Feeling Exposed

I’ve so many thoughts pinging in my head, and making me dizzy …but where to touch down?

“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” Maya Angelou.

Those crippling memories of my first book flop, haunt my mind relentlessly. But I mustn’t dither now, just get on with it, and start again…a small voice prompts…

It was with great difficulty that I tried to cope with my frequent illnesses, over the past few years…finally someone listened. The X-ray called for more checks; osteoarthritis in the lower back. Now that I’m able to walk again with the aid of more amazing pills, I’m going to push through my melancholic/phlegmatic nature – which so easily takes hold – and get up.

I miss my mom. Heaven awaits.

God is sovereign, keep tuning in…

Remembering times of being useful helped too.  So here goes.

I’m thinking of my very first job working behind a counter. Ouch what a come down from my cosmetic buyer role in an office. Now, after my divorce, I was on full display to the public. Completely out of my comfort zone. But it was a job.

The position was in a large departmental store in Cape Town. In the quiet, men’s department. The counter was small with two people handling the whole show. The delightful young man working for a huge American corporation, which sold gorgeous men’s fragrances and treatments. The first company I think to introduce men’s facial and body creams and potions. The very same company I was a buyer for in Johannesburg, so I was familiar with the products. I think also, he was the first man to hold such a role. The other half of the counter was where I came in, selling all local and international fine fragrances for men.

We were a great team. He taught me everything and was super kind to me; treated me like a mom actually. He lovingly hovered around me when customers approached and asked for things I’d not heard of, I gratefully allowed him to discuss the product for me. He was very protective, and always stood up for me. His half of the counter was flourishing, due to his excellent sales pitch. Something I knew nothing of. This young man was talented and loved fashion, and knew what was new and hot off the press, so to speak. He was a gay fellow, who lived with his mom. She taught him to sew, which encouraged him to make his own clothes, a natural for glamour and fashion. He used to help her as a youngster, with all her sewing orders, fitting everything. He was lovely and tall and well built, with a sharp wit and a hilarious sense of humour.

I was so fond of that caring young man. He showed immense maturity and compassion for my lowly situation, that of a single parent with tremendous hardships. And my being an early Christian, I was yet to learn that the trials and sufferings on our journey through life, always teach us something. And, we learn the most at those times. We are focussed yes, but also anxious to overcome it. And with Gods help we do. Provided we stay tuned in to Him who is sovereign, and has allowed the trial to happen especially to conform us to his Son Jesus Christ. My new friend with his genuine care helped build me up again, and was a blessing to me.

Just what I needed.

There were many young black men coming to the counter, who were also keen to try new things. And like me, hadn’t heard of the men’s perfume names.  

I became acutely aware of their shyness and hesitation of how to go about things. New fragrances were coming out weekly and they wanted to be in the know too.

But how could they? If they didn’t even know how to ask for it. I’d notice them standing at a distance trying to read (if they could) the name – or even just to point to the bottles. My heart broke for them, knowing exactly what they were going through. Feeling embarrassed about not knowing something, and never daring to ask, to avoid being mocked or laughed at for not knowing.

I started putting a few testers on the counter, for them to come and pick up a bottle and try it out. Which was a start. Until the managers complained about leaving them out in case of theft.

Then I came up with another idea. I went out and bought a small, colourful tin tray to put on top of the counter, and displayed a few popular and new fragrance testers on it. The customers flocked around gathering information, enjoying the opportunity of trying new products. They soon learned how to pronounce them with confidence and the word spread. We were off!

My sales rocketed to the amazement of all the clients I dealt with. The big cheeses from Chanel came down from Johannesburg to see for themselves. The tiny counter that was beating sales all over the country!  But the colourful tin tray simply did not do! Chanel replaced it with a lovely silver one. So ever since then tester trays became the greatest tools in the Fragrance world.

My ability to sell wasn’t the issue. It’s how you treat people that garners sales.

Jesus taught me. He turned all my pain and humiliation of my past into a many good uses. I recognized suffering in others and wanted to fix it.

Matthew 7:12. …treat people the same way you want them to treat you… I yearned for people to be patient with me as a child, and teach me things I couldn’t understand. But I learned never to ask.

The popular saying, that only clever people ask questions, never rang true with me. 

Growing up in South Africa, of course there was racism. But after becoming a Christian I learned man was made in God’s image. We’re all the same, but many wrongs were committed.

I understood that my prospective customers, had walked for miles, hours even, to get to work. Out of necessity, due to the locations they were placed. Miles away from anything. Public transport was pitiful if not non-existent.  Their home life was nothing like most whites. There might have been a tin bath with cold water, and then have to share with many others in the early hours of a dark morning.

After hours of walking – often running, brought on massive perspiration for which they were often mocked. Their jobs probably demanded being on their feet most of the day doing heavy work, and on an empty stomach.

I was an anxious person growing up, suffering with tension headaches and frightened of everything. I perspired terribly which was most embarrassing, with hideous dark patches under the arms on my clothes. When I started work at fifteen years of age, I soon learned about anti-perspirants and cheaper scents, in the beginning. As soon as I could afford the best quality, that became a ‘must have’.  I understood.

It was only natural my customers wanted a nice fragrance or deodorant. I made sure they had plenty to choose from. They were so proud when they were able to buy something special that made them feel good.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Glory be to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

There isn’t a human experience that Jesus doesn’t know about.

Kindness is like a passport; you’re welcome anywhere.

Picture by Pixabay

BRAND NEW

All what we see in the world today …

Hatred, rudeness, unkindness, selfishness, arrogant pride, haughtiness, discrimination against any nation = racism, disrespect for one another, dishonouring of parents and elderly, lack of obedience to parents, ingratitude to the generosity and help offered by others, and especially by those in the emergency and medical services, refusing to be told or taught by parents and teachers and all in authority, spitting, mocking, vile language, rage, killings, raping, kidnapping, intimate relations with anyone outside of biblical marriage, bullying, cruelty to all animals, abusing animals for money, taking what’s not yours, not telling the truth, destroying property or someone else’s possessions…

Is all evidence of how sinful we are born – with evil hearts – no one taught us this way, it’s the natural progression of Adams disobedience to God. (Yes, Eve sinned too, but she was lovingly put under his protection, and chose to move out of it and fell – taking all mankind with, in the Fall). But we’re not all the same in our sinfulness, but nevertheless, sinful.

When we engage in any of those sinful behaviours, things inevitably go wrong.

Jesus came down into the world to teach us the correct way, the righteous way, but people still wanted their way to be right, they chose darkness.

But God – Jesus – loved the world so much, he took all the world’s sins in his own body, and died on the cross to save us, from eternal depravity, darkness and suffering in hell, so that believing in Him we can become brand new, born again, free from the power of sin.

Nations that have denied parents and schools, teaching about Jesus and disciplining their children to live godly clean lives, to bring honour to them and worship God, have rejected Gods love and protection and grace, and bring on themselves worldly disasters without his help.

Guess what? They blame God! It’s what they choose.

People who love God, love Jesus, love the bible – the Word of God, love their neighbour, and want to help others and be kind and loving. Its natural. It shows we belong to a higher realm, because we honour God who made us and we desire to obey.

Yes, we Christians, still make mistakes in our sinful earthly flesh, daily sometimes even, but we have a Father in heaven who loves us and by His grace he protects us and brings us back to him for repentance, so we can live in rest and peace now, even when things go wrong and we get sick, and even after we die here on earth. We’ll always be in rest and peace with Him for all eternity.

Rejoice in the birth of Christ! There’s no greater Gift!

Ps…for the first time in 7 decades, I have felt free to speak…

Never forget! Bullying and derision is a sin.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

PEACE

MOJO – huh?

Where does that word come from even? A magic charm or spell, power or influence. Probably Africa origin – witchcraft. Oxford English Dictionary.

No way! God created me in his image before the world began. He didn’t leave me to roam around in darkness unaided. Even if I didn’t know it, he was always in charge. When I believed his word, his Holy Spirit guides me. Because he loves me, and protects me from evil forces that do not love at all, but destroy and deceive for their purposes.

John 15:4 ..abide in me and I in you. Apart from me you can do nothing..

Whatever was going on in my life – the circumstances, the upsetting issues, the hardships, the loneliness, the aches and many pains, were all conforming me to his image. I’m to therefore submit and grow with and through it all.

Isaiah 48:17 I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.

