Tag Archives: South Africa

Personal update…

Standard

Following my last post, a few people have felt left ‘up in the air’ themselves about what I am up to! So let me give you a brief update (if you are reading this blog and don’t know me personally feel free to ignore!). If you know me and want to hear more details, do contact me by email. I plan to write a proper email update soon.

I still feel very much at home in Cape Town, and still feel called to live and work there, in fact opportunities and openings seem to be increasing. However I am visiting my other home, London for Christmas and hope to be back in Cape Town in January, February or March depending on a few factors.

My main reason for going to the UK is to meet my new nephew and to await my visa renewal but also to have time to reflect on the first 3 years in SA and on the next 3 years there (I hope!).

My current 3 year South African volunteer work visa finishes mid January and I’ve applied in Cape Town for a new one and wait to hear the outcome. I’ll keep you posted…!

Advertisements

The Mountain

Standard

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The tabletop

The banqueting table of God

The Mountain

Around which, life happens

Above which, streets bustle

Against which, all vistas are set

In relation to which, directions are given.

Wherever you are in Cape Town

You can look up

To see it towering above.

In many cultures and countries

Mountains are sacred

A meeting place with God.

Directing our sight upwards

Above the everyday hum-drum

And hassle of the streets

Above our concerns and cares

Upwards to see

An awe-inspiring constant

As life and death, joy and suffering

Shift as shadows

Around it.

Even when covered with cloud

We are aware that it’s there

Can sense it without seeing it

The Mountain

Proceeding and more permanent than humanity

Rising above the man made structures

Keeping us from over-estimating our race.

A silent but strong prompt

To lift your eyes

To know where your help comes from

To remember the greatness of the Creator.

His constancy

Majesty

Faithfulness

Centrality.

And yet

Unlike the mountain

He isn’t cold, removed

He steps down

Gets involved in everyday life.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

We often need something

To lift our sights

To raise our hope

Wherever we live

Mountain or none.

What prompts you to look up?

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?” – Psalm 121:1

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

A Spacious Place

Standard


table mountain 2

The light here seems brighter

The differences seem starker

Yet mingled in poverty

Hope and kindness shine

As I look to the mountain

I remember from where

My help comes.

As I look out to sea

I remember the vastness

Of His love.

This is my spacious place

Here

There is space to breathe

Here

My soul tells me

I am at home

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

Home

Standard

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Home is where the heart is

They say

But what if your heart is in two places?

Where people I love live.

Sounds painful.

But I don’t feel

Like my heart is torn

Split, divided

It usually feels more peaceful than that.

More full

Even more rich

Than if my heart was in only one place.

When I am in one, I love and enjoy the people there

And when I am in the other, I do the same.

And yet

There is often a little tug on my heart

Reminding me of the one far away.

Tugs of variant force and persistence

Sometimes easy to ignore

Sometimes a bit sharper

Making my heart a little sore.

I try to listen to my heart when it feels that way

And reach out to connect across the oceans

It’s a small price to pay

For the privilege.

I’m truely blessed to feel at home in both places.

Cape Town, the city and community I love

And primary home for now.

London, where family and friends

Also make me feel known, loved and at home.

So I’m grateful.

For home is where the heart is

And I just happen

To have two.

A Time Such as This

Standard

“How do we stand in this blurry line between expectancy and restlessness with an awe-struck sense of peace?”

I really love this beautifully written piece (link below) about living in the now, and sensing what your ‘time such as this’ is right now. I really resonate with the sense of God guiding by ‘the laying down of stepping-stones’ rather than showing the long term picture, by stirrings, ‘nudges, gentle in nature and laced with grace’ and the ‘creaking of doors opening’.

I feel like I can hear that creaking right now, and I’m intrigued to see where the doors will lead. I’m living in the expectancy.

I arrived home to Cape Town today with a bit of a cold. Having had an incredible re-connecting time in the UK with precious family and friends which was such a gift. I am laying low today, not ready yet to re-emerge. But I will be soon, and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.

You can read the full beautifully written post ‘A time such as this’ (which I hugely recommend) here.

Colour

Standard

During our writing workshops this week at the Amahoro Africa Gathering in Kampala, we were given the task of writing prompted by the word ‘table’ and then choosing one word from that piece to write further. This is what I came up with.

TABLE

As I come to this Amahoro table, a place of discussion and conversation, am I really welcome here? People smile and greet me warmly and yet at different times there are things spoken about colonialism with a negativity of damage caused, arrogance flaunted, of lines drawn in ignorance and presumption. There’s conversations of greed in the West and the lack of willingness to share. Do I represent all that to them?

I see all this, I can see it in history and yet here I sit in my own skin, feeling a little ashamed, wishing I was a little darker. Wishing my skin colour didn’t associate myself with so much injustice.

But is there something positive I can bring? Even something positive my colour can bring to this table?

I love this continent and feel more at home in South Africa than in the nation of my birth, a truth about me that a first glance wouldn’t tell you – people only get to know that when they get to know me well. Luckily this is a space where that can happen.

COLOUR

Colour. Bright colours: a rainbow striped umbrella used as a sun shade, a red tomato, green trees, blue skies, painted houses, patterned clothes. Where colour is an indication of life, of joy, of fun, of child-like exuberance.

And yet colour in South Africa seems almost a dirty word. Something that should be about beautiful diversity has become boundary lines of difference, of fear, of pride, of separation, of anger. Lines drawn and scratched in deep with injustice.

As I sit in my own skin, my own colour, I find myself sitting on one side of a deep line and wishing the lines were dissolved.

I wonder how it can happen. Maybe it starts with real relationship, real friendship, knowing individuals until you see the inside of them more than the outside.

Path

Standard

photo2

We each tread our own path

The terrain of which

Varies with the season of life

Sometimes varies daily

A rocky path

with crevasses and boulders

dangers at each turn

Requiring slow and careful steps.

A hand offered to steady us.

A tightly twisting path

can’t see round the corner

no idea what’s ahead

Requiring trust, one step at a time.

A hand offered to reassure us.

A path under construction

potholes to avoid

signs to heed

Requiring perseverance and teachability.

A hand offered to guide us.

A flat path

lined with trees

beside a stream

Requiring gratitude.

A hand offered to meet with us.

A crumbling path

impossible to tread alone

no strength to carry on

Requiring total surrender and dependence

A strong arm offered to carry us.

What’s the terrain of your life path like right now?

What heart attitude does it require from you?

What are you grateful for?

Can you see the hand of God beside you? What is he offering you?

Are you prepared to accept his companionship on this path?

 
Photograph: Hilary Murdoch – path up Lion’s Head, Cape Town.
 
All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013