Thursday, August 2, 2012


A challenge for any one who writes is to synopsize the heart in a short amount of time. 

I have fifteen minutes in this airport lounge before I have to high-tail it to my gate... and catch the plane that will take me to San Francisco.

Ten years ago I didn't have a passport.  Today, going through South African customs I was reprimanded for having only two pages left.  I will have to get extra pages from the closest embassy.

Travel used to be exciting - cathcing planes and going to new countries.  The stamps, visas and permits in my passport were a source of joy and accomplishment in a way: "Look what  have done for God!  Look where I have gone and sacrificed myself!"  It's easy to get pumped up when you see how God works in different areas of the world.   It is nearly addictive.

Today, planes are like cars - I know the different models; the ups and downs of each airline.  They get me where I want to go, and it is always the people waiting for me on the other side that I want to see. 

I have left Mario (my heart, my right hand, my prince) back in Johannesburg and am half-way between South Africa and the USA in Dubai.  Situated in a beautiful country of United Arab Emirates, flying Emirates airlines (my favorite).  The Dubai airport is like a city, similar to the Beijing airport - a hub where all roads come into and go out of in the middle east.

I will arrive in San Francisco and be picked up by my little sister Shari.  I still remember her on the top of the slide waiting her turn to splash into our pool when we were kids.  She was always small for her size, and made my heart leap forward in protection anytime I sensed danger.  Now she has four kids and a homestead in Rescue. 

I will see my daughter, baby.  I will see Harmony, her baby.  And the smallest baby Alannah who is celebrating her first birthday.  The emotions tied up in the last two sentences are incabable of describing the supercharged emotion surroundimng them. 

I will not see Vince, who I need to see and have been missing terribly. 

I won't see the other granddaughters or Joe - I might see David.

I will see my immediate family and we will party for all of the August birthdays among us. 

In the middle of all of this celebration is a place of beauty and comfort, but impermanence.  I am reminded that I am in between two worlds - physically and emotionally.

This morning I pray, as I dash out the door to catch the next plane... that God will grant me supernatural grace to celebrate in that middle place where I have no sure footing without Him.

All of us have our Dubais.....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


The heart, my grandmother used to say, was like a scrapbook.  It held pieces of memories that together made up a wonderful collection of things that made your life unique to someone else’s.  I have learned, over the past few years than my heart has several scrapbooks, making me feel either rich or disjointed, depending on what kind of day I’m having. 
In my South African scrapbook, I have a new page.
Today I turned over my calendar to August (yes,I still have a wall calendar, and I still keep appointments on it).   The picture gracing the top of August was the South African Pied Kingfisher, perched above the water, ready to strike a fish. 
The Pied Kingfisher is found in all of the South African game parks we’ve visited and being a noisy bird, it is hard to miss.  They have black and white feathers and feed by hovering over the water to see motion from an unsuspecting fish before diving (vertically, bill-first) to capture their prey.  It literally takes my breath away to watch such art and beauty in one thing.
South Africa has a way of taking your breath away at the oddest times. 

Yesterday, at the London Olympics a South African swimmer named Chad le Clos shocked everyone to beat American Michael Phelps in the men's 200m butterfly, taking South Africa's second gold medal of the 2012 Olympics.  It was an absolutely amazing moment.   Le Clos had the odds stacked against him, with Phelps leading the race for most of the way. BUT  the 20-year old managed to snatch the win at the last second and on the final stroke, shocking everyone – especially Phelps and himself.   
"Phelps is my hero and I love the guy. To beat him, I can't believe it,”he sputtered during an interview, in tears and disbelief. “You don't understand what this means to me. This is the greatest moment of my life!" 
The only thing more surprising than that moment of his win was my reaction to the awards ceremony. 
I love America.  I love The Star-Spangled Banner and get teary eyes when it plays – ESPECIALLY at the Olympics.  This morning to my surprise, instead of pouting about Phelps’ loss, I teared up hearing South Africa’s national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika.  The only one crying more than le Clos on the podium was Mario and I as we watched it, touched by the swimmer’s incredible feat and added humility... and a strange pride in our adopted home country.
Inside of me, I was that Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika had evoked such a reaction.  That place belonged to The Star Spangled Banner, I thought.  The anthem took my breath away, and I was proud of deClos like he was my fellow countryman.
 Tomorrow I fly to the States – a rich and lucky woman going to see my granddaughter, Alannah,  turn one year old.  I still remember her birth – and in my scrapbook, its picture is one I turn to often.  I go back to my home with love and eagerness.  I will suck up the August and the Mexican food and my family like there’s no tomorrow. 
But know this: there is a new page in my heart, and it makes me tearful and proud to be a permanent resident of the great country of South Africa.