A quick reflection

As we approach the end of yet another year, I, as I normally do on most days, have taken time out to not only reflect on myself but also to look back at my life journey through 2017.

I no longer makes resolutions at the beginning of the year but instead focus on being a better me daily. I don’t always get it right but if I’ve at least grown in some way or some area of my life then I’ve at least achieved something.

This year, the growth has been in my spiritual life. As a man who grew up always wanting to be right or to have the last word, I’ve learnt the importance of being wrong and acknowledging the same. I’ve learnt the importance of being hurt but confronting it with grace. I’ve learnt the importance of being offended and more importantly, forgiveness.

Death has been on my mind a lot not in the sense of being obsessed with it but rather in the sense of leaving this world with minimal regret. On other words, if called from this Earth, would I be able to honestly say that I did my best to be my best? Did I live my life in a way that would make my Father, my God proud?

I keep thinking of The Lord’s prayer and how I used to take it for granted by merely saying it automatically without really giving thought to every word, every line until the day I stopped at “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If there’s one thing I can confess its that I was never quick to forgive. Sure it’s human nature but it’s exhausting. That very line gave me so much to think about and really got me thinking about little ways I could improve myself, strengthen my faith and be a beacon of love to all around me.

Anyone that knows me will know what a big part of my life my faith is and that I am unashamed of my beliefs. That same faith has taught me the importance of acceptance when necessary and forgiveness. It has taught me the importance of righting wrongs. It has taught me the importance of relationships and lifelong bonds and why it is important to sometimes humble myself, even when right, in order to be able to break down barriers and in turn, speak to the hearts of people.

This realisation has not been easy and at times is still a challenge but, the fact that I’ve overcome and can look past so much is an achievement that I would never have dreamt of years ago. The journey itself has required sacrifice and perseverance but not once did I feel alone. I chose to place my trust in God and I will be the first to admit that there were times whereby I wanted to give up but I’ve seen prayer after prayer answered. I’ve been blessed and with each blessing came the understanding that each would come with its own set of challenges for what’s the point of being blessed continuously if you cannot strengthen yourself to overcome challenges that will prepare you for the greater blessings that lay ahead?

I don’t claim to be perfect. I don’t claim to know everything but one thing I do know is that having grace does wonders to one’s soul. Grace helps you look beyond what is petty and understand that life is too short to waste emotions on issues that subconsciously control you instead of realising that you have the power to control those situations. You just need to accept the fact that it comes down to making a decision.

Apparently there’s not a single good woman in my life

Anybody that knows me well will know that I don’t take social networking sites very seriously or rather, I don’t take myself too seriously when it comes to such. However, every now and then, something that I feel strongly about hits home or crosses my mind and this is one such thing.

With Women’s Day about a month away – amongst other things – I came to the realisation that there are no good women in my life. I thought this through and it’s true, there just aren’t any.

Let’s go through the list, from birth I’ve known my mother, grandmothers and aunts. Growing up was not in isolation and I got to do so with my sisters, cousins and friends. Adulthood too has consisted of a wife, a child and colleagues to name a few. Looking back at the aforementioned, it’s become apparent that the only reason I don’t think that there’s a single good woman in my life is because most have chosen not to settle for being mediocre and have instead aspired to greatness.

Going as far back as my infancy and early childhood, in addition to mother, I was blessed to have numerous mother figures in the form of my grandmothers, aunts and mothers of close friends. They were the personification of unconditional love and displayed a strength that far surpasses that of any human being. My own personal experience, there is and always was my queen…my mother. Without her, I doubt I’d be half the man that I am today. Without her, there is no me. Without her, I never would have learnt what it means to honour, respect and love a woman in such a way that through good times and bad, she never doubts feeling appreciated and for that mom, I can’t thank you enough. I am privileged to have a mother who has always given so much and expected very little to nothing in return. Through life’s tribulations, she’s kept her head high, her heart open and her faith intact and for that mom, I salute you and every single mother out there – whether in the literal or metaphorical sense – you’re all the glue that keeps the world together.

Growing up, I was blessed with siblings, extended family and certain friends who have since become so much more. In a world that still has not shown women the respect they deserve, you constantly push yourselves to be and do so much more than the world gives you credit for. I can only imagine the strength and perseverance it takes to wake up every day finding yourselves have to prove that you have so much more to offer than perceived and for that, I salute you too. May you always realise that you make the best you. No other human being let alone man should ever make you believe less.

Now, the present. In addition to having the opportunity to interact with most of those referred to above on a daily basis, I’ve further been honoured over the last few years in having met some of the strongest and greatest women in the work place and on a more personal level. The likes of my (coolest) boss (ever)/colleague/next door neighbour at work as well as my other ‘honorary mother’ who is never short of fantastic advice on life, child care (and Rooi Laventel), along with some of my fellow colleagues/friends who time after time continue to rise above the limitations instilled by an environment dominated by men despite constantly (and incorrectly) being labelled as “emotional”. They have displayed the kind of ‘never-back-down’ character that has earned them by deepest respect and appreciation. I salute you too.

On a personal level, my darling wife and daughter. It is said that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and there’s no greater truth when I look back at not only the abovementioned but also the lessons I’ve taken from every situation in my life growing up. I look at you both every single day and all I see is the quintessence of greatness. You have both shown me what true love looks like, taught me what it means to be more than just a “good enough” man and accentuated what I’ve known about what it means to have and express unconditional love. Faith has gotten us this far and its faith, love and our unity as a family that I know will take us to even greater heights. To my wife, thank you for not only being a great role model to our daughter but for also living up to what I consider to be “greatness” whilst teaching me to appreciate the fact that within imperfections lies perfection.

To my mini-me, my rug-rat, my adorable baby girl. I hope that as you grow up, I will continue to remind you of all I’ve said thus far. That you continue to be blessed in such a way that you are a blessing to others. That any man worthy of your attention sees you in the same (or greater) light as I do. You’re my motivation, my inspiration, my purpose for wanting to be a better me and the best me I can be. I love you always.

So once again, with Women’s Day being about a month away, I thought that today was as good a day as any to let all the “great” women in my life know that you are an inspiration and are truly appreciated. Thank you for your many sacrifices, for your strength and undying love. Again, I salute you all.