05 Dec 2013

Five Minute Friday: Reflect

On Friday’s we silence the inner critic. The loudest of all naysayers. And on Fridays we remind ourselves that The Word is for us and loves us and welcomes us.

Your words are safe here.

January will kick off our fourth year of Five Minute Fridays. I can hardly believe it myself.

So in sticking with tradition we’ll be taking December off again – a quiet sabbatical.

And we’ll be back to writing wild and free starting Friday January 3rd.

2014 holds so much promise. So many plans. A world of stories I can’t wait to share with you. But first I’m headed home to my beloved South Africa for Christmas. We fly out Monday night. With three children. You all pray for us, yes?

Tonight I have a much longer than five minutes post. Because South Africa lost a father today.


(source: CNN)

The writing prompt is “REFLECT” and this is my much-more-than-five-minutes post. I’ve shared the first five minutes below and the full post is over at Deeper Story today. Click through to read it all, won’t you. It’s a big old chunk of my heart.

There’s a song that’s haunted my childhood.

Born under a Southern Cross sky I was the white toddler with dusky blond wisps learning to ululate before she lisped her first clicks and guttural pronouns deep in the mango groves of Zululand, back before it was Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Fresh out of medical school and into their marriage vows my parents raised me those first three years on the red dirt of a mission hospital far from the conventional borders of what South African society dictated in the 70s. They preached the kind of gospel that looks like refusing to live behind the barbed wire lines that preferred neat pockets of color all in one safe spot, like so, and so, and so.

They walked into the heart of community, my dad preaching in the chapel on Sundays and treating the malaria and the TB and all the tooth aches that the Sangoma couldn’t disappear during the week. When we moved to Philadelphia before my fourth birthday so he could pursue his M.Div. I would ask my dad one day at CHOP if I’d be getting an “umjovo” and my dad would have to translate for his colleague that no, injections were not part of the agenda.

I’ve never wanted to meet a celebrity.

Never been interested in having dinner with the famous or the massively photographed.

And have never considered myself overly involved with the lives of the people we observe through the lens of the television or Internet microscope.

Then why is this white girl a long way from South Africa tonight crying over an old black president she never met?

Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

And we are homeless, homeless
The moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

Zio yami, zio yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami amakhaza asengi bulele

There is a song that echoes my homesick love story stranded between these two countries – the cherry blossom northern hemisphere of my now home just outside Washington, DC and the purple, Jacaranda-rain drenched capital city of Pretoria that for years was the dark heart of Apartheid and my home.

It’s been a tale of two trees, trying to find shelter and welcome beneath their bowed backs.

Mandela was home to so many of us who have lived in the in between.

..click here to read the full post….


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Thank you for sharing history today, yours and South Africa’s. My children are participating in a speech/debate squad and the older ones are in “Mars Hill,” which is an event which teaches students to connect culture and Christianity by studying movies, books, music, etc.
    One of the current movies on their list was “Invictus.” My oldest boys watched it about two weeks ago and were both impressed with the story of Nelson Mandela. I would like to watch it now. They have both done research independently and are interested in learning more,
    Thank you again and prayers for peace while packing and traveling.

  2. 2

    I was listening to a radio story about Nelson Mandela…what an incredible thought to realize S. Africa has been a democracy for the past 20 years, and Mandela’s role in bringing that about….amazing.

  3. 3

    I have never been to Africa, but Africa has been to me. My best friend Nelli was from Kenya. Growing up she took me to her all-black baptist church and there I was saved. As I grew I always longed for Africa. My life twisted and turned and I ended up, as an adult meeting some missionaries (nationals) from Tanzania and hosting them in our home. Our friendship deepened and they became like family to us, staying in our home whenever they were in the States. A few years ago the director of YFC Rwanda came to our town. His wife had serious breast cancer and we were able to connect with them through mutual friends and I became Mamma — (after my son’s name) to their three children. They called me their American mom as I stood in for my sister with breast cancer. What a good God we have to always bring me Africans though He has yet to bring me to them.

    I loved your story. I have such strong memories about Apartheid and Nelson Mandela became a hero to me in those days. His passing has left me thinking over lives like his — lives that make a difference because they didn’t just talk about peace or march for peace, but lived peace till it oozed out of their pores and was contagious to the rest of us.

    Thank you, as always, for hosting us so graciously here at FMF. I have only been here 10 weeks, but it is dear to my heart because your prompt started me blogging and I haven’t stopped since.

  4. 4

    thank you for writing this wonderful tribute!
    greetings by

  5. 5

    I am in tears reading in this. Sad for us all, but hopeful for our world as you teach your kids, as we all teach our kids. Thank you.

  6. 6

    This post…all of it, I read the full story…makes me tear up, Lisa-Jo. Not just the lovely, heart-wrenching way you weave words, but the way you impart your story, your history, your traditions, your smells, all of it to your children is a gift that I know they will treasure someday. I only hope that I have shared a fraction of my story with my son.

    I love you, sister, and will be praying for all of you as you make your way home next week.

  7. 7

    I understand.

    I too live far from my roots and family on South Africa. I have read, watched and listened to much of the commentary about Madiba today, but yours ( with Johnny Clegg) have made my tears flow.

    I too would give any amount of money to spend just 15 minutes back home right now.
    I am truly proud of all my friends around the world – girls that I went to school with to one of the few Non Racial schools in Johannesburg in the late 1980s. Almost every single one of them has changed their Facebook photo to one of Madiba.

    Take all the dreams and hopes of all of us back home to south Africa next week. Bask in the hot summer sun and revel in the glory of the true Rainbow Nation.

    ASIMBONANGA – Johnny clegg
    Asimbonanga——————–(we have not seen him)
    Asimbonang’ umandela thina—–(we have not seen mandela)
    Laph’ekhona——————–(in the place where he is)
    Laph’ehleli khona————–(in the place where he is kept)
    Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey
    Look across the island into the bay
    We are all islands till comes the day
    We cross the burning water
    A seagull wings across the sea
    Broken silence is what I dream
    Who has the words to close the distance
    Between you and me
    Steve biko, victoria mxenge
    Neil aggett
    Asimbonang ‘umfowethu thina—-(we have not seen our brother)
    Laph’ekhona——————–(in the place where he is)
    Laph’wafela khona————–(in the place where he died)
    Hey wena———————–(hey you!)
    Hey wena nawe——————(hey you and you as well)
    Siyofika nini la’ siyakhona—-(when will we arrive at our destination)

  8. 8

    Very moving, Lisa Jo. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

  9. 9

    Wow! Sharing this in my next Best of the Week post on Monday.

  10. 10

    “Mandela was home to so many of us who have lived in the in between.”

    I hear that. I feel that. Your words have moved and blessed me deeply. I know what it’s like to live in the ‘in between’ and how important it is to have someone, somewhere who is home. We have all lost a father today. Thank you for sharing your memories and allowing us to also long for a time and a place we’ve never been.


    ~ Cassandra from Renaissance Women

  11. 11

    Thanks for sharing this. I did click over and I’m glad I did. xoxo

  12. 12

    Oh, LJ….
    thank you. for these words.
    i remember my almost two years there, how i couldn’t understand the divide, and how it was broken down, and yet not broken down, and how i couldn’t put it together but those smells, and the sights….
    i am thrilled you guys are headed back, and at such special time to be home.
    grateful, for you, for this, tonight.

  13. 13

    Long a favorite of distance athletes, bananas help replace the vitamins and mineral lost during exercise. Remember to always use portion control and common sense when eating anything.

  14. 14

    What great experiences you have to share!! Thank you!

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