I’m Traumatised

A few years ago in my last year of school something happened which has traumatised me ever since. I had a cat. A very beautiful, playful, extremely energetic kitty cat. One midday I was sitting inside playing a video game. I remember hearing a car hooting outside, but I didn’t think much of it. But then my mom received a phone call saying she was run over in front of our house. It seems our cat crossed the road, saw a car, wanted to turn back, and was hit by this second car. I still curse that driver who did this to her. I remember her lying there – dead. Or was she dead? Her eyes had blood coming out of it, and her tongue hang out of her mouth. I really hoped she was dead, rather than paralyzed and slowly dying.

If my previous cat was my best friend, then this dear one, Millie (Russian for “cute”) was my daughter. Because I lost my previous cat, Leo, I appreciated every day with Millie. Honestly, each morning I thanked God for her. But what struck me was her being killed in the day. Not during the night, but in the day: right there for my eyes to behold her dead body lying there. The following day after school my best friend and I buried her. I still remember seeing the blood in the street for a few days afterwards. Luckily the rain washed it away.

Later the same year my mother wanted a new cat. I didn’t, for obvious reasons. But over time I’ve grown extremely attached to this one as well. Her name is Espi (shortened for Esperanza, which means Hope).

But I’m traumatised.

Every. Single. Time. for the last three years now, whenever I hear a car hooting outside, I am afraid Espi is run over. I cannot rest until I see her alive.

Today, just around twilight, a car stood outside for a long time. Damn those damn people always stopping outside our house for no reason! Damn them all! Everytime I see a car outside I look for Espi to see if she’s alright. This time I couldn’t find her. My mother was jogging, so I looked at her phone to see if she has a miss call – perhaps Espi is run over and somebody called her. A missed call from an unsaved number! Where’s Espi? I went out the front, came back inside and searched the house, went out the back, and still I couldn’t find her.

But when I came out the front I saw her little eyes looking at me. So I just picked her up and hugged her fat little tummy while she struggled to get loose.

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By The Babe Unborn by Chesterton Explained

If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air
To warm me one day through,
If deep green hair grew on great hills,
I know what I should do.

In dark I lie: dreaming that there
Are great eyes cold or kind,
And twisted streets and silent doors,
And living men behind.

Let storm-clouds come: better an hour,
And leave to weep and fight,
Than all the ages I have ruled
The empires of the night.

I think that if they gave me leave
Within that world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me
Of selfishness or scorn,
If only I could find the door,
If only I were born.

G. K. Chesterton

This is the most beautiful poem I know. And once you understand Chesterton’s philosophy, it becomes so much more beautiful.

If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air
To warm me one day through,
If deep green hair grew on great hills,
I know what I should do.

Chesterton had a “fairy philosophy”. It sounds very mystical, but it is actually very logical. He thought – and it makes a lot of sense when you think about it – that a fairy land presents the way things might to be. In this fairy world the ocean may be red, the skies pink, trees short and grass as long as mountains. You might have flying whales and wingless eagles. In a similar vein, in our modern world, science fiction would also be a good analogy. In a good sci-fi film you might find a planet with three blue suns! And two moons! The people of this alien planet might be living in purely crystal palaces, and only live off acid rather than water. I remember reading a series of books called the Sage of Seven Suns. In it the author had aliens living within gas giants, and other aliens within stars! How peculiar it must have been for them to find aliens living on the surface of a rock.

A reflection on fairy land (or Dune if you wish) makes one realise that in a very real sense, we are living in a fairy land. Our oceans are blue! Isn’t that amazing? It could just as easily have been orange. Trees are tall! Wow! I thought they are always short! In my world there are a lot of flying pigs, but in your world you have a rhinoceros. Ask yourself, doesn’t a rhino look rather… out of this world? It really looks like it shouldn’t exist, should it? We live off bread and not wood, our money consists of gold rather than spice.

When I first encountered this idea of Chesterton, that we are living in a fairy land, I considered it to be merely some romantic idea of a long dead journalist. But the more I think about it, the more I realise how true this is. This truly is a fairy land. I mean this in a very real sense.

