Skip navigation

Category Archives: searching

there’s this shocking idea

that the road of folly that leads to destruction

is wide and well traveled

that the vast majority walk this way

a way paved with good intentions

a happy road

filled with pleasure

bulging with easy access


like all things

this shocking idea has another shadowy side

not a nice side

mostly unpleasant

a side not well frequented

few if any find it

and it’s not at all popular

in fact, it’s a side so out on the edge

it’s a whole different road

a road that seems almost to track in tangent

a lonely road

of brokenness and mourning

desolate and empty

bumpy and not marked

there are no signposts

it is not even found on Google maps

actually people don’t find this path

in reality they can’t

instead, they seem to find themselves on this path

usually on their knees

not in prayer mind you

but in pain and suffering

because they have stumbled and fallen

rather, the path calls them

then falls on them

and being bruised and broken

they have no strength to keep on walking

it’s too painful

too difficult

so they stay on bleeding knees

mostly it’s quite embarrassing

bitterness and pain are foul companions


almost reluctantly

they get up and keep walking

the humiliation keeps them moving

it takes time

but eventually they walk

some even run


we’re so full of new ideas these days

but strangely,

this idea has been with us all the time


wandering 2

don’t give up on the fugitive

we need him

though we don’t know it

for without him

we would never know the meaning of moving on


may the refugee in our hearts

keep breaking camp

may we hear him when we clatter

when we clumsily trip and stumble

over his hastily discarded pots and pans


now cold and stained

filled with half eaten meals

leftovers of dreams we once had


to feel his hunger

the burning pangs of a restless heart

is a gift from God

gazing deeply into each others eyes

trying desperately to see

what we can never get to see


what we ourselves look like


reaching out to others

to make contact with ourselves

searching longingly for a witness

to our own lives


a sign

that we are not alone


that in here

we are out there

amongst others


and that they


are searching too


for me birthday wishes are much the same as memorial statements and sentiments at funerals
things are said and felt that are socially sanctioned, which seem to be appropriate. …culturalized memes in dealing with life and death
we say things that are acceptable and even respectful but perhaps we say the things that we would like to be heard said about us rather than what we really feel is true or the reality of the situation
birthdays and funerals may well be one of those things, in this case a ritual, that says more about us than the one we are mourning or celebrating?
perhaps we go to be a part of another’s event but in reality we go to our own event… or perhaps at least a projection of our own?
if we could be brutally honest with ourselves we might just be able to admit that we are profoundly confused by death and life… that we understand neither
most of us will declare that we are sure of these things but often those who shout the loudest do so to cover the deafening silence within
we are vexed by it all… yet we cannot acknowledge this publicly, not even privately to ourselves
so we lose ourselves along with everyone else in a socially acceptable ritual much like mist in a valley of confusion
we stand together in a shared hope and make declarative communal statements as if the louder we speak in unison the more we will determine another outcome in reality and in our own understanding … that perhaps we long to be seen to be known as a significant contribution in life and death, a meaningful, constructive and eventful part in it all
we’d love to be wished well at both as if this act might endorse our validity and cover the mist of the obvious illusion…
so in it we say not what is but what we’d like to hear
we act in accordance with the way we’d like things to be rather than the way things really are
maybe to be honest is unbearable for us to say or to hear being said. … so we tacitly agree to agree for our own sakes
and we choose to celebrate the illusion rather than align to the reality
… and if so, what does this say about us?
what would this reveal about our grasp on reality?
what would it say about our desire in the pursuit of truth as best we know it?
do we really seek after truth, or do we seek after an environment that endorses our preconceived belief systems?
what does it say about ourselves and our belief systems in general? … about the way we choose to place our faith in things?
is this act of communal ritualized faith the way we desperately want things to be like rather than what we deeply fear things really are?
… or is it what we have concluded for ourselves in unsubstantiated hope as the best we can wish it to be … as what we have chosen to settle for as the closest possible link to what we can come up with as a desired reality for our perspectives?
perhaps the reality of it all is that not to play this game of illusion is profoundly unbearable?
… and that it is indeed wisdom to be a participant?
… or not?

The other day the oldest daughter of good friends wrote on Facebook,

“Is it possible to feel trapped inside yourself?”

To which I replied, “Most definitely young lady. In fact, I would be so bold as to suggest that if one does not feel this way there is something quite wrong.  We are not bodies with a spirit – we are spirit – housed or possibly even trapped for a while in a body.”

Unawares to me over the next few hours I was once again to be ambushed by a personal lament I have had since as far back as I can remember.

In my youth I was greatly impacted by the musical “West Side Story” and one of the tunes had a profound effect on me – “Somewhere”

It spoke to me of displaced people. People seemingly born out of place, out of time. Strangers in a foreign world, aliens trapped and stranded in circumstances perhaps beyond their conscious choosing.

Over the years I have managed to draw some significant comfort from the ancient holy writings that speak of the blessings that await those who are aliens and sojourners in a strange land, those who have set their minds on pilgrimage through a dry and inhospitable land. Aliens who are armed only with the hopeful vision in the eye of their hearts of the secret ancient paths that seem to lead to a place and a domain in another realm where there is indeed peace and rest.

Living my life in South Africa as a foreigner and an alien in my own land seems only to have served to illuminate this view on reality.

But I am not totally alone…

There are a few of us out here in the wilderness…

“There’s a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us somewhere.

There’s a time for us,
Someday a time for us.
Time together with time to spare,
Time to learn, time to care.
Someday, somewhere
We’ll find a new way of living,
We’ll find a way of forgiving,

There’s a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we’re halfway there
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there,

Somewhere… ”

Somewhere (There’s a Place for us)
Music: Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim