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Giving your last breath

For many people there comes a period where the workload becomes a lot more strenuous than the rest of the year. You really have to graft in those times, sacrifice a lot of other things just to hang on and still you are exhausted, still you feel that you are on your last breath.

But the project is not done, you still have work to do, but you simply can’t. So how do you carry on? How can you replenish that must needed energy of yours?

Recently I felt that I needed to read Samson, in the book of Judges, maybe it’s because I’m growing out my hair so I can now relate to all the problems he would have. Anyways, reading Samson has given me a revelation of how to get that extra energy, and it doesn’t revolve around growing out your hair.

Now to those of you who may be a little rusty on the history of Samson, or have just never heard of him: Samson was an Israelite who was born to rule over Israel and be the protector against the Philistines. He was not just a regular man but rather someone with superhuman strength.

But there was a catch.

No razor may ever touch Samson’s hair or he would lose his strength. Long story short the Philistines found out his strength through Delilah, a woman from the Philistines that Samson loved. The Philistines cut his hair off and captured him, mocked him and made a fool out of him.

Samson had nothing left, his power was gone. He was sorrounded by Philistines and there was nothing he could do. He was hopeless. He was supposed to be the shining light amongst the Philistines but was instead the fool.

Samson knew what his duty was and he never gave up. It was then that he cried out to the Lord for strength. The Lord responded to Him by giving him the strength back. Samson broke through his chains and then pushed the two central pillars holding the building they were in and it let the whole building collapse with all the Philistines that were in it including Samson. That day he killed more people than all the other times over the years combined.

Last week I was exhausted from everything going on and the weekend that was ahead would include a lot more hardwork. I had nothing to give but there was still so much to do. When Samson’s story came up I realised that I too can have that renewed strength to push through and endure what lies ahead. It sounds silly to mention but I think often we don’t do it or we feel that it’s not going to work, but it does!

That week with the little sleep I had I was able to stay awake and sometimes feel full of energy. It wasn’t a very sustainable thing to do but for the time being it was enough.

I hope that none of us have to be in that situation of Samson that you give your life to a cause but you will be faced with times where it is guns blazing. Then you will need that inner strength. That extra boost that only God can give you.

Just cry out to the Lord and see how He can renew you.

Race day: Part 2- The race

If you haven’t read part one of this story then I would advise you to go back and read it before you start this one…

3…2…1….Go!

And the first few cyclists were off. I was at the back though, so it was a good 20 seconds before I was actually off.

It was a cagey affair at first, we were all respectful of each others bicycles so it took a while before we could really showcase our talents on the big stage.

After about 2 minutes I decide to take matters into my own hands. I started to squeeze into small gaps, accelerate through the downhills and keep a high intensity through the uphill. I must have pased around 50 people in that early stage.

The next stage featured an uphill that I think took most of us off guard. It looked simple enough but the hill would just not end. Many cyclists actually stopped, got off their bicycles and started walking uphill. It was rather scary because this was just the beginning!

It was quite discouraing to see so many cyclists pushing their bike uphill and I started to think I wouldn’t make it. Honestly I started to think I wouldn’t even finish the race.

Towards the end of the hill however, I changed to the lowest gear and pushed myself to the top. I made it! And I didn’t have to walk, which was great for my ego.

After lowering my intensity and keeping a steady pace I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t sure how much energy I would have after that hill climb.

For the next few minutes I kept a relaxed pace, trying to get some oxygen back. It was then where I actually got to see some of the wind turbines.

I was proably about 10 metres away from one at some point. Don’t think I have ever been so close to one as I was then. I was so surprised that I didn’t even hear a single noise from one of them(or maybe I was just too focused on the race).

By this time my energy came back and I was ready to push on. I had an intensity of about 90% and I felt good, I didn’t feel that I was pushing myself to the point of exhaustion, I just felt I was at the perfect speed. I also passed quite a few more cyclists which is what I strive for, just kidding.

By now most of the hard climbs were over and the rest was, pun-intended, downhill. I started to pick up ridiculous speeds. I passed a lot more cyclists but now came a big problem.

The track narrowed down to just one lane. This was a problen because a cyclist in front of me was not as fast as I was but I couldn’t overtake him. I didn’t know his name but it said “you’re future begins here” so I’m assuming that was his name.

So for about 30% of the race I was behind you’re future begins here. Don’t get me wrong we were still going fast and I enjoyed the twists and turns while marvelling at the beautiful scenery before me. I just wish I could pass him.

Eventually after the lane returned to a road I found my gap and I overtook him. I let him know he did a great job and sped onwards. By then I knew exactly where I was and I knew exactly where the race goes from here…or did I?

I did not.

I thought it was straght ahead till we get to the gravel road, turn left, go up that hill and the finish line should be there in about a km.

In fact we were still quite a way from the finish and there were more uphills to come.

That was actually a time where I was able to pass a lot more cyclists and I was also surprised to see how much energy I had left.

The hills kept coming but I kept pushing. It was getting frustrated because I could see the finish but there was still lots of curves before getting there.

I reached the end to my relief and just before the last turn I saw an old man overtake me, how cheeky. We both then turned for the last corner and finished in style with a decent time of 65 minutes.

I was honestly very happy and surprised with how well I did. I finished the race and I also had a great time, I never felt that I was getting tired (except when I could barely breathe after the very first uphill). I kept pushing to the pace I wanted to and it never felt too much.

I spoke to the old man after the race and he told me I needed to raise my seat a bit higher because I would get a lot more speed and it would’ve made a huge difference.

So taking that into account and starting a lot closer to the front my time could have been totally different, but I am nonetheless glad with my position of finishing 16th and I feel so confident that I would not only come again next year but actually go for the 85km because then I will really be tested.

Thanks for reading and I hope you go and join an event such as this, whether it is running, cycling, swimming or all of them or whatever it may be…go and push yourself to do it. If you don’t want to go alone invite a friend but go and do it!

Race day: Part 1-Build up

It’s race day! The annual Jbay wind farm mountain bike race is here. Cyclists from all over South Africa have come to participate. Fierce competition was to be expected and prizes that would match the talent of the racers.

It’s my first ever mountain bike race. I have nothing to compare this to. It is all so mysterious, but packed with excitement. Am I fit enough? Will my bike survive on this terrain? And who am I even racing?

These were all the questions racing through my mind.

But how did I get here? How did it all start?

Let’s rewind a few months…

I was having breakfast one morning, or was it lunch I can’t remember, and the local newspaper was in front of me. So I do the obvious thing and not read the newspaper to keep up to date with politics and the nature of the town, but rather flip to the back and read whatever sport is going on.

After turning over the newspaper the first thing I notice is the mountain bike event is happening 10km away from my house!

Just to give a little info on what the race entails:

There are 3 distances one can race: The 25km, 50km and the ultimate challenge of 85km.

The event has been running for the past 7 years and this year it has become a lot more family friendly which now incorporated a 5km and 10km run for those who aren’t that crazy over cycling.

I was so glad that not only was there a bike race I could enter but also one that I can cycle to without needing to find a ride to get there.

I’ve been cycling to work and back every day and whatever errand I had for the day so I felt I had a lot of pre-fitness. So all that’s left is to go for longer cycles and fine-tune my technique.

It was tricky to go for long cycles because work being very time-consuming and having very little time for anything else in the day, and then to top it off the shortened sunlight due to it being winter.

I would go for one long cycle a week and each time I would add a few km to the tally. I was certainly getting fit and also getting some time for myself in an isolated place.

With places like this you get that sense of refreshment and peace with your situation.

One week prior to the race I was confident that I would at least finish the race but whether or not it was going to be a good time I had my doubts.

Now back to the present…

The 50km racers just set off and it was time for the 25km racers to go, I chose 25km because it was my first time racing with no real grasp of what would happen.

I was catching up with a friend so I ended up right at the back of over 150 racers not realising that they were going to start. I had no intention of winning but the intention of riding as fast as I could and leaving nothing behind. So starting at the back was not the end of the world but I would’ve preferred to be a lot closer to the front.

The countdown had begun. Less than 30 seconds to go. The excitement became evident amongst the racers including myself and once the countdown ended we rode off and the 25km race began…

Part 2 of the race coming tomorrow!

What season are you in?