Yes this fairy land is broken, just as Sleeping Beauty was poisoned, the giant killed, the pigs eaten and Goldilocks homeless. Most fairy tales have a condition: “He shall be a beast until he finds true love”, “You, a disrespected daughter serving your coldhearted stepmother, may dance the night away with a prince… as long as you are home by twelve”. It is this somewhat odd or peculiar condition which makes fairy land brittle. Something so beautiful but so breakable. For Rapunzel (in the Disney movie), her hair can heal as long as it is not cut. In our world we can live forever as long as we don’t taste the apple.

Return to the poem again and you see the child dreaming of earth as a very real fairyland. A place of wonder. A baby’s eyes are always full of wonder! Everything is to him a new creation. Just as we would be stunned at seeing another moon tomorrow night, this baby is stunned that there exists a moon!

In dark I lie: dreaming that there
Are great eyes cold or kind,
And twisted streets and silent doors,
And living men behind.

Let storm-clouds come: better an hour,
And leave to weep and fight,
Than all the ages I have ruled
The empires of the night.

This baby is not some naive optimist. He is aware of fairy land being ruled by the evil stepmother. He is a realist. He knows of the evil in the world among all the beauty. He is aware of goblins and orcs, and Sauron, living next door to Elfland and the Shire.

Yet still he will take this broken creation over the darkness within which he lives, within the darkness of his non-existence. He would much rather suffer though some periods of pain, than not having had known fairyland at all.

I think that if they gave me leave
Within that world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me
Of selfishness or scorn,
If only I could find the door,
If only I were born.

If only they will allow him to enter fairyland he would be good through every moment of it. If only they will allow him to see it. He would never be mean, or ungrateful. If only he is born.

The message is one of beautiful, clear minded hope being expressed by the most innocent of all beings: a child, among a world of blind, cold and ungrateful people.

P. S. This short piece by Chesterton on “worshiping” babies is both insightful in further appreciating the poem, and beautiful in its own right.

Another Day in South Africa

 Very short stories on true everyday events in this damn country

Somewhere in 90s

My Grandmother’s brother tied up in his home after losing a fight against three robbers.

2010

Someone breaking into my uncle’s home, clubbing his labrador to death.

2012

My friend and I (both 16 at the time) mugged along the road, held at knife-point while they took our phones.

2016

Someone smashing my friend’s car window, hitting him in the head, taking his stuff.

At our residence people’s cars were broken into three times.

February 2017

People broke into my friend’s home at night, taking everything.

Someone stole my pensioner grandfather’s car battery out of the car. Arguably the thief waited for us to go buy a battery so he could take the car. I waited while my grandfather bought a battery. The store owner where he bought it ripped him off, suspiciously.

Me and my best friend held at knife point to hand over money.

April 2017

Someone breaking into my car, leaving a hole in my car door and a gap where the radio used to be. Oh and the spare wheel and GPS are gone.

June 2017

Two people broke into my uncle’s friend’s house, tying up his family and taking everything. The whole night long his 18 year old daughter was asking them, repeatedly, when they will shoot her.

The black man who sits next to my mother in their work’s bus, accused my mother of racism. She won the hearing, but the written synopsis twist everything against her, saying things like “She says scientifically black men are smelly”, even though that’s a blatant lie (the conversation was recorded). She refuses to sign this document and might end up in court for refusing to do so.

 

Other events

I’ve heard about a number of farm murders the last few weeks. Usually the family members are tortured to death. This is an epidemic.

 

 

I’m a Wannabe

“Describe yourself in one word”.

Mmm… It would either be “Christian” or “Wannabe”.

“Wannabe” as in “I think I am smart, but I’m not. I think I know so much, but I don’t. Astronomy is an interest of mine, but really I don’t know anything about it. I consider my self educated in politics and philosophy, but really I’m a fool.”

Honestly, I am. I had like one semester of philosophy, the politics I study is pathetic in its content, the astronomy “interest” of mine is based on knowledge I learned from children’s books and youtube videos, etc.

But oh wow I am so smart! I am so intelligent, wise, humble and good!

