Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it – Helen Keller
What do we do in times of distress? Last week Monday my husband, an Attorney, was driving out of the basement parking lot from Joburg High Court and as he reached the top of the driveway he was suddenly in the midst of a full blown riot. Hammers and rocks were being used to hit his car. Then someone threw a rock through his window, aiming at his head. Nobody does that just for fun, they were trying to kill him.
The rock went through the window piercing the clingshield, hitting him in the head and face, fracturing his cheekbone in a few places. With blood streaming down his face and no glasses on he managed to get out of the situation by driving through the crowd to a quiet street where he was helped by some local shopkeepers.
He has been volunteering in the security field for over 20 years and had a first aid kit in his car so he managed to bandage his own head and called some friends in the security business for help. On the Wednesday he had reconstructive surgery to fix his cheekbone.
What can we do in times of distress? We can lose hope, we can get depressed, we cry, we get angry…. but if we leave it there that would be a waste.
Staying hopeless, angry and depressed cannot under any circumstances help you. It can get you sympathy for a while but not too long because people get on with their lives and don’t want to hear about it anymore.
This is what my experience has been… When you are part of a community people love and care about you. Your community brings you strength during troubled times, they offer to help even when you didn’t ask – and you can ask. People brought us meals because they know what it is like to try and live ordinary life when you are running up and down to the hospital. I didn’t even ask.
While writing this a friend of mine who recently left South Africa sent me a note: Sometimes the strength within you is not a fiery flame that all can see, it is just a tiny spark that whispers softly “You got this”, “keep going”. People offered to come sit with me at the hospital. Every day people phoned, WhatsApped or visited.
We need community. It is so important and such an integral part of any recovery. In Joburg we live behind high walls and electric fences and if we don’t make an effort to be part of a community we can find ourselves alone.
Being part of a community doesn’t mean just sitting there and doing nothing, it means taking part and doing your share. We can all do something no matter what our circumstances are, volunteering our time or our money or our expertise.
If you are not part of a community, look around, find one and become part of one.
Feel the love