I have a father

I told lies. I broke tea cups and dinner plates and denied it. I played beyond the stipulated time and would arrive home late from school, then cook up a story of my delay.

I was a normal child.

I had my moments of sugar eating and condensed milk sucking. But I was never lost to being RraEwetse’s child. Often considering myself his favourite child. Why not? Probably my siblings also did. In fact I still believe I am his favourite.

The point is, although I was probably a naughty child, I never for once thought I didn’t deserve my father’s love. I never imagined him thinking differently of me because of my lying and breaking tea cups. Even when he would have scolded me hard. I never had reason to think he loved me any less.

I have a father, a doting father who had a firm hand on us. A hand that ensured we all turned out right.

My song of the week “He knows my name” got me thinking. If I have such confidence in my natural father; If I never lived with the guilt and condemnation from my faults and naughtiness, where did I learn to feel guilty in relation to God? If I had confidence that RraEwetse forgave and moved on, never to remind me again of my bad past, where did I learn to dwell on my sins, leading to guilt and self condemnation?

My natural father’s readily forgiving nature and abundant love, challenged my relationship with a God in heaven, this week. The God who formed my father.

And I asked God to forgive me for this error. The error of unconsciously trusting that the natural can be more capable than Him, a supernatural being. Maybe not in that overt kind of way. But this often feeling of guilt, I was, in a way saying to myself, I was not worthy because of what I would done or not done.

I refuse that. I will always refuse it. I dealt with guilt and condemnation this week.

Lessons from RraEwetse, fallible as all of us, pointed me to a God who forgives unconditionally. The God who forgets my faults, the God who deals with me on a clean plate each day.

The liberation came in the form of my natural father.

I confessed to never again carry the guilt and never again condemn myself. Not that I have arrived home, but because for those who have believed in God, there should be no condemnation. It’s a done deal.

I’m free from guilt and shame. I have fallen many times and many times I have risen. Still I refuse guilt and condemnation. I choose to rise as many times as I fall. I choose peace over a heavy heart.

I’m loved beyond words. I therefore choose to be found immersed in this sea of love. Surrounded by, filled with and drunk in this love.

Come with me.

Push me

I found out its true. When you are open about what you want to do, people, consciously and not, just somehow propel you to excell in that area. Through words, actions, allowing you time, critiquing and even trashing your point of direction. Others, somehow, fear for you, that you reveal too much, you are muddling the waters. The latter often encourage the old fearful and timid you to rise from the comatose, and cower in the old dark corner. I need them in my life, still. ‘For control’.

I was not a hyper active child, I think, and neither was I among the talkative clan. When I came to, l was not who I have become. I do not plan to return.

I can still vividly hear nkuku Mma Isake as I write this, probably while I was still at lower primary school;

“ngwanyana ke wena the o taa nna maaka”, and only then would I remember I had been asking her a lot of questions.
On other days it was “o botsa dipotso tsa sekae tsone tseo”.

Since deciding to leave the cocoon and share my lived experiences, I have also met another interesting group. Those who ask me uncomfortable personal questions.

My interactions on social media are often quite personal, even publicly intimate, if you would, but a lot of me is still to leave the cocoon. Thus, I still, for example, find personal questions about sex and sexuality uncomfortable. I’m however indebted to those who dared me; pushing me further towards my destination, if there is any.

“If your plan is to write a memoir, go all the way or don’t go at all”. That’s me.

“Oesi you say you married at 29 and your husband is your first boyfriend – and you only dated for a year. What happened before that?”

“Nothing happened? I had said

“You didn’t have boyfriends, no sex, nothing?”

“Yes, no boyfriends, sex and all its accompaniments. Sex was to happen after marriage”.

“How is that possible?”

“Umm. That was the only available choice. I guess that’s why”.

One down.

But I never could have anticipated this one,

“Since you got married, have you had sex with somebody else besides your husband?”

Haaaaa😬. Who asks that.

