I am still reflecting on my trip last week to KwazuluNatal and Johannesburg, and I think I will be for some time! The last time I had seen many of those we met in KZN was January 2010 just before I left for Australia expecting to return 7 days later. Things didn’t work out as I had planned and over a year has passed before meeting again. I wanted to go and meet with my friends who may have felt let down by me, and to extend a hand of friendship again. Well actually, a part of me wanted to do that, another part of me, the part that fears conflict, felt positively nauseous at the thought! There were many that I didn’t manage to connect with but I was bowled over by the warmth and open heartedness of those with whom we did.
I guess I am reflecting again on the unique way in which God made us. Have you ever been in the situation where someone has wronged you, but as soon as they apologize it stops being a big deal? When relationships are broken and trust has been damaged, when I am prepared to come together in honesty and openness, grace and freedom seems to flow. It’s as if we have all been made is such a way that truth really does have the power to bring freedom. If I can do the work to stay open and lay aside pride but speak the truth, together we will eventually move beyond the emotions and blame to a place of shared responsibility and reconciliation. This was what I experienced last week, and I was humbled and instructed by the journey.
It does make me wonder though, I wonder if it would have been so easy in another culture? South Africans have been on a truly remarkable journey, less than a generation ago the nation suffered a type of systematic rape, since the end of apartheid, the journey of truth and reconciliation and the task of rebuilding trust in a traumatized society remains large. But the theme that keeps coming through is the remarkable resilience and capacity to forgive, the desire to rebuild relationship and to keep going with a smile.
We returned from our trip a week ago and during this past week I have been exhausted and very crabby; I have even earned the nick-name ‘Tiger’! But there have been moments when I have been present enough to shift to the place of humility where I know that I have nothing of worth to know or share apart from Christ’s redemptive cross and grace, and the strong eternal love of the Father; in that place nothing else really matters, and I am constantly amazed by grace not just from my Father but also from those around me who are just like me.