I have come faaar to be here.
However, if I am not careful, it is easy to feel like I have not done anything “worthy” with my life. Even though the emotional growth is there, conspicuous; I am way smarter and I display emotional brilliance second to none, as a result of my journey-ing.
I need to be sharp enough to pinpoint the wealth I have that does not manifest itself in gold and silver.
Here is a scenario to ponder:
When your loved one passes on, especially when they took care of you / the family financially, often, you will find that they leave having made an effort to have you well taken care of even in their absence. And, those efforts made are highly appreciated, because we can easily see and feel their impact.
But then, if you may, please consider the other extreme:
When a loved one passes on and they did not make plans for you to have, say, a grocery benefit or life policy payout that would have put you and the family in good stead in their absence.
Now I ask: Apart from financial plans, is it really possible to say that they did not leave behind anything at all? Even the intangible?
When my father passed on two years ago, there were many people in the family who thought he left this earth without having left anything behind. Some were angry. And so, that became the narrative that came to be believed. That he left nothing behind.
Two years on, while having a conversation with my brother, we stumbled upon interesting thoughts.
We first looked at the house we were conversing in — my father built it. The cars parked outside, although immobile, he bought them. The memories we so often chuckle at and from which we take away incredibly illuminating life lessons and insight — he created them. The vast knowledge he threw our way with complete abandon, which you cannot find in books or at any school — it was his knowledge. Most importantly, the ability to write this note so eloquently — he had a hand in my being this gifted (although it could easily be dismissed by a simple mind that it is entirely my own talent).
He left me with so much potential that I can make anything of myself.
Is that not enough?
I recently thought about that.
Often, and I think it is unfortunate that we do that, we appreciate more things we can see and touch. We easily appreciate things which make our lives easier without us having to put in any effort at all. When we have to put in some work into realising the gifts we are blessed with, we see them as a curse of sort.
Please allow me to digress and come back …
I find this thought amusing: when another person gives you a very beautiful black carpet, thick and yet smooth in its texture, made of rich material sourced from some breathtaking and storied part of Africa, considered to be sacred even, and when you step on it, it feels like you are falling in, it drinks up your feet, welcomes and devours them — they go into this well of comfortability. Your feet happily nestle in there. And so, from this, you can deduce that it is an expensive carpet and it is possible you (and many other people) would not mind having it.
But then, tell those people that they have to lug around the fifteen metres of the muscle tearing, incredibly heavy, carpet by themselves before they can walk, sit, stand or roll around on top of it.
You might possibly hear, “Can’t I get someone to lift it into the house for me?”
If they don’t find that person, there goes that majestic carpet.
It would have been better if they found it already laid out for them, and, all they contributed was a happy dance on top of it.
When things are not perfectly laid out for us, we often see them not as blessings. Even though they might as well be.
My father was astoundingly intelligent, he wrote beautifully (even though in his long life, I only witnessed him writing anything once. Just once. But seeing him write that short note, it was as if he was making love to that piece of paper. Once was enough), and he had an expansive emotional arsenal — he could easily connect with anyone. Whether they are a lowly ranked professional, a big shot business executive or a person who lives and sleeps on the streets and searches dirt bins for food.
And him being that way rubbed off on me. When I was younger, it was difficult to see that. The gifts he bestowed on me. Then, I was looking at him to lug around and lay out the carpet for me. And that was unfair — I mean, he got me the freakin’ carpet! The least I can do is recognise its value and go on to lay it out for myself.
Because often, it matters less what tools and gifts we are blessed with, and it matters more what we actually do with them.
Through incessant conversations with Muziwandile, I have uncovered the alarming value of the metaphoric carpet my father bought and left for me. And, yes, good news: I have made means to lug it around, however heavy it is proving to be, and lay it out. I am walking on it as I write these thoughts, as you read these thoughts.
So, this is one way of saying, I am coming full circle. And it feels amazing. I wish this feeling on you reading this note.
I am taking seriously things I should be discarding with ease.
Emotional brilliance. My great writing ability. My sleek way with words which always has an emotional effect on people. My benevolence. My devastating eloquence when I speak. My sharp mind. My pure heart. My whole awesome self.
I am thinking more and more about these things. I am thinking about how I came to be this person I have become — what was the process, if any, of my making? Who and what contributed to the ME you are reading?
I think about these extensively because I refuse to be so naïve that I convince myself that I made myself. That I am walking alone in my brilliance, and in my currently difficult journey.
When I paint words on paper — or wherever — am I communicating through my writing some of my father’s genius? Am I furthering the Mahlobo clan? It is their blood running through my veins after all — I feel it makes sense that I am going to lean toward their greatness in the things I do for myself. I carry the genius with me everywhere.
I am making sense of who I am and why certain things happen the way they do. I am making sense of where all this potential comes from and learning to live with it.
I am. I am comfortable. I am powerful. I am content with myself. (Ndimhle. Ndisisponono. Yimi is’khokho la!)
I really have come faaar to be here. To this point.
If I am not careful, though, it is easy to feel like I have not done anything “worthy” with my life. Even though the emotional growth is there, conspicuous; I am smart and display emotional brilliance second to none, as a result of my journey-ing.
My life journey, so far, has been its own reward. It has been as incredibly difficult as it has been rewarding. And with this mentality, I have been able to welcome both happiness and difficulty with the same calm and patient attitude.
My day, my time in the sun, my break through opportunity that will lead me to material and financial success, provided I continue journey-ing forth, is coming. I have never been surer of anything.
It makes me happy being sharp enough to pinpoint the wealth I have that does not manifest itself in gold and silver. So, I journey onward knowing my father left me with mind-boggling and earth-moving gifts (Muziwandile, my brother, surely being one of them).