I saw a quote today attributed to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung which reads: “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” Jung would be the first to concede that we are more than just what we do, but the point he’s making relates to actions and intentions. It is our actions that determine who we become, not our intentions. My long-standing plans to learn to play the piano don’t make me a pianist; not even close.
Thankfully, it seems that across the nation, we have passed the peak of the third Covid wave and probably by the time that you read this a move to lockdown level 2 will be imminent. Our stewards met this week to plan the way forward as far as in-person services go and here is what we have decided:
Kym and I spent last weekend in Johannesburg as part of our ongoing Spiritual Direction training. This was the third module of the course, but the first time we met everyone in person (the first two modules were via Zoom and it was surprisingly difficult to recognise our fellow participants with masked faces and full bodies attached to talking heads!). Our sessions were hosted at Lumko – a Catholic Retreat Centre in Benoni.
One of the items on my lockdown list finally got a look-in this week. For the last 18 months, I’ve been telling myself that this would be the ideal time to pick up my acoustic guitar again and see how much my stiff fingers remember. Although I haven’t played much in the last few years, it turns out that the problem is not what the fingers remember. The real problem is that the callouses I used to have on my fingertips are long gone, and pressing soft fingers against thin metal wires makes for very short practice sessions … Sadly, there are no shortcuts to building up those callouses - the only way to toughen up the fingers is to keep playing.
I had the chance to visit All Souls Anglican Church this week and to (finally!) meet their ‘new’ minister, Rev Bruce Woolley, in person. I was also keen to have a look at their setup for live-streaming services and Bruce and I and their worship leader Gibby spent a happy hour geeking out over the various bits of technology that make the online worship experience possible :)
In the week following the unrest and looting that took place in KZN, I shared details with you of friends from a local NGO (www.HeartsThatHope.com) who were trying to do something to help the informal traders whose shops in Nkobongo, Shayamoya, Shaka’s Head and other nearby areas were stripped bare (and in some cases the building itself was destroyed).
Tomorrow is Women’s Day and I have to confess that I have sometimes allowed this public holiday to become for me much like Mother’s Day, when we celebrate the role that women play in our lives as nurturers and carers who give so sacrificially in so many ways. Mother’s Day is an important celebration, but Women’s Day is marking something different.
In our imagination, the thought of getting away from the routine of daily life and having some space to go and do something different seems like a breath of fresh air – a welcome change. Certainly a break like this now and then can be a real gift, but one thing that the pandemic has taught us is just how critical routines and rituals are to our general well-being. They help us to keep doing the most important things each day.
Earlier this week I had been standing in the vaccine queue at the Pinetown Civic Centre for some time when the Zulu man behind me caught my eye and asked, “is this the right queue?” “For the vaccine? Yes, I think so”, I replied. He looked at me seriously for a moment and then said, “No, no, this is the UIF queue.” He seemed so sure of himself – maybe he was right. After all, there was no signage – I had just seen the queue and joined it.
Our final newsletter for the year is out and available here. Thank you to Ferdi and all contributors for all your work in pulling this together.