It takes a slippery rock, lurking on the edge of a low tide lagoon, to fully appreciate the value of one’s relationships…
An absence of two weeks from my blog post has come about as a result of a fractured arm following a slip whilst on our morning jog. What a nuisance, to say the least! Am beyond thankful that it is my left arm/wrist and not my right, phew! Whilst I am slowly able to peck out a few words one handed, it has hampered my ability to meet deadlines, especially in my new area of work, rendering me a “leave of absence”. This has been a gift, of sorts, as it has given me the time to catch up with more of my dear friends, one-on-one, as the circumstances dictate.
All these challenges are sent to test and refine us. With my “new attitude” of seeking the nugget of positivity in EVERY situation, I have succumbed even more to one of my words: SURRENDER.
Not only has the global pandemic forced every human being to re-adjust, re-invent and re-evaluate, it is also part of the human process of ageing that has taught us the same.
We have had the privilege and pleasure of spending short and extended stretches of these past three months with my Mum in her retirement village, one of many in the little town of Howick in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands. It has been an awakening of sorts and not in the way many would expect.
In the slowing down of life comes a new appreciation for the quieter, gentler and kinder aspects of humanity.
The fallibility of our mortality renders us fragile. Fragility is one of the less appealing aspects of growing older – we all know that old age is not for sissies! But for all the negativity of ageing, the third aspect of my musings, that of friendship comes to the fore.
The community of these “secure living villages” is what drives the less frail to form friendships where history, status and class are no longer applicable as humility tends to (mostly) override snobbery and arrogance.
I have been amazed, and somewhat amused, by Mum (in her late 70’s) talking about getting to her “oldies” for their chore needs, be it returning library books, collecting pharmacy prescriptions or getting to Bible study and doctor’s appointments. Instead of focusing on various aches and stiffnesses of her own, she generally sweeps over them in her compassion for her “oldies”, who are in far worse physical condition than she is.
There are many such angels around the Ambers, who do their bit to help their neighbours to find a little more cheer in their fading years. Friendships are formed and, in the case of those suffering with dementia or altzheimers, those friendships are forged anew, each day.
Of course, the sheer humanness of our design is that of our mortality. The good Lord gifts us each “three score years and ten, anything more than that is a bonus”, as my Dad used to say (We are thankful that he was gifted almost two of those bonus years). This lifespan means that those who have longer on this planet, are often left grieving for spouses and then for friends who succumb before they do. Each time a friend changes their residential address to Heaven, it leaves a gap for those left at the old address. This creates more opportunities to forge new friendships, and so the cycle continues.
In the course of my very minor injury, I have discovered the extent of my own fallibility and frailty but also the priceless value of friendship, mostly in my husband. Darling has gone beyond the normal role of husbandly help with domestic matters as he has had to delve into the more varied tasks of my personal hygiene requirements – drying my right armpit, to name one frustratingly simple task that is impossible with a fractured left arm, who would ever have thought?! Tying shoelaces and clipping bra straps follow right behind the armpit challenge, when it comes to the daily routines…!
What a blessing this time has been, in ways too many to mention, all of which will be safely stored in my memory bank, with much gratitude!