An open letter of Gratitude…

Dear Virtual Community, co-workers (or as we call them, magfam), family and beloved friends…

Thank you.

Thank you to my wonderful boss who took it upon himself to try and help me out with improved security and to try and recover some of what I lost.

Thank you to my wonderful co-workers (both here and in the US) who didn’t hesitate to get on board with his project.

Thank you to my friends and family who supported it whole-heartedly, without question.

And thank you to the haters on Facebook who called it a scam and question my existence.

This is me! I’m real! Earth to Facebook land, here I am.

When this thing started it was not the first time I was robbed at home. I lost my car two years ago. I wasn’t ensured because I couldn’t afford the premiums. When that happened my (same) boss stepped in and lent me the office car until I was able to scrape together enough to buy another (major downgrade) car.

When I was robbed again two years later the buggers actually got into my house. This was next level – and scary. I realized that my security was (and still is) pretty lacking. I rent a small place from SANRAL – the South African national roads board – yes they own lots of property. However they are not the greatest land lords when it comes to things like upkeep, maintenance and security. The up side is they are cheap. They also have no problem with tenants taking an initiative and improving the buildings. I have no issue with them at all – I understand that the tenants are not their major concern – the roads are. no problem – I am just happy to have a place to stay.

Anyway, I digress.

So I got robbed again. And my boss decided he is not going to sit and wait for a third incident. He started a crowd funding project for me, to help pay for a security system and new locks, and maybe even to replace some of what was lost over the two years.

When he told me what he wanted to do my knee-jerk reaction was “oh hell no”. I am not someone who is comfortable accepting charity. I don’t easily take anything I don’t feel I earned and deserve. I have been through many things and I have always maintained that by having a strong positive attitude I have overcome them. It’s not always easy. not at all. But I have known too many people who allowed themselves to become victims and take no responsibility for their lives. They behave as if life is something that happened to them. That is not me. I am responsible for the decisions I make and I dictate my own future – through hard work and faith. I have a happiness sharing blog because I want to share HAPPINESS and LIGHT. Not doom and gloom.

But then I realized something in the moment when I was about to say “No, you don’t have to help”. I realized that I always try to help people where I can – and that if my employer wants to help me – who am I to stop him? I realized that I don’t want my kids and I to be unsafe. I realized that I am tired of being too scared to go to sleep at night. I realized that, just this once, maybe I should just say thank you. Because that is what I would want anyone else to do if I was helping them. Because the love and kindness that make me so proud of humanity can’t be given if the recipients can’t be humble enough to accept it graciously.

I realized that I have to learn to accept kindness graciously – I have to be humble.

I can’t always be proud and strong. Sometimes it takes more strength to be humble. If not for myself, then for my children, because goodness knows they are two of the best kids you will ever find. They are kind, good humored, conscientious and downright bloody brilliant, to boot. So I said “Yes, thank you”.

Since then I have been avoiding the post online because I am not entirely sure how to react to it. The words written there are so kind. The words in the campaign and the comments left behind. People have been so kind, so sweet, so generous. Anyone who knows me will know that I am not good with public displays of emotion. I could go into why but I fear the men in white coats would come for me (that was a joke, BTW).

Today, though, I received a Whatsapp message from a friend telling me to go look at the post. So I did. Wouldn’t you know it – I have a troll!

A stranger (let’s call him Mr Banks – just for fun) posted comments about how this was clearly a scam. How South Africans are used to being raped and burgled – and why should the world “help some privileged white woman who’s TV has been stolen”. Why indeed?

Well – first up, Mr  Banks , my TV wasn’t stolen. It isn’t valuable enough (I still have an old tube type for DVDs only). Secondly – I am not privileged in the way  you think I am – but I am privileged.

I may not have had the opportunity to go to University or had rich parents to buy me a nice safe house or a fancy car. I may not have a husband who is alive, or who even had a life insurance policy. But you are right. I am privileged. I am privileged to have been shown endless kindness. I am privileged to have good friends and a loving family – including two healthy children. I am privileged to have the ability to read and write and to have been able to put those skills to good use – to continuously study and educate myself while I work and raise a family. I am privileged to have been given the gift of a sunny disposition which has seen me through more hardship and heartache than I care to elaborate on. I am privileged to have been given a copy of “The Secret” to watch 6 years ago which changed my life. I am privileged to have been brought up with a religious background and to know the value of morals – including the  belief that all religions, and all people – matter. I am privileged to have been given a chance at a job which it turned out I loved. I am privileged to have employers who saw my potential and my tenacity and helped me to grow.

I am privileged to be South African – I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the most beautiful country in the world. I am privileged to have internet access to be able to write this blog right now.

I am Immensely Privileged to have known enough kindness and goodness to still have hope that people like you will someday feel the love the universe has to offer. Because there is so much goodness and love. There are so many kind people.

Thank you, Mr Banks, because you have actually reminded me that I am privileged, in so many ways, every day of my life – down to the able body I walk around in and the health I experience. I am privileged to have been spared becoming cynical, cruel,  or cold-hearted.

I am privileged enough to still be enough of a believer to help the guy watching my car outside. Maybe I am weak. Maybe I am gullible. Maybe I am just a whiny little shit, after all, who can’t shut up about the good things in life. Maybe I have just seen enough darkness to cherish the light that I do see – and celebrate it.

Thank you, also, Mr Banks, for drawing attention to how South African women are “used to being raped and burgled”. I don’t think it’s something we should be used to. I don’t think that I can accept that it should just be the norm.

For the last few years I have been involved with collecting clothing for the “Rape-Room” at the local hospital, so that the ladies will have something to go home in. It is a big issue on my heart. You have brought it up here again – as if it was normal. It shouldn’t be.

So, if I have the permission of those wonderful people who designed the crowd funding post for me, I would like to give the “tithes” from that project to the local FAMSA, who deal with counselling all kinds of South Africans in need. So, Mr Banks, thank you for reminding me that no matter my situation – I can always share the kindness I receive, because there will always be enough to go around, if we all do.

Thank you – all of you – for reading this.

I love you guys, all of you, even you Mr Banks. I hope you find the light inside yourself.

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