Monthly Archives: June 2011

Decision-making

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It’s never easy to make decisions – but when it comes to relationships, decision-making is even harder. In particular, Mani and I struggle to decide on what movie to watch when we head down to the local video* store to pick up a DVD. He has this insatiable urge to always choose alien movies – if it’s got an alien, 5 people who all die, and lots of laser guns shooting blue rays everywhere, then Mani’s bound to absolutely love it. Me on the other hand…I prefer thrillers – movies that play psychological games with you – or movies that scare you to the point of having to revert back to your tendency as a 2 year old to want to sleep with the light on, snuggled in the arms of your favourite teddy bear.

At first – in the early days of our relationship – there’d be a tug-of-war involving frustrated exclamations such as, “But yoooou got to choose the last one!”, or “Why do I never get to choose a movie! I don’t want to watch one anymore!” Ah – but our relationship has evolved (thank heavens!) and we’ve found a way to settle almost any argument, and it can be summed up in three simple, but very profound, words: Rock. Paper. Scissors.

Yip indeed, we use Rock-Paper-Scissors to settle our disputes. In fact, when Mani bought a new cellphone while I was in Berlin, I loved it so much that I begged him to hand it over to me. (I foolishly thought that his love for me was so great that he’d look into my eyes and say, “Yes of course. Take it. And here, have this piece of cake I bought for myself too…and this really awesome coffee machine…it’s all yours!) But he never handed it over and eventually we settled on a round of Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine who would walk off with the phone. Sooooo yeah…Mani has the phone, but I really don’t care, because its proven to be rather crappy :P. Ok granted, when we first played the game, I sucked – I never won, so I had to endure countless alien movies – but I’ve caught on to the logic behind the game, and I’ve won a few rounds, much to the dismay of Mani. Muahahahahaha! 😀

So let it be known – decision-making isn’t easy and there are courses you can take on “How to make decisions,” but honestly, if you want to follow my advice, use some Rock-Paper-Scissors magic because it does wonders – especially for relationships. And just another pointer, rather than attending a course on how to make decisions, try to find one that teaches you how to win Rock-Paper-Scissors – it’s far better and much more enjoyable 😉

*Isn’t it odd how video stores are still referred to as ‘video’ stores, even though videos have been taken over by DVDs?

Please note that the views expressed in this post are my own views and I cannot be held accountable if you decide to take any advice I give. Honestly now…a course on Rock-Paper-Scissors…phhht!

Looking back

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It’s amazing what you’ll find in your old dusty journals that have been banished to a box that’s stuffed in an obscure corner of a cupboard you never open. I found a journal I’d used to make notes for my daily Bible study/readings, and opened it up on a random page. And there, written in big, bold letters were two words, with associated explanations:

Hupomone – Greek for ‘perseverance’; patience or endurance in difficult circumstances

Anecho – The Greek word for ‘endure’; to patiently wait

God gives the believer inner strength to enable him to be steadfast, to patiently wait in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Ok right, well didn’t those seemingly random words scribbled in my journal over a year ago speak straight to me when I read them today! I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the process surrounding my Visa application and my emotions ebb and flow from negative to positive – changing almost as often as I change my underwear! And somewhere amongst those emotional fluctuations, I just want to reach out with my hand and grab a branch that’s sticking out of the swirling mass of nonsense that threatens to engulf me. Just so that I can stay afloat and catch a breather.

As I gather the little, but important, bits of paper that I need to hand in with my application, I often feel a tightness in my chest because of the fear I have for the outcome of all of this. It’s almost been a year since I made the decision to move to Germany, and all I’m wanting now is resolution – some sort of conclusion.

But as I was reminded today, God gives the believer inner strength to enable him to be steadfast, to patiently wait in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Men vs. Women

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Relationships throw you slap-bang in the middle of the Men vs. Women War. You start to realise just how different these two forms of the human species are, and you’re sometimes confronted with things that make your jaw drop.

But I’m learning to have fun with the differences and not to (ever) expect that men and women are the same in every regard.

Today Mani and I were emailing back and forth about some stuff, and true to my womanly nature, my emotions littered some of the emails. The result – he sent me a graph indicating what my emotions are like. I reacted by creating and sending him a graph too. And so I present to you two graphs that indicate the differences in the emotions on men and women 🙂 :

The Emotions of Women

 

The Emotions of Men

Wall-hitting

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Why does it always surprise me when God’s good to me – when He comes through for me (as He always does)? Why do I stand in amazement and think, “Wow, You just did that for me?!” Why, after He’s just blessed me, do I let my mind wonder what bad thing’s lurking around the corner, out of sight of this blessing? Nothing’s out of God’s sight and all I do by thinking this way is miss what He’s so freely giving me!