And then I read Romans and I am crushed. Or I read C. S. Lewis and I touch a depth of soul and knowledge I can only dream of. Or I read of Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla and I feel like a pathetic school boy.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

On Beautiful Things – George MacDonald

From the book At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald

‘Well, please, North Wind, you are so beautiful, I am quite ready to go with you.’
 
‘You must not be ready to go with everything beautiful all at once, Diamond.’
 
‘But what’s beautiful can’t be bad. You’re not bad, North Wind?’
 
‘No; I’m not bad. But sometimes beautiful things grow bad by doing bad, and it takes some time for their badness to spoil their beauty. So little boys may be mistaken if they go after things because they are beautiful.’
 
‘Well, I will go with you because you are beautiful and good too.’
 
‘Ah, but there’s another thing, Diamond:- What if I should look ugly without being bad – look ugly myself because I am making ugly things beautiful? – What then?’

When is it Just to Kill?

I understand murder to be the taking of an innocent life without just cause. Shooting down a hijacked plane which would otherwise crash into a building would classify as just cause. Aborting a baby because it has some cancer which will kill both him and his mother is just cause. Killing German soldiers to rescue Jews during WW2, even if they don’t participate in any torture, is just cause.

But what about more domestic cases? I watched two films this year which made me really consider this.

I don’t know the name of the first one, though I hope someone can tell me what it is. It concerns a husband and wife adopting two boys. They were very abusive to the children. They always viewed the older boy with suspicion, limiting his freedom, verbally and physically abusing him, downgrading him and eventually sending him off to live under other parents. In the meantime the younger one, though he loved his brother, was mostly respected, though also controlled. After the older one was sent away, they adopted a new child. Then they started treating the second child, the one who watched his brother being beaten, with the same disrespect, abuse and control as the first. Every aspect of his life was being determined by them, with constant psychological and physical abuse.

Then this boy had to make a choice: he could either leave his foster parents like the older child, or… You see if he leaves, then he leaves his now younger, innocent brother to the same curse he had: abuse and eventual replacement. He can’t just leave him. What could he do? So he murdered his foster parents.

The second film whose name I also forgot, though I think it’s something along the line of “Family Sins” concerned a mother who adopted a number of children through the years. She would abuse them, let her son and husband rape them, and teach them how to shoplift. In one case, she locked up a woman in a basement for years at night, allowing her out during the day to do chores, while psychologically convincing her that it is for her own good. That poor woman’s daughter was one of the victims of the house as well. She eventually got a child while in the house. Both she and her mother were also raped by the house woman’s husband and son. What could she do? If she leaves, no one would believe her. Everyone who wants to leave is intimidated by threats to stay. Can she leave her mother? What about her child? Eventually she took a chance, got out, and amazingly managed to convict them by getting former victims to confess in court.

At one point in the film her brother was tied up and beaten by the woman and her son, with the intention of killing him, because he wanted to leave. The girl who got out eventually saw this and managed to convince them to leave him alone. At that moment I thought: “I would not hesitate to take a blunt object, knock out the son and kill the woman right there and then. They can lock me up, at least we’re free”. Would that have been fair? Would that have been just? Later in the movie while the woman is sitting in jail before the court case, they show how she already controlled a number of inmates whom she allowed to beat up her daughter locked up with her. If this woman was sent to prison, wouldn’t she be a bad influence in there as well? What, then? Solitary confinement?

She was eventually sentenced to thirty years. Her son and husband were sentenced for less. Is that just? Wouldn’t it have been just to kill those three? Or to execute them? Would that have been just?

You and Your Friends

You know, the part of me that cares for you want you to have many friends. But another part of me that cares for you don’t want you to have so many friends.

“Ah, she’s going through a hard time. Maybe I should cheer her up.”

Then later:

“No, look at all those damn friends she’s got! Hundreds of nominal ones on Facebook, tagging people left, right and center. She knows everybody at her residence, being always active there. Each time I walk her there, she greets tonnes of people. She doesn’t need me.”

Do you know how much it bothered me a while ago how everyone has got so many friends, while I’m mostly stuck on my own? I got two or three great ones at home, but not here. Yet I’ve seen what people like you do. You have all those friends, yet when the shit hits the fan it seems as though I’m one of those few whom you actually rely on.

