Out of Rest, Beautiful Things Are Birthed

IMG_1726A lady I respect and deeply admire once said (paraphrased), “We are so busy doing that we stop being, and yet, we are human beings and not human doings.” Do you grasp the depth behind this statement?

All too often, we wait to get tired before we can rest, that is neither okay, nor a good mindset to have.
Not too long ago, I messaged my girlfriends on our WhatsApp group lamenting over how exhausted I was, and was borderline frustrated because I couldn’t find certain documents I needed to submit in order to meet a deadline that was slowly creeping up that week. Later that night as I drove home, my eyes followed the light outside my right window and I found myself beholding the moon in all its splendor. It was full…it was shining…it was beautiful. I exhaled, and asked myself: “When was the last time you looked up at the moon?” At that point, I let out a slow exhalation which, to me, symbolised exhaling all the exhaustion and crisis mode I was operating under, and symbolically inhaled mental, spiritual, and emotional rest. Through that spontaneous exercise, a beautiful Zulu poem was birthed out of me, which I recently recited alongside a friend; this was monumental in two ways: it was the first time I had performed in close to two years, and secondly, the first time I publicly recited a Zulu piece.

 

“When was the last time you looked up at the moon?”

 

You see, beautiful things happen when we are in a place of rest. To top it all off, I found the documents I had been searching for, in a place I had looked prior to that, and I just about cried. I thought: “How often do we miss things when they are right before us, simply because we are exhausted and phased by being ‘too busy’?”
Needless to say, I met the deadline AND found myself more at ease.

 

“How often do we miss things when they are right before us, simply because we are exhausted and phased by being ‘too busy’?”

 

Be reminded that rest does not always mean everything needs to stop; rest is spiritual, it is emotional, and it is a mental state.

May you find rest and, as a result, birth beautiful things.

Nompendulo Nomps Shabangu

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Being. Still.

The cute cottage I stayed in.
The cute cottage I stayed in.

Those who know me well, know that I am an indoors person. I genuinely am not equipped to connect with nature as does the good majority. I feel slightly out of place when it comes to discussing the beauty of the constellations and attempting to go into serenading detail about the sunset over the horizon.

But this past week I had no choice…and I actually loved every minute. I travelled to Zambia, a country I have been dreaming of visiting for quite a while. I didn’t, however, have any idea I would have no access to the internet, and no sim card until halfway into my trip. All I had to keep me busy were my speaking engagements, a handful of people, my Bible, and, yep, you guessed it, connecting with nature.

Upon our arrival at the base we were staying at, we had dinner and were shown our sleeping areas. My colleagues and I were staying in a little cottage with glass doors. We were so exhausted from the long journey that all we wanted to do was get some sleep.

I woke up the next morning in complete oblivion and walked to the kitchen to get a glass of water, and lo and behold, I could hardly believe the sight I was beholding that lay on the other side of the living room door. “Oh my God!” I exclaimed, in absolute awe. “I know, right?” said one of the ladies I was staying with at the cottage – translation: “I was equally taken aback by this, and I beat you to seeing it first when I got up to pray at 4am.”

I made my way to the balcony, and took in a panoramic – might I add magical?! – view of what lay before me. Firstly, I could hardly believe I had gone to bed completely unaware that my cottage was right by the Zambian cliff overlooking Zimbabwe. I walked toward the wall and looked down to connect the sound of the rushing waters I heard with my sight: The Zambezi River.

It took me all of two minutes (possibly even less) to get over it and get back inside the house to inform my friend, Gee, about the beautiful sight I knew she would definitely appreciate far more than I tried to.

The beauty behind all I witnessed did grow on me, though. Day by day, I enjoyed drinking in the sight – especially as I realised that was about the only choice I had. And it was good for me, so good for me.

I have been wanting to visit Zambia for the longest time, and I must say, this has been an incredible experience that will be permanently etched in my memory; it’s a great “first time” memory. I have enjoyed the unmatched view of the gorge, and the connection with God through nature.

It’s been amazing reading the Psalms, going for a swim, and capitalising on BEING rather than DOING, for a change.

Sitting by the balcony - re-learning to be still.
Sitting by the balcony – re-learning to be still.

 

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.

My version: “Be still, (so that you may) know that I am God.

Photos courtesy of Zoey Konie.

Finding Closure: Rest In Peace, Uncle

Finding closure

Of course, never once did I imagine that the culmination of The Father Series would be reached through the passing of my uncle, Dad’s younger brother.

I found myself wondering how one mourns the passing of someone of such close relation, and yet acknowledging never having truly known them?

Nonetheless, I decided to embark upon the great trek from Maun, Botswana, to Johannesburg, South Africa, and be with my family and find closure somehow.

The thing is, this uncle of mine was the last remaining male sibling of my Dad’s. I knew that were my Dad still around he would refer to him as, “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.

