This and that – Reflections

During my teenage years I seriously considered priesthood. I am not sure what attracted to it but it was something I thought about a great deal.  I spent 6 years in a missionary school in the hills of Chishawasha and greatly admired the Jesuit way of Life. Of course I enjoyed the music and dancing in church a great deal too.  It was an incredible period in my life which I met some really great people, some of whom I still remain in contact which.

 The parish priest at St Mary’s Anglican church in my hometown in Cranborne, Harare, once asked me if I would consider being a priest. He was very serious. The Diocese  needed more priests. The old priests were retiring and too few people were joining the priesthood. I told him I would think about it but I am not sure I ever got back to him.   I went as far as being a server in church which was a  great experience. I got incredible insight into the church’s doctrine and got to understand why we Anglicans did  things the way we do.  Looking back I am really glad I did not become a priest. I am pretty sure I would not have lasted in the field.  It would have been too tough and demanding for me given my restlessness and sense of adventure. However,  I met the most influential people in my life in church, they practically changed the course of my life.

Crossing over the border to South Africa several years ago was a life changing experience. Away from the familiar faces of family and friends I believe I was able to discover who Bruce is, what Bruce is about and what Bruce is searching for in life. It has not been an easy process at all. Many mistakes have been made in the process and I have no doubt that many more will be  made. In the past I had spoken out about several things which I really had no idea about, things like drinking alcohol, going to nightclubs to mention but a few. In my books these were all vices, case closed!  Out of simple curiosity I tried drinking wine for a few seasons and at some stage was going through two bottles a week.  The neat collection of empty wine bottles also drew curious comments from visitors and guests.  I drank wine too fast and the effect was obvious. I would be drunk after just one glass. Now being a person who likes to be in control, getting drunk was not amusing at all.  I felt light headed and I did not like this sensation at all.  In the end after trying to master the art of drinking wine I had to concede defeat. A friend advised that I should let the wine massage the palate but I had no idea what he was talking about. You need to start some things a little early!  You cannot drink wine the same way you drink softdrink. I went back to my tried and tested fruitjuice and so far it seems to be working well.

THE BEAUTY in the CHANGE – I have seen the changes in my friends over the years. The subject matter of our conversations had changed considerably over the years. From discussions about careers, cars and trying to outdo one another we now discuss family matters, finances and deep spiritual matters to mention but a few. The issue of retirement seems to come up more and more often. Well we cannot stay young forever. We will not fight the process of ageing but rather embrace it and enjoy it.

NO JUDGING – One of the lessons I have learnt is not to judge anyone.  I have learnt to leave judgement to those who will judge. A few days ago I read somewhere that if God has left it right until the end to pass  judgement, why should I? This argument made perfect sense to me. Looking at it from another angle at this stage I cannot think of any benefits accruing to myself or the other person by passing judgement. Since I stopped passing  judgement on others I have not seen a decline in the quality of my life at all. It also appears more people are prepared to confide in me than before. I believe I need to clear out the log in my eye before I start stressing about the speck in someone else’s eye.

DYNAMICS – I have observed first-hand the ever changing dynamics of life. I have seen things go up and down, left and right, back and forth, this way and that way. I have to agree with the person who observed that nothing in life is certain except death and taxes. The things I have seen thus far have convinced me that nothing can be taken for granted in life. I am fortunate to be in this place at this time but tomorrow it could be a different story. I am thankful for each day. Every single minute is precious!

THE PERSONAL STANDARD – In the past I paid particular attention to what others said and I did my best to always give a good impression. To this day I still try to give a good impression in most things I do. However, the motivation and reasons have changed a great deal. Now one of the tests I need to pass is my own personal test. Do my own actions and thoughts comply with my own personal standards. What do I think? Why I am doing it? Is it something that I will be proud of tomorrow? I find that this approach puts me under much less pressure but I still get to enjoy life.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES – I find that motivating and mentoring others is more enjoyable. With my real-life and first hand experiences I have plenty of material to use which hopefully will hold others in good stead. Rather learn from the mistakes of  others than your own. Sadly a number of us still insist we want to make our own mistakes. This approach is not advised.

DON’T BE TOO SERIOUS – In the past I just took life way too seriously. I was preoccupied with too many things that do not make a big difference in the bigger scheme of things.  One needs to relax every now and then. Now I try to smile as much as possible. I try to spread a cheerful spirit wherever I go. I believe I actually have much less stress than before. Hypertension was becoming a real concern at some stage but I know this is well and truly under control now. Don’t be too serious with yourself!

Have a great day and all the best!

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