Why do people do this? Everybody seems so friendly and outgoing, yet eventually I always find them to be lonelier than I.

This happened before: someone with so many friends asking me for my help when things get difficult. I’m not prideful. Like I said, to a degree I’m glad they have so many. Yet why do you come to me? Can’t any of your hundreds of friends help you? Why me?

No, Girl, You’re Not Beautiful

You’re not. Or are you?

A few years back I was graduating from High School and, of course, we had a graduation event at some random restaurant. Every single girl from our grade was there. And not a single one was pretty. You know why? Because they physically looked so darn plastic.

That make-up. That dark eye-shadow. That white stuff on your face. That lipstick which looks like paint. That dress which takes up a whole room. How the hell is that pretty?

Damn it! The most beautiful girls are those in a jean and a nice shirt. Those whose only “make-up” is having lively, clean hair, a smiling face and a radiant personality. That is beautiful.

Blind Christians and Saving an Atheist

I sometimes speak of this Christian society I used to go to. The post I spoke about it the most recently is this one. If you have time, look at it first. But it’s not vital for this post.

So earlier this a year a friend of mine in my politics class read an allegory by Friedrich Nietzsche. He did this as part of a philosophy assignment he had. This allegory really bothered him. It is about men having killed God. Look it up.

For a few days I could see him really wrestle with his own soul as he was in the difficult position of having to give up a belief in God. He was never a “born again” Christian, but he nonetheless went to a superficial church and believed in God.

I can only imagine what that must feel like. To accept the supposed reality that you are all that you are. And the impact this must have on a believing family. The emotional turmoil. I had a deep sense of empathy for him.

While he was in the process of doubt we spoke about God and the Bible and I gave him a few videos to watch, mostly testimonies and a debate or two. Recently I also lend him a book.

But all of this is very shallow. I cannot just lent him a book or tell him to watch a few videos and expect him to become a Christian. No. If I honestly want to help, I should take in interest in him and in his interests. So I started watching debates by Christopher Hitchens and I’m busy with one by Sam Harris. All of this, the videos I recommended and those of Hitchens and Harris are more philosophical and ethical.

But this week I was wondering what exactly caused him to lose his faith. I was under the impression that it was philosophy, hence I watched these videos and read C. S. Lewis and Chesterton and was planning on reading Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche.

Then yesterday happened.

After class as we walked to his car, he talked about evolution. About how a lot disciplines draw from it and that those disciplines in themselves prove it. He also talked about how it allows biologists to make predictions and progress – for instance in vaccines – by using evolution as their lens. He said a lot more than this. We talked for probably half an hour, but most of it was me listening to him.

I did not have any answers for two reasons. Firstly, a few years ago I shut down my interest in the creation/evolution debate. Back then it seemed like a bunch of highly intelligent people with doctors’ degrees disagreeing, both highly educated Christians and atheists. What sense do I have to think that I can discover the truth for myself when these highly educated people cannot even agree? Also, I saw this debate as incredibly diverse: I would have to be an expert on biology and astronomy and physics and religion and geology and and and. Otherwise if I am only an expert on one,  I would have to believe those who are experts on the other topics. While I’m writing this I realise this to still be a valid point. Even evolutionists still have to take the words of their comrades on faith.

Secondly, I thought he was doubting God for philosophical or ethical reasons. Although he did mention evolution before, I did not suspect it to be the main factor. I did not expect someone studying politics and having philosophy as an additional module would be convinced of atheism by biology, a subject not at all in the humanities. He did research it, but still as I’m writing this I can’t help but doubt the seriousness of his self-study. But what the hell, he looked seriously at evolution and I have not yet. So I’ll give him that.

So I was rather pathetic in my questions. Only later on did I think of one or two things which I should have said. But hindsight is an exact science.

