today, as it has been lately, my mind was in a whirl of unhappiness. Of taking chance words completely out of context and elevating them to stinging nettles of discord. Of borrowing the worries of another day and of another person. Of spiraling crippling where to from here doubt.

None of it in my forebrain, none of logical really. But still there. Still powerful. Still exhausting.

Until I walked out the front door of the place I live, to do something as mundane as throw rubbish in the bin outside. There was no choir of angels. No voice in my head. No burning bush. 

There was an ache in my heart that had been there so long that I stopped noticing it, and then there wasn’t. In the space of a step, a thought popped into my head that was so clear and alien to that specific moment and bit of my reality, that it literally altered my entire state. 

Have I ever not provided for you, in your time of need?

I am not saying that my God spoke to me.

I am saying that….somehow… I had a thought that was completely unrelated to the train of thought and task I was, at that moment, focused on.

Somehow, I had a thought that was so profound that I felt the shift in my thought pattern like an actual weight lifting. 

And that somehow, that thought was powerful enough, loud enough, grounded enough in the warm, calming, cool comfort of feeling loved, that a granite slab lifted off my soul. 

And my soul sprang a leak. A wet one. Because suddenly, again, for the hundredth time, I remembered.

Not once, has He ever failed to provide. Protect. Comfort. 

Not once, in the entire history of the seriously spectacular crap I have availed myself of and to, has He ever failed me.

Everyone needs hope. Hope for something better. Hope for their life and their loves.

I don’t need you to believe in my God.

But I really, really do hope that you have a place where you find Hope. 

Because at the end off the day, we really have nothing else that stands between us and the darkness of ourselves and humanity. 

Except Hope.

A friend named Tess

I have a friend. 

She has multiple sclerosis. 

Her name is Tess. 

She tagged me in one of those Facebook picture quotes today. Me specifically. Like I was something special. Or had done something special. 


She sees herself as broken. And as an elephant apparently. Cause I am sure as hell the tiny doggo.

The thing is though Tessie… Sometimes, there is no lesson to be learnt.

Because you are the lesson.

The lesson in humility, when asking for help and saying thank you is a gift you give to the people who love you.

In Grace, under so much overwhelming fatigue.

In knowledge, because your prison will never hold you back from your truth.

In laughter, because finding joy in the tiniest places, is an ability not many embrace. 

In strength, because what you carry, would crush me.

In steel, because every day – you get up. No matter. You get up.

In hope, because even on the worst days, I have seen you laugh my Tessie.

I have seen very few of your worst days. But I have seen some. That you manage to find a way back to Light, from those dark places?

I have a friend.

She has multiple sclerosis.

Her name is Tess.

I visit her as close as dammit to every Tuesday.

Not because she has multiple sclerosis.

Not because I have to.

But because I need to. 

She, and her Knight of Shining armor, are as surely my family as any blood I share with anyone.

She is where I look, when my Hope is hidden.

She is my lesson.

The Waiting. For Ron.

I met traumatic death young. 15 to be exact.

On a rather lovely Friday 1 June 1990, I came home from babysitting the neighbours kids at around 00h15. I went into my parents room where they were watching some late night television, said my hellos and goodnight, closed their door and went to my room to prepare for bed / sleep / oblivion. It never came.

We had just moved to CT from JHB. Both of my older siblings had already moved out and moved on. My brother already married. My sister an independent woman.

The screaming started almost immediately. My mother. The worst noise I have ever heard, to this day.

It seemed to last an eternity. I will never forget that sound. Or what I saw when I opened my parents door again. My mother had managed to get my dad off the bed and onto the floor. And, in her own mad way, was desperately … oh so very desperately, trying to get my dad breathing again.

I didn’t even have half a clue what to do. So I did the only thing I could think of. I ran out to the neighbour’s house. I remember being hysterical. I remember being frantic. I don’t really remember words. Or banging on doors. Or making sense. I remember hysteria, and then the neighbour Shawn was there.

I remember screaming. And begging.

I remember Shawn trying and knowing. Deep down. I knew too. It was too catastrophic. Too fast. Too big. My dad’s heart – it just died.

So much screaming. I remember Shawn grabbing my mother and pulling. I remember my sister, Norine, suddenly being there, when she wasn’t before. I remember our house doctor, Dr. Perold arriving. The ambulance. I don’t know how all of that knew to happen. Or why it happened. Or who facilitated it all. It just was.

I remember Norine holding my hand and we got into the ambulance.

My dad was a big man. In stature and personality. I think. I don’t really remember anymore. I remember his laugh was big. It is one of the only things I do remember.

He looked like he was asleep. I hope that is how he looked. It is what I chose anyway.

One minute he was there. And then he was not.

Because his heart broke.

And the world shattered into shards that never really got put back together again.

My dad was just shy of 50.

Now. So very many years later. I have friends whose parents are starting to pass. Their experience not quite the same as mine. To be honest, I get a bit jealous of the time they had together. The relationships and shared memories that time affords people.

On the other hand – I didn’t have to watch my dad get old, or frail, or sick really. My memory of him, from the point of view of a child, is of a strong man struck down in his prime.

Death sucks. The actual act of it. Whether it is drawn out and wasting and traumatic, or quick and nasty and unexpected and traumatic. It is mean and cruel and oh so very human.

The passing on though. The moving through the veil to the God you believe in.

That is Grace. I believe that with every fiber of my utmost being.

It is a moment when your soul, that fundamental part of you that is you, is free again. Young again. Whole again. Loving and beloved.

And that is where you stay. Where you wait. In Light and Peace.

Just out of sight. Just around the corner.

Just for a moment.

Till the time is right.

My dearest Ronnage. Just, just out of sight.

Whole.

Waiting.

Sometimes

Everyone gets sad sometimes. When we think about the things we have lost. The things that have lost us.

But mostly I think we get sad when we focus too intently on the things that we never had.

Today is a one of those days, for someone I know. Someone laid low and immobile by life, and by circumstance.

A day of reflecting on the whoever’s that left, the whoever’s that stayed, and the whoever’s that never were.

Perhaps a day spent reflecting on the things that we just, quite simply, can never get right. No matter how hard our brain tries.

A day of ache’s and a pain that is constant. Powerless to stop. Right now anyway.

A day wondering about the losses we still feel so very keenly. And the injustices. And forgiveness.

A day of feeling wholeheartedly sorry for ourselves. Just because we do. It is length of time that becomes an actual problem.

Pain is not less because another suffers more.

Pain is pain.

Sadness is sadness.

Sometimes the weight of unshed tears is heavy. Unbearable. Like concrete.

Except think on this, for one moment.

A quote from my current favourite author –

“…there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind – graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life they grow and learn. There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.

And if you’re very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last – and yet will remain with you for life.

Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it.

Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, it’s a part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you’re alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.”

This pain, right now and in your face, is fleeting. This sadness. This sorrow and difficulty.

Soon  – Grace will return to it’s full light. To shine on the things that we do right. On the souls that occupy our heart. That should occupy our heart. The ones that have earned places.

On the gains, instead of the losses.

Hang on. Just for one moment more. Wait for Grace. It is always there, it never really leaves, I promise. It is just hidden, by ourselves sometimes. So wait till you see it again.

For the clouds in your head to clear a bit.

Hang on.

Quote is from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher