“Today a new sun rises in me, everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.” Anne de Lencois
This morning I woke up, as on a typical Monday, with the intention of getting ready and settling in at my computer to work. Then I received a Whats App message which reminded me that it was Freedom day. I love that even though we all see the sense of irony at this time, we do still have the freedom to choose.
This day celebrates freedom and commemorates the first democratic post-apartheid non racial elections in our country, that were held on April 27th 1994. These elections saw Nelson Mandela elected as President. I have always been excited by change, positive change, and the dawn of democracy was a positive step for all South Africans.
Today, 26 years later, here we are in lockdown, being 'forced' to stay home in the ‘comfort’ of our own homes,however we remain in a country of inequalities. We need to be thoughtful of the fact that while this time may well be a respite for some, it is a nightmare for others, where access to food and water is limited, and work is non existent or jeopardised. On the one hand there are people in this country, right now, saving money, as expenditure on entertainment is non existent, and there are people starving. We have the freedom to choose to be considerate of the disparity this disease highlights.
So, how do we help? This is a question that is being asked by many of us. Sometimes we feel as if our hands are tied. I used to believe that if I couldn’t help financially in a big and meaningful way then I couldn’t help.
This always kept me asking for more, to do more and be more, so I could give more. And then God revealed to me that while money makes a difference in some ways, the world is also in need of people with integrity - and I realised that I can make a difference.
Here are some traits of integrity, HUMILITY - not always understanding their own true worth, but always striving to be better, GOODNESS - finding joy in enriching the lives of those around them, AUTHENTICITY - sticking to what they believe no matter what, HONESTY - taking pride in the truth, TRUSTWORTHY - always being someone who can be relied upon, GIVE CREDIT - they give credit where credit is due, and never call it their own, VALUE TIME - sticking to deadlines, schedules and arrangements, ARE NOT RUDE - not allowing irrational emotional reactions to define how they interact with the world, GIVE SECOND CHANCES - giving others the benefit of the doubt, EMOTIONALLY INTUITIVE - attuned with the world and those around them, APOLOGETIC - prefer to create peace instead of tension, ACCOUNTABILITY - their word and their bond is crucial, GENUINE - their values and truths define them, PATIENCE - pay attention to how someone treats others and this will be a good indicator as to how much integrity they have.
So while I do not have it all together, God showed me that being trustworthy, honest and kind to people is sometimes enough. So when you feel that your hands are tied, or you simply don't know if what you can do to help will be enough - be kind, be honest and be someone others can trust.
The message that keeps coming to us during this lockdown is such a simple one, to Pray, but yet the most profound of all - So I would like to leave you with this quote.
“The eagle does not fight the snake on the ground, it picks it up into the sky and changes the battle ground, and then it releases the snake into the sky. The snake has no stamina, no power, no balance in the air, it is useless, weak and vulnerable. On the ground it is powerful, wise and deadly. Take your fight into the spiritual realm, by praying God will take over your battles. Don’t fight the enemy in his comfort zone, change the battle ground like the eagle, and let God make change through your earnest prayer."
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, in the Passion Version ‘Make your life a prayer’ I love this, and in the ESV it says 'Pray without ceasing'.
‘Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves” James M Barrie
Let us bring sunshine into the lives of others, and let us never cease praying.