I last saw my uncle almost a decade ago when I moved to Botswana, after Dad’s burial. I only have a few memories of him. As a little girl, my uncle lived with us. One day, I found myself pointing a gun at him – my Dad’s real gun! I do not know whether or not the thing was loaded but I thought it was fun (and funny! now I know better!) to do what I always saw in the movies. Nevertheless, I didn’t pull the trigger. Another memory I have of him is when he stood over my Dad’s casket while the procession went on for the viewing. I lingered a little longer than everyone else, taking in the sight of my rested father. He told me to move on along because others wanted to see.

Other than that, it’s all such a blur. 

I’m yet to figure out what it means to have only one sibling of my Dad’s remain. Rather than overthink the thing, I knew that going for my uncle’s funeral in South Africa was the right thing to do. Words cannot describe how painful it is to have relatives that you grew up around pass on and yet be so far away from them. The thing with attending a burial, I’ve realised, is that it grants you some kind of closure. In as much as my family in SA has always been faithful to inform me when a relative passes on, whenever I visit SA and we are all gathered together, by virtue of not having attended the funerals of those we’ve lost, I still somehow expect to see them. My heart tugs and squeezes, perhaps bleeding, as I yearn to see those that passed on.

Another thing that attending my uncle’s funeral did for me was to give me a new revelation of what it means to, “honour thy father and thy mother.” I realised that honouring one’s parents goes on even long after they are gone; I knew that it was what my Dad would have wanted. Being there not only represented my family in Botswana, but my Dad. It was like Dad got to attend his younger brother’s funeral, and I’m honoured to have been able to do that even in his absence.

Often times you think you’ve forgotten about a chapter in your life, and then something as tragic as death pulls you right back in and forces you to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I am glad I inherited the love that my Dad had for family.

Bab’omncane, rest in peace Shabangu.

Dear PJ,

PJ

My Moruti and Father who oozes with so much swag…

Ps. Jerry, thank you for your presence. Your presence and life have spoken so much into my life – much more than your words (and you know that’s BIIIG because your words always change my life!).

I have always submitted to people that whenever I walk away from a conversation with you, I find so much life having been infused into my spirit that I feel I can overcome anything.

Your messages and sermons have inspired me from when I was a little girl to now; I’ve been nourished by your words and your encouragement. Thank you for never giving up on this young lady, thank you for being a Father, pastor, mentor, encourager, and so much more.

You truly have withheld no good thing from me. Thank you for praying over me and with me. You are such an inspiration, I am so honoured to be walking in the midst of a giant like you, Ps. Jerry.

May God continue blessing you a million times over for unselfishly surrendering everything and saying, “Yes!” to the calling of God. I am but one life that attests to the positive impact you’ve had over our nation.

Love,

Nomps

 

Dear PG,

PGi

 

Where do I even begin? The first sentence out of your mouth that caught my when I was sitting in Youth Group at the age of 16 years old was, “God wants to be a part of every area of your life.”

That alone profoundly explains the simplicity behind how you have captured my heart.

Thank you for being a father to a young girl that was hungry for direction and guidance. Thank you for standing by me even in my absence; I just genuinely know that you have my back.

Thank you for listening, for giving me room to be myself, and for allowing yourself to be used by God to draw things out of me I never knew were there.

Even all these years later I still enjoy sitting at your feet and listening to your transformational messages. You have overcome so much in your life, and you always ensure that the devil always regrets ever messing with you and those you care about. You embody what it means that “Whatever was meant for bad, God turned it around and used it for good.”

Your passion for young people is astounding. Thank you for giving of yourself and your time. I appreciate the Father-Daughter drives. Thank you for wearing the different hats that you do in my life: mentor, spiritual father, pastor, leader, boss, friend. You are simply the best. Were it not for you and Ms. Stacy I would not be having so many precious spiritual brothers and sisters.

How could I possibly forget that you believed in what God has placed in me and chose me as one of the youth leaders, or that it was you who gave me my first preaching opportunity?

I am humbled by how you have dealt with the conflict and adversity in your life; you have faced seemingly insurmountable circumstances, you have been lied about by those you trust, you have been talked about, you have been accused, but STILL YOU RISE. Your dependence upon God is truly amazing.

STILL YOU RISE!

I just pray that I will be used by God to pour into others the way that you have poured into me.

I love, honour, and respect you so much!

We need to choose a hip hop song that you’re walking me down the aisle with so that father and daughter can walk down that aisle with so much swagger like hasn’t been seen in a very long time.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do with all the crazy I’ve inherited from you though…

*Sigh* apples and trees.

Love,

Your FIRST born 😉

PG

Dear Daddy,

Daddy

I am honoured and privileged to have been hand-picked by God to be born as your daughter. 

You have absolutely changed my life. The 16 years that I got to spend with you forever altered me and created the woman that I am today, and will continue evolving into. Your words, your love, your high standards, your expectations have catapulted me into a greater, above average destiny.

Many to whom I talk to about you, upon submitting how much of a positive impact you’ve had in my life, often exclaim: “I wish I had met your father.” Initially I used to think or respond with: “Me too, you would have loved him.” The truth however, is that whenever people meet me, they indirectly meet you as well.”

