Saturday, September 9, 2017

Sabbath Thoughts: Resurrection, Tears and Steve Biko

I don't know what it is about his face, but every.single.time I see a photo of Cde Biko, it reminds me of my late uncle. My absolute favourite uncle (Though to be fair, I only had two uncles that I saw every December in the Transkei.) His firstborn daughter was my absolute favourite cousin and bestest best friend in the whole wide world.

They died.

Driving from the old Transkei coming for a wedding.

I will never forget driving out to places like Prince Albert, Leeugamka etc looking for their banged up car. I will never forgetting finding that smashed up Mercedes Benz with blood on the seats. The image is seared into my brain. The sorrow at their immense suffering before they lost their lives, the physical pain my surviving cousins and aunt had to deal with. My uncle alive at first, trying to get my cousins out the car but losing strength, losing life, "Andisenamandla." (I have no more power/strength.)
Looking at my two cousins and my uncle in their coffins and wishing, wishing so hard that they would wake up. Just open their eyes and wake up and make the world beautiful again.

That pain takes my breath away when it comes to mind. Which happens a lot when I look at Steve Biko's face, amongst other triggers.

Yet it happened in 1989. So long ago.

And this week we come to the commemoration of the abuse and torture and murder of Biko, who I believe would have made an upstanding and outstanding president had he been given the chance. And I think of the pain his family went through 12 years before 1989. The pain his descendants go through today. They were deprived of a loved one in a painful manner too. You can't ever forget, and the pain is forever. Though you learn to handle it so it does not overwhelm you.

God will wipe away our tears. Tears, therefore, are a part of this life till the King comes. They will never stop flowing. This week a friend was talking about how she almost feels sorry for me because (in her words) I'm a "true introvert." Which means, I keep to myself, don't go out and get loud, stick to a few tried and tested friends, but more importantly, I focus on THE BIG ISSUES. And the BIG ISSUES are generally sad and worrying and upsetting and painful. And she wondered how I cope in this world that is full of sorrow, grief, landslides in Sierra Leone and flooding in India that the media doesn't care much about compared to those in other wealthier countries, family and friends' suffering... Her worry is that I obviously feel a lot. And deeply.

But the up side is that I can also rejoice A LOT when there's good news. I can be happy with the happy and cry tears of joy at the fortunes of others. And that, that is what I look forward to at resurrection time. The hard parts, the tear-causing parts will exist no more. The sadness and grief caused to me and to others will no longer exist, so even if I still keep my introvert nature, there will be no thorns for me to grieve over. Only the fresh, sweet-smelling roses. There will be no manure needed for them to grow and bloom like is needed now. No need for a refining fire. No 'hard' lessons needing to be learnt.

Just joy.

Just beauty.

Just happiness.

The resurrection of our loved ones, especially of those we thought we'd lost for eternity but who we pray did meet Christ like the thief on the cross, will take away the depth of the pain their families feel today. Whether they will make it to heaven or not, the pain we currently feel, the internal tears we shed over them, over Bantu Stephen Biko and Raymond Zwedala, will no longer flow. There'll be too much joy, so much joy that it will overpower and overwhelm the pain that was.

Shabbath shalom, folk. The pain will end. We will find eternal rest for our sorrowing souls.

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