Yesterday I had a slight panic about something that I felt was completely out of my control. To an extent, it is out of my control, but things are never out of His control. This ‘obstacle’ lay before me like a ginormous mountain and I didn’t know how to tackle it – over, under, around, or through?! But then, the answers started coming, and by this morning it was a thing of the past – done and dusted – a solution found – a way forward. How could I ever have doubted Him and His grace and mercy for me? How could I ever have doubted that He loves me so much that He has a plan…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

This verse has come up over and over and over again in the last year. Sometimes through the radio, through a random verse I read on a piece of paper, through a devotional, through an e-mail, through someone just saying it, on a random, blank page in a notebook….! It’s clear – very clear – that this is God’s message for me at the moment.

Yet still I remain defiant at times, struggling with things and trying to make them work out by using my own strength – which is no strength compared to His. And I still get the same results – hitting my head against some very hard walls. But slowly, I’m realising that wall-hitting is not part of the life God wants for me, and as much as possible, He’ll try to help me avoid it. But just like a little kid needs to learn some lessons the hard way, so do I. It’s wonderful though to know that besides what my emotions, thoughts or feelings are telling me, He’s still got a plan and He still loves me.

Back on African soil

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I can hear the pitter-patter of the rain’s feet outside my window. My surroundings seem so familiar to me, but at the same time, so unfamiliar. I’m back in South Africa and I’ve just slipped into the welcoming arms of my warm bed – the last time I slept was on Tuesday night, but I’m on a high at the moment – so much so, I’ve even tackled some work for tomorrow.

My emotions got the better of me at the airport when I caught a glimpse of my parents waiting for me. I was prepared though and had a tissue at hand. As I lugged my heavy suitcase through the security checkpoints, I eventually made it out to the arrivals waiting area and could do nothing but bow my head and let the tears stream down as I walked towards my parents.

It was a mixture of so many emotions that all came tumbling out of me – it was like a domino effect – one emotion knocking the next, which knocked the next – and soon they all just poured forth. But isn’t that the lovely thing about parents – how you can just lay yourself completely bare, without any inhibitions? What I received as I reached them was two warm, loving embraces. My parents know me so well – so they know about the personal journey I’ve been on for the last couple of years – and the stage I’m at now is sort of like the peak of it all. And they’ve been amazing – so encouraging.

And so I meet up with an old friend of mine – Mr Long Distance Relationship. Him and I have come to know each other well over the last 10 months. We’re not so fond of one another – in fact, he’s probably more tolerating of me than I am of him – but we get along for now – only because we’re forced to. I don’t plan to stay friends with him for too long though and I’m doing all I possibly can to get rid of him.

So back to emails and late night chats with Mani; waiting for my phone to ring, signalling that he’s online; sitting on the other side of the world wondering what he’s up to; what he’s wearing; what he had for breakfast and how messed up his hair looks…

It’s just a season…

Leaving on a Jetplane

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I had a plan for how things were going to happen this morning. I was going to wake up, place the last of my things in my suitcase, hug Mani as many times as I could and then board a plane headed to South Africa without crying.

None of my plan actually worked out. I was too busy with the last-minute things to remember to hug Mani as much as possible – but also, I knew that if I hugged him too much, the tears would start. Which is silly, because they started early in the morning…and still haven’t stopped. I sat, in the middle of Starbucks, trying to enjoy my Chocolate Mocha coffee, but my lip was quivering too much and a few times I nearly choked on my Chocolate Mocha coffee mixed tears.

It never gets easier…saying good bye….it just never gets easier. Each time it feels as if my heart’s being ripped out of my chest – looking at him, not wanting to turn the corner because I know that if I do, I won’t see his handsome face for a long time again.

Anyway – I’m sitting in Doha airport, waiting for my flight back to Cape Town – I’ll be boarding in 11 hours from now….yes, that’s right…11 hours. And all this time waiting just gives me a lot of time to think – think about the journey that I’m on and the steps I’ve taken thus far. I’ve been stretched beyond what I’m used to, but I’m believing that it’s all for my good in the long run. I’m going to be a better person after all of this – that’s for sure.