I have a running stomach

20160506_094512I am presenting to a packed hall of about 100 people at Avani Hotel

I am not anxious

Today’s frequent visits to the bathroom reminded me of how, for years now, I have to deal with a running stomach each time I am to lead the church in worship.
I have been singing in our church praise team since I was a University student. Yes, that long. For the early years, I was mostly a backing vocalist.
As time passed,  I joined those who lead the church. That meant stepping out, from among fellow singers and stepping forward to lead.
And I have never found it easy.
I have prayed and fasted and done all that is humanly possible, trying to deal with the anxiety that triggers these Sunday morning bathroom visits. Many years later, I still negotiate, with this call of nature. The only comfort though is that the visits are not as frequent as today’s.  They are usually only about two to three and then I would face other levels of un-sureness.
I find standing in front of the church the most challenging engagement I ever have to do. I often spend time evaluating who I am and what I exists for. I challenge and question my role in this big institution, the church. I evaluate my preparedness and then rebuke myself for thinking that I could ever be ready.
It is a lot of pressure for a mortal if you ask me. But it happens.
I stand there and lead, because after all the evaluations and the prayers, after all the solo and corporate practices; and after all the questions about how the worship would turn out, I have to hold that microphone and lead a packed church hall.
I am never sure which state of mind to engage. I often feel like a pendulum, swinging between floating emotions, never really settling.
It is when the church is over that I return to myself and breathe again – and be grateful that the call didn’t happen in the middle of a song. They never do. In fact the calls often end before I leave for church (putting my Sunday delay in context here)
I am a bit weak now from today’s many visits to the Bakgatla house. Pray for me, pray for the many Sundays ahead. Maybe your prayers could bring to an end, Sunday morning visits, I have, for now, embraced as a part of me.

Temper tantrum, this face😬

I think facial skin has a temper.

Otherwise what explains its, sometimes, violent reaction to new products. Coming with pimples blazing and unrepentant patches of dry skin scattered recklessly on the once, seemingly, obedient face.

And I think some parts of the body, like the stomach, very ably take advantage of this temper tantrum tendencies.

Eat anything the stomach believes unacceptable. If it does seek to leave immediately, using the opposite route, it fights through the face; sweat, itches and all the ugliness it fancies.

Or maybe the facial skin has ADD. Maybe it needs psychiatric attention😬

From my future

I am sitting at the balcony. It’s a beach house. The only sound is a faint laugh  from the couple sitting, with their feet in what I think is cold water. They have  been there since I got here in the wee hours.

It’s a chilly morning. 

My kids are at graduate school and my husband has gone for a walk with a  group of men from the neighbourhood. They do this every fortnight. It’s a “men connect” , my husband would say when I beg him to stay in for a chat. 

 “I need this, Oesi, I need some manpowerment”‘. And  he would give me that  ‘whatever’ look.  
My husband is adamant that since I began writing this book, I had become too overprotective of words, even tensing up at their ‘careless’ use, or attempts at new creations.
I argue my case. 
I am a student. I am learning to write through writing. And the best support, besides coffee, is the use of a proper language, using tried and tested words. 
We don’t seem to agree on this one.  
We need to relax and enjoy life, he says. Work life made our lives too rigid, he argues. I agree, but not completely.
Yeah, here we are, waking  up to two of us and going to bed the same. We cannot always fight. So today I let it pass, “manpowerment”. I love you, please come back for a chat. 
It’s a lonely life. The house is too silent, sometimes so disturbingly quiet I cannot even concentrate. We are back to when we first started.  No child, all grown up and gone. What remains are the walls and us. We try to make the best of it though. But some days are hard. There are moments I want my babies back in the house. I miss their unkept bedrooms and the upside down kitchen.
I miss telling them to clean up after themselves. I want to check their homework books and this time I promise I won’t give a disapproving look when they struggle with a simple sum. I miss you babies. I miss your frantic calls from the school office,

“Mama we have been waiting for a long time, nobody came to fetch us”. 
I miss that you would trust me with your lives. That even after some discipline, you would still come back and call me “mama”. I miss your flocking into our bedroom in the mornings. I miss the insistent requests “mama may I please shower in your bathroom, please please mama.”
When did you grow up?