When lockdown first happened in February/March 2020 – a back tooth in the upper jaw – broke off and part of the filing with it. Whatever remained felt like blades. Just then all 70+s was deemed vulnerable and had to stay put.

No dental help was forthcoming. As the months dragged on, it chipped away. I probably swallowed most of it!

God blessed me with a new flat within 6 months of my requesting a transfer due to neighbour noise.

So, February 2021 I moved into a tiny little flat with the view of green trees out of all my windows from the first floor. At first, I resisted as didn’t know the area and was afraid that I knew no one.

But what a change from the blaring radios from parked cars outside my window, loud horrible voices on mobile phones, blokes punching each other and falling through the fence, and of course noisy traffic. I had no friends in the building and also no church friends nearby.

God knows I love trees and birds and little creatures, so that’s what I gaze at every day now. Foxes playing together, lots of birds, a family of magpies growing up, blue tits dashing about, parakeets with their beautiful green feathers, lots of crows, a blue crane appeared once, a woodpecker tapping away at a tree stump, tiny robins I love. Plenty of squirrels and fat pigeons nibbling at everything on the trees. And wonderful neighbours who gave me greeting cards when I first moved in. Even the manager of the building gave me a ‘New Home’ card. Little ladies popped by my door to say hello – masks and all. A Christian lady loaned me her ladder to reach the high cupboards in the kitchen. So many lovely changes – I was in awe. God knows best.

It all helped me settle, despite the lack of cupboards in the bedroom and bathroom. And my having to part with a few pieces of furniture because there was no space, and many huge bags of clothes and bric-a-brac. All went to charity who were delighted with everything.

My tooth, after a whole year had finally parted company with the filling that was left and the pain kicked in. I stuck half a pain killer in the hole often. The soonest date I could get to see a dentist was the end of April. Bearing in mind I was a new patient in the area so no rush there. I wasn’t a priority.

A week after I moved in, I had a colonoscopy at St Georges hospital in Tooting. A massive hospital with plenty of restrictions. I was tested of course and had had my first jab. Prep for the op was done at home – thankfully – 24 hours in the loo. My daughter fetched and carried and brought me home. All was well, wonderful medical staff all round. Of course, I had to sign on with new doctors in the area.

Before my dental appointment I let him know how painful it was and suspected infection. He prescribed antibiotics which helped a bit but I needed a second batch to do the job.

The tooth came out with great difficulty – ouch – lovely dentist, so I trusted him. Two injections helped. I was numb right to the throat. It had a long root which entailed a lot of tugging. He asked the nurse for a blade. What? The tooth had merged with the jaw bone. He sent me home with a script for painkillers advising me to keep on top of the pain, also giving me cotton plugs for the bleeding.

At home the injection wore off and the bleeding started – blimey – he also said no rinsing at all – nothing in the mouth for 24 hours.

My new Christian friend offered to buy me some smoothies – I couldn’t put a teaspoon of yogurt in my mouth even, my jaw was so tight. Thankfully I had straws – what a life saver! Isn’t God good.

I lay on my bed after handling the bleeding, worrying whether I’d get blood on my lovely new single bed and linen my ex paid for and my daughter bought on his behalf.

Funny what one thinks of.

I lay on my bed crying – regretting not opting for hospitalization.

I was saying sorry to Jesus – I can’t do this. You hung on the cross bleeding for hours, every bone in your body in agony and your skin and muscles stripped away with cruel whips embedded with bits of bone and metal to rip it open. Holes in your hands and feet – not forgetting the spitting in your beautiful face, and the depraved cries of wicked, jealous, vile people, whom you came to save… and I can’t even handle a toothache!

Please help me I don’t know what to do Lord it’s so sore.

Then I felt my jaw move and I heard the sound of bones creaking, like knitting together – and sudden pain for a second, I was scared at first – then nothing – no pain – then peace surrounded me as I lay there quietly.

Jesus still loved me and was with me …I didn’t mind who didn’t love me or want me, as long as Jesus loved me.

It took a while to return to normal but I could handle it as I waited. This pic, weeks after the extraction, looks weird but not at all painful. You should have seen me with half my face, double in size with various colours of bruising! It looked like I’d been in a punch up. At least my face returned to normal size! I was grateful for masks if anyone came to my door!

Jesus is in control.

Peace picture Pixaby