What worsened all of this was my own doubts about the earth being young. You see, a few years back Kent Hovind and his videos made an immense influence on me. Knowledge of his videos are perfect for the discussion on evolution, and I’ve watched them countless times. What held me back was the age of the videos, being more than a decade old. I hoped that Kent Hovind would catch up with the last ten years of research and make new videos, but it doesn’t seem as though he does. Because of this I was beginning to doubt the narrative of a young age. And I know that to accept and old earth is to invite a lot of problems.

Thus, when this friend of mine mentioned biology and the age of the earth and how Christians reinterpreting a six-day creation are compromising, I had to agree. There is to be no compromise. My own doubts prevented me from defending the young earth theory.

All in all I guess to him I seemed clueless, with good reason.

As I was walking to my flat shaken with this defeat I passed by the church where this previous Christian society of mine gathers at certain times. I left it a few months ago for other reasons which I think I explained in the post I referenced in the beginning of this one. If I didn’t, I’ll explain it in another post.

As I walked by I had a flashback of two events concerning this fellowship. The first time I went there I met a lot of new people. On that day I mentioned Kent Hovind’s videos to one of them. That guy brushed Hovind off as a “doing christian”. You know, a kind of Christian who actually DOES something. They think he believes in some kind of works salvation which is absolutely not true. It was the way he simply brushed off this whole young earth thing which bothered me.

A few months later I was talking to one of the friends I made in this fellowship but has since gone to another campus. When I talked about how amazing it is that God can be proved in science, philosophy, theology, history and a lot of other topics – in other words, that one does not have to have blind faith – he told me of a time when he was arguing with a nonbeliever who kept asking for proof of God’s existence. This friend of mine simply kept telling the man that he has to accept Christ. My friend, and this whole fellowship, sees philosophy and all the different kinds of debates on Christianity, as mere distractions from Christ himself. I consider this extremely narrow.

When I passed the church I thought by myself: If this christian-turned atheist friend of mine were to go to this fellowship in seek of answers, they would have given him nothing. They would have had no answers and they would have strengthened his belief that Christianity is rationally indefensible. Their narrowness and blindness would not have saved the soul of my friend.

So as I passed by that church I paused and looked at it. With a very strong anger I said in a rather too loud voice, “Damn you”.

 

Irritated Lately

The last few weeks or months I’ve been extremely passive aggressive, bitter and all round irritated at people.

Small things bother me. Anything taking me away from my comfort zone. For instance, the Braai Friend of mine invited me to sleepover at his house this weekend.

Next week my classes begin again. I am not in the mood to spend my last night of freedom at someone else’s home.

You see this is what bothers me: At home it is basically me and my mother. My mother does not have friends and she is extremely attached to me and my sister. Too much. For instance yesterday while I played a game online with the Braai Friend she sat in my room for a few seconds and when I gestured to her that I want to know why she’s here, she just said that she misses me. I mean hell. I’m in the same house and she misses me.

Or even when she’s is working or when my sister is at home I don’t like leaving the house. I do not like forsaking my pets and my own sweet solitude (in which I watch movies, walk the dog or play my music as loud as I please) to entertain others while they are comfy.

What bothers me is that my friends never consider this. The Braai Friend has a mother and stepdad and oftentimes his sister or stepsisters will visit.

The other friend, the True Friend, is basically the same: Two brothers and a cleaner is almost always at home. And at nights so is his father. He can leave anytime and not leave anyone alone.

Then also my grandparents whom I love dearly: oftentimes in holidays like these they will pick me up and expect me to stay the whole day (they live less than a kilometer away). They are at home where they are at ease. Where they make coffee or watch TV. They will then drag me alone to a bunch of shops and crap.

I did not ask for this.

It is always, with both my friends and my grandparents the same: “If you have time, you have to come over. If you say no, I will take offense. If you leave early, I want a reason”.

That I want to be alone is, for them, inconceivable and offensive.

Why?

I want to have my cake and eat it too: I want everybody to just leave me the hell alone yet still be there when I need them.

Yes. I will die without socialising if I’m alone for two days or more. But I don’t appreciate people manipulating my emotions like this. They manipulate it because I’m constantly analyzing my actions on them. I know how they will react if I refuse to come over. Therefore the selfless thing to do is to do what they want.

If I, for once, do what I want, then I feel guilty.

I hate this.