Can I go Home?

Playing in graveyards, pretending we’ve found heaven. Tears blind me again today. I vaguely see a man and I know it is my Saviour. He comes to shelter me again, today. He continues toward me because I can no longer stand up,  &  with arms wide open He takes in my brokenness. He takes me in and with love tells me; “You are mine. I will love you always. I have set you free”.
Pain finds a fresh home in me each morning and He knows I will not stop crying until the day I leave this earth.It is here more than ever, I’m made aware of my belonging to another place. My soul cries “Please may I be with you away from here. Now. Please.”

Soul Friends

What a year. I’ve been back in the hometown for a year this month. What a crazy time! Its ridiculous how good its been. I definitely have had one of the best years of my life. I am thankful for the time and the people that God has blessed me with.

I soon turn 26 and I’m filled with much gratitude.

I’m most thankful for Christ’s ongoing work in my soul. Without God’s work, I would have watched the year pass me by, with dead eyes.

Things are irreversibly different. Particularly on the front of community & friendship.

I thought I understood what it meant to love a friend until I was shown shameless, self-sacrificial love. I thought I knew how to care for people, until I was shown that caring continues beyond hurtful words.

I’d never dreamt that spending time with people could bring me such deep joy and happiness. I would never have guessed, that while we’re all still so broken, Christ’s giving hands and heart would be serving me over the year through his people, my friends.

When I think of these friends, I’m reminded of the early church in Hebrews. When I picture our laughter and moments of great despair – I am contented.

When I reflect on the ever-present struggle of continuous bashing from the world, I praise God for friends hands to hold and hearts to share.

When I consider the wondrous cross and all my scars and shame placed there, I want to run out and make more friends in Him who first showed me real friendship. To Jesus who walked a road with a cross, so that my soul might be set free from myself.

To my dearest friend Jesus, who first caught my tears as he showed me the truth of my heart and this world. When the teachers words “a chasing after the wind” rang true in my heart – I was lifted by my dearest friend into life.

Oh God – how my heart has become light in your rest and comfort. My Lord who keeps his sheep safe, I thank you for your people who are my constant light in a selfish & angry world.

To my friends, you make my heart deeply glad.

Hello fan,

Social celebrations

September 04, 2017

Hello fan,

First, a big thank you!

Whenever you  look to me for a dash of self-validation – I tug at that neediness and manage to exacerbate the void that has existed in your soul since the day you were born.  

Sure,  you use me to  keep in touch with your ex-colleagues and new friends, but we both know it’s mostly your insecurities I’m pandering to. When those likes,  hits and follows come in too few, you feel so low. When they roll in strong, you’re on a high.

Then to your other kin…. It’s amazing that you insist on putting up such ‘defiant’ resistance to my cunning ways. Don’t you know you’re playing yourself? Your self-righteous absurdities have me in laughter.

I don’t need to post to affirm myself” or “I’m so much wiser for not self-obsessing with a flurry of pic’s ‘n tweets.”

Tut Tut, you fool.   I have you too.

Your incessant scrolling sings a cowardice song of arrogance.  You spend hours subtly wrestling with self-worth of the worst kind, while applauding yourself for never posting a thing.  

You sit gazing at your air brushed acquaintances and all the hollow festivities you never experienced. Trawling for hours, hoping to feel anything real,  you find joy in mocking those who are scared and lost because you too are scared and lost.  

When your significance finds its home in the eyes of men,  you’ll be forever tormented.  You’ll know nothing of peace as you ride the waves of obsessively comparing.

How laughable to you both.  The one,  who sighs at the thought of losing a follower who never cared – and the one who sits as an arrogant, deluded authority of the human heart.  

Lots of love,

SM

**may Christ help 

Image

Coffee & Wifi in #TheBay

I’m baffled at how many auto internet connections I’m privy to. I could walk from one side of PE to the other  and connect to at least 17 coffee shops [and about 6 homes]

I’ve claimed the guilt badge of “outstaying-your-coffee” . I know my presence (& subsequent internet usage) has actually cost most of the coffee shops in PE…

A huge SORRY to all the local bistro coffee shop owners, if you’re reading this.

If it helps, I’ve also been in boardroom meetings discussing how value-adds, like wifi, can drive turnover. My guilt at abusing your establishment is heavy laden. It’s also the reason I invite a lot of my friends out to dinners at your establishments. A small way of giving back to you, what I know you’ve lost. A small way of allowing me to sleep better at night.

I’m certainly not the only one who has bought into the huge cultural movement that is “WIFI & COFFEE”, or “CONNECTED & BUZZING”. Its convenient, so why not? There are great things happening through individuals scattered across the face of South Africa, diligently tapping away at a MacBook, or , in my case, a Lenovo.

I thought I’d give more back by talking about my best places. They seem like a very big part of life at the moment. I’ve had great times alone and with loved ones at my best three coffee shops.

Here we go.

  1. Charlies Pizza & Pasta 

Its likely that if I am not at home, I’m here. I spend more time at Charlies than at home and for good reason. They are geared for laptop carrying, coffee-consuming-view seeking plebs like me. With a position on the 2nd floor, they also have a ridiculous view of the sea. A barista who prepares a mean

They are geared for laptop carrying, coffee-consuming-view-seeking plebs like me. With a position on the 2nd floor, they  have a ridiculous view of the sea and most of the NMMU students are there cramming for a final exam or over indulging in Car Park Johns craft beer selection. With an awesome barista who prepares a mean cappuccino and a team that minimises guilt staredowns  – they are my utter favourites.

  1. Urban Espress – Donkin

Newbies on the block, this coffee shop opened towards the end of last year in one of my favourite suburbs in PE, Central. With an eclectic history and a steady revival of entrepreneurship, this area reminds me of Maboneng in Joburg. Its where local vintage bikes are sold, a recording studio lives and people submit tax information.

Central is like a dysfunctional hood that leaves you excited and expectant.

The coffee here is really the focus of the whole show, with a limited menu and a maximised wifi & coffee experience. It feels like you’re in a small wooden box in the middle of a forward-moving concrete jungle.

Im not here as often as Charlies but when Im cranking out anything from 8:00 – 14:30 midweek, its definitely a consideration.

  1. Angelos Cafe – Summerstrand 

I don’t think Angelos has increased its menu price since 2009 but I’m not going to harp on this point. The fact that they have been around since I was in high school suggests they’ve got their business mix right.

With this store being the second one in PE, these guys are very cool and very affordable. There is something warm and minimalistic about their decor but the view in Summerstrand is the clincher.

With this store being the second one in PE, these guys are very cool and very affordable. There is something warm and minimalistic about their decor but the view in Summerstrand is the clincher. Ive been there so many times and just been so happy at the nearness of the sea. Its a few metres away from the sand.

The Summerstrand joggers strip goes right past the restaurant, so there is always some people watching and coffee drinking happening. Its busy but not chaotic and they have a nice size short.

There are others. Friendly Stranger, Cobblestone Bistro & Bakery, Angelos  Cafe Walmer, Vovo Telos, Grass Roof… but the three above offer a special combination of people, price and product that have me abusing their wifi more frequently than the rest.

Bloggers Block

Why don’t I blog anymore?

It is an easy and complex problem to solve. Its easy, because technically I just don’t sit at a desk and type. Its complex because there are things that prevent me from not sitring at the desk, rambling away.

Some reasons I don’t blog:

  1. too many new people leaving no time for thinking
  2. too much reading causing a spiderweb of disorder 
  3. my brother laughs at the fact I do blog
  4. I know the one guy who will read this 
  5. My sense of humour broke
  6. I always think; is this God honouring ? (interesting)
  7. My minister has my blog link
  8. Everything has been written about
  9. It seems a fairly self-absorbed thing to do
  10. I dont know?
  11. I wish I knew.
  12. There are things I can say that I can’t take back 
  13. Who really cares!
  14. It adds no real value? (arguable from the intangible point of view)

If I do a quick thematic analysis, we see a small pattern occuring here. We can group this into two areas: “Other peoples opinions” and “No perceived value

Under the category of other people’s opinions are points 2, 3 , 4 , 7, 12.

Under the category “No perceived value”: 8, 9, 13, 14 (14 seems obvious enough)

The problem seems to be that I am fearful of what others might have to say of whatever I write, and that I don’t think anything I have to say has any real value (or it might but its already available in some format on this earth to them).

The fearful part is easy to navigate for the very real fact that very very few people will ever read this stuff and if they did and had some other thoughts on it I doubt they’d express those thoughts.

The greater area of challenge is that of adding value and having something to say. I sort of get annoyed with people who have something to say about stuff they shouldn’t really say much about and I’m not an expert in anything other than me – which itself is often debatable. I could blog about a lot of things but I’m in no way the best person to ask on most of those matters. These areas include but are not limited to:

  1. food
  2. exercise
  3. fasion
  4. business
  5. faith
  6. people
  7. cars
  8. pets
  9. writing

the list could go on…but I’ll spare you.

I use to think I could be a great writer. I believed with 1,7% of my being that I was really meant to think and write. Do and write. Live and write. Exist and write. There’s something lovely about the idea of sharing something meaningful, even if only to a handful of people.

Contrarily (and similar to the writing I have done), there is something shameful about half-baked ideas and watery writing. Or, maybe very good ideas but overly fluffy writing. Sort of destroys the real meaning I think.

Anyway, until I find something of value to say and overcome the anxiety of others knowing my opinions, I’ll wander  wonder around.

IMPORTANT: guide on how to chop an onion

Firstly, like my brother, avoid chopping onions at all costs. Buy these guys pre-chopped or get your naive friend to chop one for you. If you must chop them then go in with goggles and read this post a few times. Its brutal.

Lets get into the details. The work. The art.

Did you know that for every pizza made, I’m almost sure, most of the time, an onion had to be chopped. If we plot this on a chart we will see a positive correlation between pizza creation and onions chopped.

Even more importantly – someone had to chop that onion, unless you bought that thingy from Verimark that dices all veggies in under 2 seconds. If you have that device, feel free to stop reading this. Although if your Verimark thingy breaks………….just saying…….

Here are the steps, in what I think is the right order:

  1. Retrieve an onion.

If you don’t have one of these, chopping becomes almost impossible. Your local convenience store should know and be able to provide you with one. If they offer the purple version, do not be alarmed but simply explain that you are not a chef at a 5 star boutique hotel.

  1. Get onion home safely

The distance between the purchase point and home present things like: robots, people, corners, wild animals, texting while driving. We need to be sure that you get home. You and an onion need to be present for successful chopping to begin.

  1. Understand that pain will come

This isn’t funny. Onion steam makes you cry. Chop 1 lets off the onion steam which will make you cry. *note that people who do not cry when they chop onions are not human. You need to leave the house asap if you’re in the company of a smiling person chopping an onion. Leave.

  1.   The chopping

Here is a link to Gordon Ramsay chopping an onion:

Gordon Ramsay Chopping an Onion

I want to leave the grind work up to the pros. I’m more of a pre-onion expert because I often get my brother to chop onions for me.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this thought:

You’ve pretty much gained two critical life skills through this post.

You can chop an onion and you’re aware of the risk. You can also spot non-human life, simply by getting them to assist you with chopping an onion. I explained what to do when you encounter someone who doesn’t cry when chopping an onion. 

So, thanks for being smart enough to stay informed. At this stage my blog isn’t taking money, because, although this type of advice deserves remuneration, I’ve seen what happens to under-prepared onion choppers.

They end up as weeping wrecks and after this post, it would be a crying shame if that were to ever happen to you.  

A week in review

Sure, technically the week hasn’t ended. Technically, we’re on day 2 of a 7-day affair. It is Tuesday right?

Either way, all these technicalities mean nothing to me, my dear reader.

I have decided my week is done and I am now reviewing it.

What exactly I am reviewing beats me.I am grumpy and unable to shout at anyone around me for the simple reason that there is nobody here. So the next best solution?

Review my 24 hour week & gather some semblance of social nicety from it.

So;

Thingy #1 – The week has been weird because for the last four days I have felt like I’m living out a Thursday. Do you know that feeling? Repeat days? Thursdays seem to bring with them, a sense of having rounded off another (almost) week. I have been feeling that false satisfaction for 4 days straight without having done much at all.

The concern is, it’s a matter of time before my brain gives me four straight Wednesdays. What then?!

Also #2. Decaf coffee. I could be wrong (haha sure), but its bound to have played a part in this Thursday brain jam.

#3. (sighhh) 3 reminds me of Wednesday.

This foggy brain behaviour [as noted above] lead me to assess (fairly poorly because I can’t get out of my brain) what I could do, to counter the Thursday loop. Under no circumstance did I google it because when you goole these things you’re directed to see gurus, snake charmers, clean out your closet or start the banting diet process.

Maybe those are the answers. I, however, am looking for a more cost effective, instant remedy.

  1.  Go for a walk.  Tested and brain was resistant to change
  2.  Less coffee. hahahahahaha
  3.  Eat better. hahahahahaha
  4. Sleep better. hhahahahahha

Oh wow.

Shucks.

Ok folks, I think I see what the problem is here. I’m actually pretty relieved I made that quick list there.

I’m clearly not walking far enough, re. #1.

That certainly encouraged a new found perspective on whats happening here. I’ve been depriving my mind and body of walking.

Thats a simple fix.

Im required to take more  footsteps, and I’ll be out of the Thursday fog for sure.

With that solved, let me go rustle up my usual breakfast of a litre coffee and 700 grams worth of donuts.

 

Sweet sweet (sigh)

Oh well whaddya know. I neglected writing again for a while, didnt I.

Between all the things that have taken some of my life hours, I forgot to take some time to simply squee and scribble a bit of junk. I’m caught in a reflective mood at the moment and we all know reflection makes for gorgeous, nonsense in a blogpost!

So, some great nonsense has taken place in my life recently. What has been 4 months in Port Elizabeth now feels like four years. Is this a good thing? Some great people studied the effects of time and our minds. The outcome seems to be that its not good or bad, but relative. Good to know.

I remember the day I flew in, thinking how odd it was that I wasn’t flying back to Joburg. Now I sort of think – its great that Im not flying back to Joburg but I wonder how all the great people in Joburg are. This is for two reasons.

  1. I spend an incredible amount of time with people now
  2. Joburg, in my brain is synonymous with some less-than-great moments
  3. Sometimes people in PE are very aware of only PE stuff

4 months in and I suspect the reality of me back in the city, a changed life, new people and a generally slower pace of life have caught up with me. Im sort of thinking, wow ok I am in PE now. Wow, some stuff in PE is ridiculusly great and some stuff is kind of awful.

We’ll focus on the great stuff because we should. My only rant will be Point #3 on my previous list, there at the top. I suspect that this is part of the charm of the city so its not all round a bad thing. It just can, sometimes feel as though you forget there are entire continents beyond the borders of PE. Whole chunks of land in existence, independent of this place.

The lovely things have vastly out-weighed the weird or frustrating things. The people I have met are great. There are two specific people I am so glad to know the way I do now! Look at that hey, some real friends who are new and great and awesome. Its also a trait of PE, that things do tend to revolve a bit more around the people, friends and crowds not the activities. There are fewer activities here. People get creative and you land up playing games and building puzzles more than fine dining or mall trawling.

So then there is walking (running a close second to family). You can just walk by the sea, or into the sea. Nifty right? I didnt think this would land up being in my top 1 things to do in the city but it has. Walkng times are like deep breathing times. You can stroll, stare and wonder about all sorts of marvellous things. A thing I often marvel at is the crane things at the harbour. When it is 18:00 in the evening and the sun and clouds are the backdrop  – it looks like a postcard. I think I must make a postcard of this image. Its lovely.

Having mom, dad and junior around is nothing short of amazing. There were many moments of missing them in Joburg which have vanished. I get to see them and laugh and shout at them often! What a blessing that I often forget. It would be so difficult to leave those people. All three of them with their own greatness.

I suppose, I’m back here for reasons known specifically to God. Its a learning curve inand an education in trusting in Him more and myself less. Joburg was great and its an old thing. I am grateful to be back here in a new season with Jesus, some cool people and new things!

Squee 🙂

Jesus is God. Jesus is man.

God will use any and every point of interaction between you and another human to bring glory to Himself. Whether you get to see that, or currently know that, is 100% irrelevant to it being the truth. (both generally and for the point of this post).

As Christians, this is not to say we need to suck and remain confused about how to bring abstract things to a practical reality for people. It’s so important because that is how the world unfolds before us; in practical little steps of existing. There is a necessary relationship between doctrine and the hours between 8:00 am – 17:00 pm. sometimes its even wiser to reject your theories and look at your actions.

We say a lot of things. Possibly too many.

So sometimes its healthy to look at what exactly is is you say you believe and then stretch yourself to see whether you believe it or not. That goes for any single human being searching for anything real or authentic at any point in life.

Having just started the book of 1John, and studying the first 4 verses – I was reminded, through one of John Pipers teachings, about the practicalities of what we say when we profess that Jesus is God, man and eternal. Not to ruin the beautiful words of Piper:

excerpt; “Eternal Life has Appeared in Christ”

Many are willing to believe in Christ if he remains a merely spiritual reality. But when we preach that Christ has become a particular man in a particular place issuing particular commands and dying on a particular cross exposing the particular sins of our particular lives, then the preaching ceases to be acceptable for many.

When God Becomes Man . . .

I don’t think it is so much the mystery of a divine and human nature in one person that causes most people to stumble over the doctrine of the incarnation. The stumbling block is that if the doctrine is true, every single person in the world must obey this one particular Jewish man. Everything he says is law. Everything he did is perfect. And the particularity of his work and word flow out into history in the form of a particular inspired book (written in the particular languages of Greek and Hebrew) that claims a universal authority over every other book that has ever been written.

This is the stumbling block of the incarnation—when God becomes a man, he strips away every pretense of man to be God. We can no longer do our own thing; we must do what this one Jewish man wants us to do. We can no longer pose as self-sufficient, because this one Jewish man says we are all sick with sin and must come to him for healing. We can no longer depend on our own wisdom to find life, because this one Jewish man who lived for 30 obscure years in a little country in the Middle East says, “I am the way the truth and the life.”

When God becomes a man, man ceases to be the measure of all things, and this man becomes the measure of all things. This is simply intolerable to the rebellious heart of men and women. The incarnation is a violation of the bill of human rights written by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is totalitarian. It’s authoritarian! Imperialism! Despotism! Usurpation! Absolutism! Who does he think he is!

GOD!

End of excerpt

So, you’ve got to think about that because now it’s closer to home. Someone in the SPAR queue, might say to you: Eden…you’re telling me God became a man a while back? He then died on a cross for us. A cross made out of a real tree that someone chopped down.This person has also always existed and has no beginning? There was no beginning?”

And I would answer yes. Yes person in SPAR who I am talking to, I am saying I believe that. He could have chosen to appear now in SPAR and die another way for us if he wanted to. I know he has this whole living thing under control though (He is God, which sort of helps that). Oh and person in SPAR, by the way, he is actually here now (another crazy thing I believe) so if you want to know him you should talk to him. He hears and knows and likes talking to people.

I think its important to take the word (absolute truth), and talk it out in a simple practical statement to yourself. A paragraph that is basic and summarizes what you believe. Our lives must be grounded here on earth as much as it is necessary to spend some time getting grounded in the abstract. Know what you know.

Supporting lovely track which ties in way too well with text: Song “Here Now”