Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Those Waves of Change

At the beginning of the year, I had four garden chairs and a table...

But it has been a rough year for garden furniture.  Well – my garden furniture anyways.  You see, the plastic table and two chairs were stolen about three months back, a feat which left two wooden chairs as they were unable to be hoisted over the fence in a hurry, as they were a little bit heavier than the plastic ones.  Now plastic chairs are not usually high on the list of thievable items of choice, so imagine that those were not the initial target when the plan for theft was being hatched.  
That said, it left me with two chairs, and I was thankful that they were the better quality items of the garden furniture.  The thankfulness stems from a South African tendency to always try and consider the worst. ‘Wow, sorry about your _________ (fill stolen item in blank), at least no one was hurt’ – standard encouragement, albeit absolute bullshit, to stifle the irritation of living in a high crime zone.  So that’s nice and all, but what about my chairs?

So like a well indoctrinated local, I was thankful until a few weeks back when the river came for a visit in the form of a flood ... So while the wooden furniture was too heavy to hoist..., the same wooden furniture floats!
And my thankfulness somewhat dissipated ... 

But while sloshing through the rubble in my goulashes, I found one of my chairs tangled up in the vegetation of the neighbour’s yard, covered with mud...  and there in the back of my mind the urge to be thankful begins to show signs of life...  But no, it was immediately squashed and a basic life question... at what point do we bury the urge for gratitude and replace it with a life draining cynicism that seems to serve the embittered so well? 
The irony of life is that disaster and opportunity are often presented as the flip sides of the same coin.  Disaster is the presentation of a situation in which change is thrust upon people, unasked for and usually unwanted – but generally unavoidable. 

The question is – are we in tune enough to recognise the presentation of opportunity in the midst of it or are we too focused on what we had and the desire to go back to where we come from?  Sadly, embitterment only ensures that the coin is never flipped over.
The problem with going back is that we are assuming that there a space for the ‘back’ in the future; which by its very nature should sound the alarm bells of impossibility in the depths of rational thinking. 

But as human beings we tend to be less then rational and emotionally carry a desire to retreat to a time in which we felt ‘safe’ or at least had an illusion of agency and influence in our world.  
Ironically the life journey, no matter to what point, always begins at its present moment.  That said; I cannot help but wish for the time when the complex boundary walls were once intact as we wait with consternation the outcomes of insurance claims which seem to be taking longer than necessary...

In the mean time, it should be acknowledged that it took the river about an hour to demolish over 200m of infrastructure, a feat which will take probably about six months to recover from.        
So on the flip side of the disaster coin, there is usually opportunity.  It is just that one needs to have the courage to turn the coin over and consider the other side.    

Thus, for the moment, all I can do is simply relax with a good cup of coffee and a clean garden chair while I contemplate what could have been, but wasn’t, in the midst of broken walls, muck, make shift fences, razor wire and plants that are struggling to recover from their unanticipated mud bath.
And when that has been fully considered, take some time to deliberate what opportunity it may provide to change things that we would have been unable to change, if all was intact as it once was...

And six months from now, when all has been rebuilt better than before, I might even be thankful. 
Until then, that niggling gratitude will have to be kept to a bare minimum while I am forced to start each day with the walls down, until that too, changes.