But in the meantime, I miss Mani, I miss the people I met in Berlin…I just miss everything I had there – everything that I wanted to claim for myself. And I’m reminded about what Mani said to me a few nights ago, when I was packing my things and trying to hide my tears, “It’s just not right that people are kept apart”. And that’s the truth of it – it really is just not right – especially when it’s something as silly as bureaucracy that keeps people separated. But I will roundhouse kick bureaucracy in his face when he least expects it, so just watch this space!

My morning cup of coffee

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My alarm clock’s gone off so it must be 6.15am. I’m tired and all I feel like doing is snoozing the alarm for another two hours, turning over, and cuddling in the warmth of my duvet a little more. I think it’ll be cold today because I can hear the rain pounding at my window. That makes the urge to stay in bed even stronger.

But I need to get up – he’ll be waiting for me. It’ll soon be time for us to meet for our morning cup of coffee. As I lie in my bed I think back to when our daily coffee dates started, more than a year ago. At first, I didn’t know if what I was doing was right and I never really had much to say to him. So we’d just sit there in silence, watching the sun rise, seeing people get ready for the day laying ahead of them. But we started to feel more comfortable with one another as time passed on and I started talking to him more about all sorts of things. Sometimes the conversations didn’t make sense, sometimes they did. He never seemed to be bothered though – it was almost as if he just enjoyed the fact that I was there every morning, as I’d promised I’d be.

I peek at the clock – it’s 6.19. I really should be getting out of bed. He’s always on time and I’m usually the one who’s late. But he doesn’t care, he just likes the fact that I rock up. I don’t even have to put make-up on or wear something fancy, which is a great relief, considering how awful I look at this time of the morning. I finally manage to slip out from beneath the duvet and I can feel the cold air biting at my toes. I find it so much harder to get up early in Winter, though admittedly it takes a while during the Summer months too.

I wonder what we’ll talk about today. There are a few things on my mind I’d like to run by him – I’ve grown to value his opinion. I never valued it in the beginning, only because I never really understood it….or understood him. But I’ve made it a priority to find out as much about him as I possibly can. He fascinates me. I never really used to hear him talk but I think that’s because I never listened very well. My heart just wasn’t open to the things he was saying, so my ears were closed too. I got to the stage where I was just concerned with what I wanted to say – what I needed to talk about – what was bothering me. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I didn’t care much for what he had to say.

But he’s been patient and he’s still continued to meet with me every day. No matter how cold or how early it is – he waits for me.

I walk to the kitchen and switch the kettle on. I take my favourite cup from the cupboard and decide on Mocha Java as today’s blend. For a moment I wonder what his favourite blend would be. As I place my cup on the table, I open my Bible at the page I marked yesterday. I read Isaiah 12:2 – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song!

And so my morning cup of coffee with God begins…

 

A raging storm

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The thunder-storm this morning represents what’s going on inside my heart. I love thunder storms – I love sitting in the warmth of this room, rain pouring down outside, grey clouds gathering and making things a little eery. But with this comes a little bit of fear…a little bit of trepidation – and when the thunder’s particularly loud, I want to run and hide under the covers.

This tug-of-war between enjoying something and at the same time being scared is exactly how I feel about life at the moment. Next week this time, I’ll be sitting in the airport, waiting to board a plan back to South Africa. On one hand, I’m loving the idea of seeing my family and friends again, but on the other hand, being pulled away from what I’ve grown to love here in Berlin is, quite simply, heart breaking. I think it would’ve been different for me if I was assured of the fact that I’d be returning to Berlin – but that’s not a certainty. So this time, when I leave Mani at the airport, I just don’t know when I’ll see him again. I don’t know if I’ll experience the joy of being able to utter the words, “I got my Visa, I’m moving to Berlin!”; I don’t know if I’ll experience the joy of being able to plug into the church here that I’ve grown to love, or invest properly in the friendships that have started to develop in the three months I’ve spent here.

My tendency in these situations is to allow the dark clouds to hover over my head; to allow negativity to have its way with me, to the point of losing all sense of positivity. But that’s not what I want for myself – instead, I want to see this as an adventure – I want to enjoy every step of the process, no matter how absolutely annoying it can be (and let me tell you something – bureaucracy is darn annoying!).

I think about the situation I’m in and all that comes to mind is ‘bitter-sweet’. What I’m learning through all of this though is to trust God completely – to do all that I can, but to leave the rest to Him and to know, and accept in my heart, that He’s in control, no matter what.

It ain’t easy…