November 07, 2021 by Kgalalelo
Sometimes our lives can become hectic because of different responsibilities that we have.
I had to take a day off from work to accommodate my children’s school schedule one Friday. I thank the Lord that my children are in the same school otherwise I would have been all over the place. I know a few parents who have kids in different schools for various personal reasons. I also went to a different high school than my siblings’ and mine was the furthest and so, I had to use the bus. My eldest brother’s school was closer to home and thus he could walk to school while my other elder brother’s school was at a different location, a few kilometres from my school. We therefore took different busses and arrived home after school at different times.
My eldest daughter plays squash, and she had a tournament that Friday afternoon at 15:00 to 19:00 p.m. which carried on to the following day, Saturday, between 8:00 a.m. to 17:30 p.m. My youngest daughter on the other hand had a prize giving event at 9:00 a.m. on Friday and I had to be there prior. Only one parent could attend the ceremony due to Covid-19 restrictions, and I chose to go instead of my husband who had been present at the previous occasion. The school never announced how long the ceremony would take which involved four grades, three to six. Most of the learners received achievement certificates while a few received trophies and medals for their participation in other external activities where they represented the school. As a result, the programme was packed, and we had the choir entertaining the parents in-between the sessions.
Prize-giving took an hour and a half and finished off at 10:30 a.m. and we had time as parents outside the chapel where the ceremony was held to chat and congratulate our children before they went back to class. My daughter came as well, cheerful, hugged me and handed me her certificate and then told me that she had forgotten some of her books at home that she needed for class after long break. I had to drive back home to fetch the books for her, a task that was not in my schedule for the day. On returning, I left the sack with the receptionist who promised to call my daughter via the intercom as I needed to get refreshments for my other daughter at the mall for the tournament as well as dinner. By the time I looked at my wristwatch it was almost 13:00 p.m.
Since the school came out at 14:00 p.m., I decided to drive back to school and await both my children. I had a laptop with me and a good book and so could keep myself busy for an hour while I waited. All squash players had to be at the venue at 14:30 p.m. They were playing against another school a few kilometres away and so drove there immediately after school to make it on time. I had already packed extra pairs of clothing for my girls as I knew there wouldn’t be time to go home after school to change. I was well prepared with food and clothing including jackets in case it got cooler later.
I stayed at the squash courts with my daughter until all the parents had arrived with their children and because I wanted to watch her play. She had the opening game at 15:00 p.m. and just when the tournament was about to begin the lights went out. It was load shedding! Our electricity supply as a country has been constrained for years now, causing the country’s power supplier to initiate load shedding intermittently where power is cut off in some areas for a period of time while supplying to others to avoid a total blackout of the entire city. It would be a disaster if all of us had to sit in the dark at the same time. It is difficult to come to terms with the situation but until more power stations are erected according to experts, load shedding is here to stay.
Anyway, I left my daughter with her friends at the tournament and went home for a while. There was absolutely nothing that anyone could do including the organisers. Everyone had to wait for the power to return and then start the first match. My only concern was the possibility of the tournament ending late because of the interruption caused by the power cut. I was intending to go to church immediately after the tournament with my children as we had a service that evening at 19:00 p.m. I gave myself thirty minutes leeway as a minimum if all went according to plan, meaning, if the match started on time. The chances of that happening were getting slimmer with load shedding, but God works in wonderful ways.
I arrived home to find that my area was also load shedding and I had to make peace with that and so relaxed. I waited for my husband to return from work, have dinner and then went back to the tournament at 17:30 p.m. My husband was to go with friends to church at 18:30 p.m. and I would find him there whenever I could get there. The tournament was already at an advanced stage I discovered on my arrival as load shedding didn’t take too long. I sat outside the court with a book to read to kill time as my daughter’s last match was at 18:30. The games were right on schedule and it pleased me. I knew right then that as soon as she had completed her game at 19:00, we would make it to church on time for worship and it was so.
Our timing was perfect as we arrived during praise and worship as intended. The church was jam-packed and how wonderful it was to be in the presence of the Lord with brethren right until 21:30 p.m. Everything had gone according to plan and when the service had ended my husband joined us, said goodbye to friends and we went home, and my day ended.
The next day, on Saturday, my husband and I had to attend a funeral at his hometown, 65km away. A friend’s father had died peacefully at home at the age of 84. As painful as death is to those who remain behind, dying in that manner is coveted by most people. Nobody wants to struggle, in truth. Everyone wants to go quietly. So, my day started at 6:00 a.m. with a shower, then waking the children up to bath, then have breakfast and then dropping off our daughter at the tournament again at 8:00 a.m. The youngest was with us whom we left at her grandfather’s place with her uncle.
We were late and only got there at 9:15. What was key for me is that we were present. We had to do school duty before we left but were determined to travel to the funeral. The church where the funeral was held was full and we remained outside in the tent that was erected to accommodate the overflow. We stayed there listening from the outside for the remainder of the service. It was very hot on that day and the sun was blazing at the graveside. You wouldn’t manage without an umbrella which I had with me.
On the other side, even though the tournament was ending late in the afternoon, our daughter’s last game was ending at 14:00 p.m. and we had to be mindful of that pickup appointment as well, and God was good to us. He knows how to juggle everything in the air all at once. After the funeral, we couldn’t just rush without greeting everyone and so took time to do so and then went to fetch our youngest daughter who had been having a good time with her uncle. We stayed a bit with the family and left at 13:30 p.m. The grace of God was with us as we connected with everyone and then arrived on time to find our daughter waiting for us as the match had just ended. Ours is indeed a good God. He can make the sun come to a standstill while you finish everything you need to do (Joshua 10).
I’m not sure about you but funerals are exhausting, every one of them. They sap the energy up and worse if it is too hot it is double the fatigue. I’m of the opinion that the tiredness is as a result of the heavy energy of grief which drains us. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid them as we must support each other during that time. You need to be surrounded by the people who love you and whom you love. Others even argue that as soon as they eat food from the funeral, they have an upset stomach. It is probably the same thing, the condition in which the food was prepared.
Someone once said that we don’t live for ourselves alone but for other people. We live for our children, our families, friends, and every other person we have a relationship with. My weekend was about others and not about myself. It was about my children and friends and I have a wonderful companion, my husband, whom we are walking this life together to do all these things. In that way, the load doesn’t become too heavy because we have each other to lean on, but more than anything, we have God walking the path with us and guiding us.
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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