The Back Nine of South Africa
“Everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.” ~Donald Miller
"I fairly sizzle with zeal, energy, and enthusiasm; eager to do that which ought to be done by me today." ~Charles Fillmore
Blessings everyone. I missed sending a blog last week so here is an update on what's going on in my world. I am officially on the back-nine of my time in South Africa. Thirty-one days from now I will be in Fort Myers, hugging friends and looking for a place to live with my youngest sister. I am a someone who is seriously connected to Spirit – or said another way, deeply connected to my inner guidance, my intuition, the still small voice within me. I always ask to be shown the way – and when shown – I always follow directions. I call it my ‘cosmic clunk’! Once that 'clunk' shows up, all options boil down to only one. It is this ‘cosmic clunk’ now bringing home. My time in South Africa has been so many wonderful things to me but I have concluded through much prayer and contemplation that my home is in Florida with most of you!
It has been quite an amazing 180 days. The first 90 were primarily about healing my body and mind and reconnecting to my Spirit. My hip is completely healed, and I am at peace with the holy-hiccup which was the stroke I experienced a couple of days after the hip replacement. In 2014, I worked as an emergency room chaplain at a trauma hospital in North Carolina. In that capacity, the most challenging work I had to do was show up for individuals and families who landed up in the emergency room because of a stroke. To end up in an emergency room myself, with a stroke, was terrifying! It was absolutely necessary for me to do the work in consciousness to neutralize my beliefs and sort out the truth from a spiritual perspective. Thank goodness, I have done that work and experience the full restoration of my zeal for life.
My final 90 days in South Africa seems to be about feeling lonely for my 'tribe'. I have been re-united with my love and passion for spiritual community. In all of my years of ministry and while serving our centers and churches, my focus and passion has always been on creating a faith-based community of people who truly care for and about each other and the world we live in. The existential loneliness and disconnection that many people feel can not really be resolved by people, drugs, alcohol, or any other distractions. We all need to play with and pray with others. Spiritual growth and development extends us beyond our family of origin and propels into our ‘tribe’ – if we are lucky! I have learned from my time in South Africa that sometimes cultural differences inhibit close connections. Or that those close connections take time to develop. Once home, I look forward to seeing where my love of developing spiritual community takes me next.
I am no longer a reluctant member of the “over 70” clan and I have a much deeper understanding of the need to create connections, friendship, and support systems for this amazing group of people. This is the last quarter, final third or back-nine of our incarnation and an interesting and required experience for most of us. There is no reason, other than a way of thinking, that this time should be anything less than fulfilling, joyful and loving.
So besides healing, being surrounded by all of God’s amazing creatures and my time with Tanya and those of you who came to play at Bush Baby Haven – there are a plethora of wonderful moments to savor for a lifetime.
I leave this coming Tuesday for my final solo safari experience to the Chacma Bush Camp for the 3rd time. Then back for a few days when Susan and Donna, dear friends from my Chicago days, come to play for a couple of weeks. I do my final packing and fly out of Hoedspruit on September 18th, arriving back at Fort Myers on the 19th.
I am sharing photos of Chippy, Daisy and Scruffy with you this week. In addition to the resident bush babies, these three are squirrel orphans rescued by Tanya who are now in residence as well. They came of age since I have been here – and well - I am pretty sure the girls, Daisy and Scruffy, will be giving birth very soon. They are absolutely darling and I will miss them!
It will be quite emotional to leave Tanya and Bush Baby Haven. The South African Bush is extraordinary, and I have formed intimate bonds with many places, people, and animals. Sometimes we avoid making these kinds of attachments because then there is a kind of sadness at the coming apart. But as "A Course In Miracles" says, relationships are for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And it truly is better to have loved and left than to have never loved at all. Our memories of loving are all that ultimately matter. Don’t you agree?
I will check in after my time at the Chacma Bush Camp!
Love, love and more love,