Saturday 23 April 2011:  4 years 7 months on … ADVANTAGE CBD

In HOME AFFAIRS, written last year in March, I discussed how difficult it was for me to manage my “normal” responsibilities as a husband and father against the background of ever-deteriorating physical and mental abilities (and ever-deteriorating service levels in our country!).

A year on, this is becoming my biggest challenge. My physical abilities have deteriorated further, my mind and my short-term memory are playing all sorts of tricks, my emotions are running riot, my temper is explosive and my well-being is at an all-time low.

There are problems at the bank that need to be sorted out, and their standards have gone from bad to worse. The municipality appears to be non-functional and the work on the sewerage pipes that has gone on in our garden (and the accompanying damage to our garden) over the last few months does not appear to get finalised. The car has to go back five times to the garage to have the air-conditioner repaired properly.  The school ignores requests of more than a year, refuses meetings and does not answer correspondence. The home maintenance never stops! The family demands become more.

I have often said that it is easier for me to handle my illness than it is to handle the daily strain of living.

We live in a tense home environment and even the noise from the vacuum cleaner, a strong wind or a wrong word sets me off. I feel as if I am no longer in control of anything – not my environment and definitely not my body.

And all this comes to a head this week just before the Easter Weekend. I decided I needed time out, so when the family left for St Francis Bay on Thursday afternoon, I opted to stay home alone.


We don’t always have to be strong. Sometimes our strength is expressed in being vulnerable. Sometimes we need to fall apart to regroup and stay on track. We all have days when we cannot push any harder, cannot hold back self-doubt, cannot stop focussing on fear, and cannot be strong.

There are days when we cannot focus on being responsible. Sometimes we cry in front of people. We expose our tiredness, irritability, or anger.


Part of taking care of ourselves means we give ourselves permission to” fall apart” when we need to. We do not need to be perpetual towers of strength.

WE ARE STRONG. We have proven that.

Our strength will continue if we allow us the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable when we need to experience those feelings.

Today, help me to know that it is okay to allow myself to be human. Help me to not feel guilty or punish myself when I need to “fall apart”.

Mike Lacey-Smith says:

“We live in a noisy world. It is noisy physically, emotionally and spiritually. Often there seems to be no escape from the barrage of sounds that invade our space and our minds. How often have you heard yourself and other people saying they need some “peace and quiet”?

Blocking out the din from the outside can be hard, but what is harder is dealing with the noise inside our own heads. Irrespective of external clatter, unhealthy and unwarranted noise in our minds can be disturbing and terribly unsettling. We need to find a way of dealing with it by creating some silence in our minds and learning to manage it.

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose”. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Creating the space for quiet is nothing special as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross again says, “There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.”

Once we find that quiet space, we need to use it and manage the things going on in our heads. Noise and silence both are part of our life journey and getting in touch with the stillness and silence within us is a blessing.

So today, find the silence inside yourself and enjoy the peace and resolution it brings.”


So being alone allows me to do just that, some private time for myself and for some introspection. It also allows me more time to sleep and to rejuvenate what is becoming an increasingly weary body. It is no longer just my arms that feel like heavy cement bags – my left leg is also becoming increasingly heavier and I think, for the first time, my right leg is starting to show signs of weakness.

(There’s always going to be another mountain, another uphill battle … is playing on the radio! Miley Cyrus – The Climb)

But, being alone also allows me time to attend a meeting this morning with Justin Hines.

Justin is a young Canadian singer whose song, Say what you will, is currently in the No 1 position on the AlgoaFM hit parade.

He is no ordinary singer! Confined to a wheelchair as a result of Larsen syndrome (a condition that affects the joints of the body), he has been instrumental in initiating an upliftment project in twenty disadvantaged schools in the Uitenhage/Despatch area. It is known as the JustInspired campaign.

He has come to South Africa to see the work that is being done, and also sang this afternoon at Hobie Beach as a part of the 21st annual Port Elizabeth Splash Festival.

His address this morning, and the subsequent responses from school principals, teachers, learners, helpers and the project co-ordinators did not leave a dry eye in the house.

The message is simple: despite our problems (and we all have them – whatever they may be!), we can still make a difference in our world. The Power of One is just incredible if we harness it and channel it into the right direction. I have seen that recently in this school project, and also in the Karoo anti-fracking campaign that I have previously written about.

(The good news there is that the Government, on Thursday, has decided to bow to public pressure and to stop any fracking in the Karoo until proper and comprehensive tests and studies have been completed!)

“Get InvolvED” has been my message on ED is in wED on AlgoaFM. Each one of us CAN make a difference. And it is by giving of yourself to your community and to your fellow human-being that you come to realize just how blessed you are.

Say what you will before it’s too late!

That was Justin’s final song this afternoon that bellowed out over Shark Rock Pier and the Indian Ocean to the thousands who had come to Hobie Beach to listen to him sing.Port Elizabeth again provided one of its best autumn days.

To see the change that Justin has affected in those schools and to see him “rocking” in his electric wheelchair, leading up the young Afro singers and the Despatch School Choir, is truly an inspiration and a wake-up call to those of us who so easily bemoan our lot in life!

In Luke 23:49 we read “All those who knew Jesus personally … stood at a distance to watch”.

All through your life keep watching Jesus. Stay close to his side. Stay within reach. Stay within sight. Hang in and hang on. (Faith for Daily Living)

This is an Easter with a difference. A Happy Easter to you all. And I hope you CAN find your Easter eggs …


If I were to die today my life would be more then okay
For the time that I spent with you
Its like a dream come true
If this was a last goodbye
No more tears to dry
I would say it one more time
Its been more then fine
How could’ve known
How could’ve shown

Say what you will before it’s to late
Say what you will mmhmm
Say what you will before it’s to late
Say what you will mmhmm
If you were to walk away
Know you couldn’t stay
Think of all the times we’ve had
All the good and bad

How could’ve known
How could’ve shown

Say what you will before it’s to late
Say what you will mmhmm
Say what you will before it’s to late
Say what you will mmhmm

All the time that I was holding back
Just trying to protect myself
I want you to know
I loved you more then that

Say what you will before it’s to late
Say what you will mmhmm
Say what you will before it’s to late
Say what you will mmhmm (x2)

If I were to die today my life would be more then okay