Just a thought

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I was on my way to church at about 5.30pm yesterday. The service was held at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre – and I noticed that the parking lot was the fullest I’d ever seen it. Then I remembered – the convention centre was hosting the annual Sexpo…unfortunately. The reason for the increased number of cars made sense.

Anyway, something struck me as a little odd for the first time, yesterday. I eventually found a parking spot and then walked hurriedly to the entrance because I wanted to get a good seat in the auditorium. On my way, a beggar asked for some money. He started off by saying, “You see lady, I want to buy something at the shops and all I have is R5…” but I didn’t let him finish – I know the drill by now. So I smiled, reached into my pocket and gave him whatever I had. He said thanks and proceeded to continue his conversation with one of his friends. And then I made a mental note, “Must remember to write that up in my budget.” And that’s what struck me as odd. I have to insert a row in my budget that details the money I’ve given to a beggar…what category do I put that under…miscellaneous? Giving? Beggars?

Homeless people are a reality that South Africans are faced with – to the extent that we don’t even really see them anymore. They become a part of life, part of the scenery, part of the things you just walk past…an irritation at times. And if you do notice them, your first reaction, generally, is “Argh no, please don’t let this guy ask me for something…” Another common reaction is, “If I give him money, will he just spend it on booze?”, or, “How do I know he’s going to use the money I give him properly? I just can’t trust him.”

And then I thought about how I’d managed to buy groceries the day before; I’d managed to purchase Christmas gifts for loved ones; I’d managed to purchase and send GH’s gift to him; I’d managed to buy a Chai Latté just because I felt like having one.

I’m by no means advocating giving every beggar money, or food, or whatever…but sometimes we really do need to stop and think. Just take a moment to step out of the ordinary so that we can open ourselves up to the extraordinary. I don’t know what that beggar did with the money, and I guess it really doesn’t matter – chances are great that I’d have spent that money on something needless.

In the greater scheme of things every little action has a reaction – and how much better would the world be if we made sure that every little action we take is a positive one – we need to start a positive domino effect in ourselves – regardless of what anyone says, regardless of the misconceptions we have in our minds, regardless of what society says and what society’s opinion is…it doesn’t even have to be financial – a smile can change someone’s day completely.

Matisyahu produced a song which I find very moving – and its lyrics sum up centuries of conflict and what seems like a simple solution…

One Day

sometimes I lay
under the moon
and thank God I’m breathing
then I pray
don’t take me soon
cause I am here for a reason
sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around
because
all my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
for the people to say
that we don’t wanna fight no more
they’ll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day
it’s not about
win or lose
we all lose
when they feed on the souls of the innocent
blood drenched pavement
keep on moving though the waters stay raging
in this maze you can lose your way (your way)
it might drive you crazy but don’t let it faze you no way (no way)
sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around
because
all my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
for the people to say
that we don’t wanna fight no more
they’ll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day
one day this all will change
treat people the same
stop with the violence
down with the hate
one day we’ll all be free
and proud to be
under the same sun
singing songs of freedom like
one day
all my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
for the people to say
that we don’t wanna fight no more
they’ll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day

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