It's that time of year. The third Monday of the new year, and the longest January ever. Which means we're at our least happy part of the Happy New Year. Even Good Housekeeping says so. Sigh. Natalie made me laugh with her post about it - How was your week? Indeed.
Another friend pointed me a few weeks ago in the direction of Jonathan Jansen's 2013 New Year's post. In case you don't remember it, it was titled My South Africa and he told stories, his stories of returned wallets with not a cent missing, other stories of people in wheelchairs serving the poor, our stories of Mandela out of jail and preaching forgiveness and Tutu saving a necklacing victim. This, he says, is my South Africa. Click the picture to read the famous piece.
It made me think about what kind of world I want to live in. And the stories that may help me define it.
So on this day, the unhappiest Monday of our happy new year, I'm sharing some stories that I love. Stories from South Africa, and from across the pond, that have made me think about life, and how I like it to work. It may not always be like this, but when it is, I can do it.
Here's one about a little boy, his family at Christmas time when he nearly died, and a great outpouring of love and care and support, including this amazing song.
Which reminds me of our local version - little Kiara Mungavin. You can read all about it on her mom Jaci's blog. Here's a post I loved. A Christmas Eve tragedy, a family facing loss and a goodbye to a precious sister and daughter, and then a miraculous and wondrous recovery, a community that won't give up on this little ballerina and her loving faith-filled family. The story continues.
Coming closer to my home now, there's the story of my own sister. Also a story of faith, of a miracle that was years in the making...Lindsay needed a kidney. Both her kidneys have PKD, and a transplant was her only option. We have been amazed at and grateful for so many things...
Starting with God's constant favour, blessing and provision of 9 beautiful kidney donors - all the right blood type and all willing to live with one kidney so Lindsay can live a healthy life. I don't know how or why we were so blessed with these generous humans in our lives, but they give me hope, and inspire me to live better.
Lindsay's daily healing - she has never looked as if she were even sick, trusting her Father minute by minute for good health, and eating well and exercising as much as possible to keep strong.
A transplant cancelled at the last minute in December 2017 (yes we are grateful now), when we all felt this was the miracle, that felt like a door slamming in our faces, but it taught us so much - to wait, to trust, and that God was present in the waiting.
And finally, radiantly, gloriously, the completion of this part of the story, by going back to the beginning. Sandy was the first person ever to come forward and offer Lindsay a kidney, and in a miraculous turn of events, she came back and offered again. This time, the tests were passed, the kidney was transplanted, both ladies are strong and healthy and there are now many happy memories to be made. Lindsay's story is mostly on Facebook, and you can follow it by clicking the picture of Lindsay and Sandy below.
And even closer - the story of a run, a life saved (my own) and another miraculous recovery. Click the picture.
So these are some stories that have inspired me, and kept me believing I can live in a world where strangers (and loved ones) are kind, lives can change for the better, and God can, and does work miracles.
There's one more, and then I want to hear some of yours.
It's the story of a tiny teeny black kitten, mewing softly in the green leafy bushes, found while we were on a run...
He was brought home, scared and alone in the world and I was reminded in great detail, not just of all the cat allergies in our family, but HOW VERY ALLERGIC everyone was. That day ended with me coming home, Nyx in one hand (he really was only a handful) and Allergex in the other. It continued with a trip a few weeks later to the sea (7 hour car trip) with Nyx and family - "He's already been abandoned once, we couldn't possibly abandon him again."
And it continues, with the adoption of Gatsby. These kittens have brought purrs, joy, delight and contentment into our household. They curl up on our chests, in our necks and on our hearts, purring wildly, and we have "lost" many hours playing with them, watching them, telling each other about their antics. Allergies forgotten, cats embraced, we have spent dinner times boring our family, friends and even strangers with the stories of our little kittens. They've been rescued, but so have we.
Now over to you - please tell me a story.
In the comments on Facebook, or even here on my blog. What's happened to you, that has made you grateful? What story makes you glad to be South African, human, alive?
And as we tell our stories, with gratitude, let's look for those moments in 2019.
Happy New Year.