Friday 15 November 2019

15 Seconds on the Soft Shoulder

I’ll cry if I want to
Every once in a while I give my eyes the routine maintenance of giving the tear ducts a flush. There is no switch to set off the channels that bring water to my eyes.
By a deliberate act, I might chop onions and that is hardly a task I enjoy, for years, I used a mandolin and then I found Spar does diced onions, I guess the efficient rather the lazy part of me decided I had hit the gold dust of cooking ingredients. Most of the time, the onions go into the cooking pot rather than the frying pan, I store the diced onions in the freezer and when needed, crack the bag on a shelf and pour in what I need.
Sowing kindness
I started the evening with a Facebook post that talked of a hungry boy who asked for a glass of water and was given a glass of milk. He had only a dime and asked what he could pay for the glass of milk, the lady answered that her mother told never to take money for an act of kindness. The boy thankfully blessed her from his heart.
Decades down the line, the lady fell seriously ill and was transferred to a city hospital where a consultant was engaged to monitor and treat her condition. He saw where she came from and on checking on her, realised she was the lady who gave him a glass of milk, many years before. He dedicated himself to her wellbeing and care until she was well. Her hospital bill came to over $28,000 which she did not have.
The consultant had intercepted the bill and added a note before having the bill presented to the lady. She read the bill and then the note, all it said was, “Paid for with a glass of milk.” The tears welled up in my eyes, how kindness gets repaid, you can never know.
Stories that move the heart
The annual charade of the BBC Children In Need is on again, this charity has raised over £1 billion pounds since 1980 for disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. Gosh! I miss Sir Terry Wogan, but I switched to the channel and it was being presented tonight by Ade Adepitan and Tess Daly.
There are so many stories of kindness, hope over adversity and the overcoming of infirmity, human strength and resilience coming from young kids who have faced cancer, life-changing injuries and all sorts of crises, yet, none have a sense defeat but are living examples of grace, love and fortitude.
Each story told is a miracle of our humanity, those who suffer and those who succour bound together in the refrain of that song, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”
I have been blessed by kindness
In my life, I remember the many who have come into my life in times of need, of great adversity and difficulty, friends and strangers alike who found the common cause of human kindness and unconditional love whose acts towards me have been to carry me, unconcerned about the burden, to the questions that might have crossed their minds, they have answered back, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
What a blessing it has been for me to have means and opportunity, not necessarily to repay the kindness directly, but to others. To each and many, I hope I never have to faint, but be girded with much more strength to say, “They ain’t heavy, they’re my brothers, my sisters, my fathers, my mothers, my aunts, my uncles, my nephews, my nieces, my relations, my friends, my neighbours, my community, my people, my humanity and whatever diversity and inclusivity I am blessed to be part of.”
My tears on the soft shoulder of love
I have shed many a tear watching acts of kindness, things that bring happiness and joy to others, to ease the pain, pacify the perturbed, demonstrate the amazing and incredible, the whole celebration of humankind. For the kindnesses I have received too, my tear ducts have opened like sluice gates and I am not afraid to cry, it can be a wonderful release and expression of our humanity.
Maybe I have found 15 seconds on the soft shoulder, I know one shoulder on which I could cry for as long as I want, he is the one I love, and we hope to soon be together again.

Courtesy of the William Kentridge exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town.

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