Back in Cape Town

I know, I know, I owe you a post (actually I’m working on a couple) about camp.  They’re coming.

But I wanted to post tonight about being back in Cape Town.  Or actually, about leaving Riviersonderend.  Like so many things here, I am torn in two directions.  I was ready to leave RSE, but not ready to leave my family that lives there.  Pieter and Theolene Baartman, and their son Raymonde, who generously and unstintingly opened their home, their hearts and their lives to us, became family to us and we to them.  I miss them tonight.  I can still hear their voices in my head.  I want to talk to them some more.  I want to eat some more of Theolene’s delicious home cooking.  I want to sit in the small living room and watch South African soaps or rugby with them.  I miss them.

And yet we’re having new experiences.  We’re staying at Timour Hall, a 200+ year old mansion.  Our room here is huge.  We had a nice dinner out, fish and prawns, and a nice evening in, trying to get caught up on events at home.  We’re together, and I am, as always, content and peaceful with Martin.  But I’m also lonely for Pieter and Lena and Monde.

I cried when I left them, and I’m fighting tears now.  I am so grateful for all the love I receive in this life.  Part of me stands back and questions–what makes you so special that these people love you so openly?  How do you deserve such love?  Rationally I know, I’ve been told and sometimes I believe it, that I deserve love just because I am.  But those old tapes have their say sometimes too, and especially when I am loved so deeply by people who honor me with their high regard and give of everything they have, I do question what makes me so special.

In my mind, I am just me.  Human, fallible, always falling short of my own judgments and always trying to do better.  I guess I’ll feel like I deserve love when I get to perfection.  Which is a trap, because I know I’ll never achieve it.  So I hold it at a distance.  But then comes along Pieter and Lena and Monde, and I see the love and regard in their eyes, and I struggle with my gremlin mind that wants to make me undeserving.  Sometimes growth is so hard.

So I’m content and I’m lonely.  I am loved and struggling with self-love.  I am happy and I am sad.  But above all, I am grateful.  Grateful to be loving and loved, grateful to be having the experiences I get to have, grateful to be broken open again and again.

Love someone today.

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