There’s nothing like a natural disaster to knock you off your high horse and bring you down to reality. The reality for me lately has been something I teach my child all the time, that “our privilege’s are not a given and they can be taken away at any moment”. Little did I know that the natural order of things had decided to teach me the same lesson in a much more drastic way.
This last week has been a nightmare for those of us that live in Kwa-Zulu Natal, eThekwini municipality, South Africa. The recent floods have taken over 400 lives and have damaged homes and properties to a point of no return. People have been displaced, lost their lives and lost everything that they own.
When I look at it from my point of view, my home stayed in tact and my loved ones are all safe, but this is not the case for everyone. For people like me, the worst that happened was no water for a week and blackouts over the Easter weekend. For others they have nowhere to call home anymore, they have nothing left. So while I had to learn how to live with collecting water everyday for every day use, and to deal with no electricity, others had to leave everything behind, and in many instances this included their loved ones.
I wrote a little something for myself before all this happened and I went on about how being humble is definitely something that’s easier said than done. I have been praying that my pride doesn’t get in the way, especially now that things are turning around in my life for the better and life is easing up on me. I felt like I had to remember that it takes time to grow and that sometimes I have to throw my pride out the window.
And now, not even a few days later, I have learned that pride is just something that comes with earthly attachments, earthly standards and just wanting to be better or look better than the next person. Pride holds us back from seeing people on every level and respecting them as equals no matter where they may find themselves in life. I know some of you will disagree, and that’s ok, because everything I write here I write from my perspective and you are always welcome to share your perspective. That’s how we learn from each other and how we grow to respect each other as human beings.
Pride has always been a defense mechanism for me, in order to feel like I am good enough I have always needed a title that made me feel good enough. There were just certain things that didn’t pass the test for me and I have felt stuck in a loop with one of those things until all this drama happened. The loop was going nowhere, it just circled around the same story over and over again and I clearly was not learning the lesson because every time I wanted to jump ship, the universe said not today darling. Today is not the day to jump off this ship. This is your ship until you learn how to navigate it properly. Now as frustrated as I was, I now understand that there is still a purpose for my being stuck here in this place and I am yet to fulfill it, but to do so with humility was my challenge. However theses past events have put it all into perspective for me. It has taken me to a place I have never had to endure, I never would want anyone else to have to endure either. I had to see loved ones being displaced but at the same time be grateful that they are safe. It has created a whole new perspective on my life. Listening on the news about a wall that fell on someone and it took days to find her, was just heartbreaking to listen to. My life, my loop, my struggles are minimal compared to what the people around me are going through. I don’t even want to extend this to the rest of the world because that is a on a level that I cannot even comprehend. I can only deal with what has been placed in front of me and focus on what I can do with what is in my control.
So I asked for a lesson in humility and I got exactly what I asked for. I appreciate now what I have in the simple things like running water, heat, and a roof over my head. Things that we take for granted because we have never truly experienced difficulty in the same way others do. My complaints have definitely been put into perspective, although they are still things I need to work on and grow out of, I look at them now from the perspective of “even though I am not where I wanted to be, I am grateful to be where I am, and tomorrow as I grow into who I am meant to become, I will be grateful for each part of the process, whether it be a challenging part or a rewarding part.” Life will not always be smooth sailing, its going to challenge us along the way, but how we face those challenges is the key to which direction our journey will go.
I think my greatest lesson in all of this is that at any given moment everything you have can be taken away, and at the same time if you have less, that too can change over night. Nothing can be taken for granted, especially to those that have plenty, plenty in the blink of a natural disaster can become a pile of rubble and having nothing except the people we love safe and sound is more important than holding onto any material thing. and vise versa opportunities for those that are from humble beginnings can sometimes pop up out of nowhere and change lives for the better. Nothing is set in stone. There are always ups and downs and we really can only face each day as it comes, if we are blessed to open our eyes that morning.
I write this in the hope of reaching those that are letting their pride get in the way of their ability to reach out and do more, not only for themselves but also for others. Take the “I” out of everything and look at the greater picture. Look at the lessons being offered to you from all angles, not just the ones you want to see. Sometimes what we need is hidden in our blind spots, and it takes humbling ourselves enough to receive information from those that can see what we cannot. It takes humility to be a student of life and if we are not continuously learning then we are no longer growing.
Thank you all who have assisted in this time of need for the residents of Kwa-Zulu Natal. We are in the process of repairing our roads, our electrical systems , our water systems and everything else that has been damaged, but most importantly we are in the process of repairing our hearts and our souls from the hurt, the trauma and the pain that we have all had to endure.
Gratitude and love to all those who have taken the time to be there even in the smallest ways to make a difference.
Love and light