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

So are the children of one’s youth.

How blessed [happy and fortunate] is the man whose quiver is filled with them;
They will not be ashamed…”

~ Psalm 127:4,5 ~

Daddy, I do not want to shame you.

I want you to know that you were the best. The way you loved me, cared for me, and so willingly gave yourself for me time and again. I remember the precious moments that we had. Every single one of them from the earliest memories I have of when we would be passing by the lake in Benoni and my little 2 (3?) year old self could hardly contain the excitement and I would jump up and down in the bakkie shouting, “Papa, metsi! Metsi! Metsi!

I remember us leaving the house to go to town and I would pretend I wasn’t hungry but would immediately start confessing my hunger whenever we passed by the Garage, and you would go in to get me my favourite Steak and Kidney pie, and you would religiously get your Pepper Steak. I remember all too well.

I recall how you dreaded the thought of me using taxis. Oh how you would cringe right now, that’s for sure!

You spoke well both to and of me. 

I recall you standing over the ironing board with me, teaching me how to properly iron a shirt. Of course I remember you exclaiming how badly the food I had cooked tasted so badly at times, clearly a lack of effort on my part: “Nompendulo, if you don’t want to do it just don’t do it,” you’d say. No one has ever matched up to the lovely soup you cooked during the winter time. And what about the breakfasts in bed, especially when I wasn’t feeling well?

Thank you for showing me, and teaching me that there’s no such thing as, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I’m glad I got to show to you all the way until your last day on this earth how much you meant to me. You valued me, and I, you. You loved me too well. Too well, Daddy.

You may never get to know just how much you’ve changed my life, but I most certainly do.

I love you forever and always Bro Paul. Thank you for being my friend, Father, Daddy, encourager, supporter, leader, guide, and so much more. Thank you for your humour (which was often times only understood by me – it was a bit embarrassing sometimes!), for your wit and intelligence, and for everything you taught me.

During the week you passed away a friend of mine was trying to comfort me, and I clearly recall telling her these words, “I believe my Father taught me everything that he needed to in this lifetime.” 

 

You held nothing back, and for that, I’m genuinely grateful. 

 

Love always,

Ntombikayise

Botlhe Mauchaza

Ms. B_3

Growing up I never really thought about my name. I didn’t feel anything toward it; I was rather indifferent toward it. Mind you, I have had ample time to decide how I feel about what my parents named me. In addition to that, I have more than one name however, “Botlhe” is the name I use all the time.

Many a time I have been asked the meaning of my name, and the curious inquirers’ expectations have never been met. They always somehow expected a meaning that would faithfully match my colourful personality and equally complex character.

My name means “all of them.” Without fail, upon submission of that, one is left with a lingering question mark rather than satisfaction. My name signifies a lot in my culture: that I am the last born, therefore signifying the “full stop” to my Mom’s birthing season. It means “No more,” and “that’s it in the children’s department.”

How I view my name changed in Thanksgiving of 2011 when I conversed with a lady that was interested in finding out the meaning of my name. “My name means all of them,” I prosed, “‘All of them’ what?’” she contested?

“I am the last born of my mother’s children; my name was to remind her that she was to have no more.”

The lady looked at me with a big smile, “That is the best name you could ever have!” she remarked. I looked her square in the eyes pretending to expect a mind-blowing revelation, but in actual fact uninterested in what she had to say. I had heard all the explanations from many well-meaning souls in an attempt to change my nonchalant mood toward my name. I’m unsure how that looked in facial expression form, but I’m certain it was priceless. I wear my moods well, endeavouring to paint a picture of the setting in hopes to add to the “drama.” I continued my scarf-crocheting project for a friend while I sat on her bed.

She continued to ask me what my siblings names were, and I told her. “Then you are all of them!” she exclaimed excitedly. And there it was, the mind-blowing revelation I had been sarcastic about! I pondered upon it a while…I was genuinely blown away!

My siblings’ names (and their meanings) are:

 

  1. Ephraim – Double fruitfulness
  2. Neoyaone- Gift of God
  3. Lentswe – Voice of authority (In my grandmother’s absence her voice would be heard)
  4. Gorata – To Love or Will of God
  5. Phenyo – Victory

 

My Middle names are Naledi (Star), Thato (Love), and Cinderella-  (a woman whose merits were not recognized but who then achieves sudden success and recognition)

So I am “double fruitfulness, a gift of God, a voice of authority in the wilderness, the will of God, love, victory, and a star that has not been recognised who is achieving sudden success and recognition!!! Hallelujah!!! Glory be to God!!! I am connected to the great I AM!!!

That is what my name means. This is who I am. I believe the Setswana proverb, “ina lebe seromo,” meaning “you are your name” to be true in my own life. I have been walking in the above confession over my life since the revelation of who I really am became embroidered in my soul. I am the very fulfillment of my mother’s prophesy over her offspring. Now whenever I meet another Botlhe I am always intrigued regarding what they embody since I believe our parents were on to something bigger than themselves when they prophetically named their children “Botlhe.”