What word would you describe the season that you are in? Has it been a challenging one? Has it been a time of growth? A time of acceleration? A time of stagnation? A time of reflection? A time of meeting new people? A time of lonesomeness?

It may be difficult to say that you have only felt one way in a season but I’m sure you can agree that there was definitely a theme during your current season.

Also note that a time of hardship does not necessarily mean you had a bad time, it just means that you went through a lot but you learned from your experience and in that way grew from it.

We all go through times where we struggle to keep our head above water but also times where you float effortlessly. Crazy how that works. Like the famous saying from Winston Churchill:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.”

Right now in my life I feel that I’m lacking certain things and certain traits but I was reminded of these few verses in the bible:

There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the heavens.

A time to be born, a time to die.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh.

A time to mourn, a time to dance.

A time to search and a time to give up.

A time for war and a time for peace.

There are loads more verses in between but these are my favourites from ecclesiastes 3.

You may feel alone but instead of realising how you are missing out in your relationship realise the freedom that you have with ‘no strings attached’. If you feel that you are struggling in some way remember that it is not going to last forever, you will get out and you will learn from your hardships, and grow from it.

Just remain hopeful in the fact that things can and will change for the better. If you have a dream that you are pursuing don’t give it up, because you won’t lose if you said you tried, but you will never win if you don’t try.

How to influence a large amount of people

Photo by Sebastian Ervi on Pexels.com

Have you ever felt like you have something to say? Do you feel that if you had the opportunity to speak to a crowd you would change many hearts to give them the determination to not give up and live life to the fullest? How can I convince an organisation to let me speak to their students/employees or whoever you feel you could have an impact on their lives?

To have that opportunity is not as simple as what you may think and I am pretty sure those who would want to do what I just said may sigh because they don’t know how to get there.

If you still have that desire in your heart for public speaking then read on for I have 2 ways that could potentially get you your first gig.

Start small

You want to speak to a thousand people, but have you spoken in front of just a few? We all have these huge dreams of going to the Olympics, becoming a lawyer, a successful businessman or whatever it may be but I’m sure you can agree that to get there one needs to put in the hard work, start small and do whatever needs to be done. Public speaking is the exact same. One needs to find an audience or a place to publish your skills.

How can I do that you ask?

The internet!

Just find a website or even websites to showcase your talents. This will not only give you a platform for what you would like to do one day but it strengthens your skills and gives you a few more. A great place to advertise yourself is You-tube. Almost 5 billion views are watched everyday on You-tube. You are not only getting better at spreading a message but your video skills, photography skills and even your marketing skills could be enhanced.

Another obvious place is WordPress. It may not be a place for all public speakers because now you rely on your writing to get you on the internet but nonetheless a great place to advertise your skills. It is in fact the most used blogging website in the world (this is not a sponsored post by the way :).

I am also one of those people who would like to share my voice and inspire others but that type of opportunity will not always fall on my lap, I need to do something about it. I decided to use WordPress for I enjoy writing as well as public speaking, which is quite funny because it was the complete opposite a few years ago.

But any dream starts with a vision on how to get there and applying it and then your dream becomes a reality.

Just ask

Honestly if you have something you want to say and you have a place in mind just ask! Email them, give them a call or walk up to the front desk and just ask them if you could go on stage and speak to an audience. You may be surprised as to what they say.

There is this one You-tube channel called YesTheory and they live off the premise of seeking discomfort by doing uncomfortable things in order to challenge themselves. They go outside their comfort zone so often I don’t even think they can have an uncomfortable zone(if that is even a word lol). One crazy thing they did which is just a speck of the crazy things they have done which was to ask the Mayor of Venice in California if I am not mistaken to meet up and they actually did.

You should really check them out if you haven’t already: https://www.youtube.com/user/PracProcrastination

If you don’t have a desire for public speaking that is also fine but hopefully I have encouraged you to chase whatever dream you would like to achieve.

You will get your opportunity as long as you are willing to put in the hard work.

Also figure out why you would like to share your voice to others, because if it is just to praise yourself or to become famous people will sense that and may not help you get to where you would like to be.

If you want to be heard you first need to speak.

Why should you forgive someone?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Rekindling what was once a close friendship

Loving someone is difficult because there is a high-risk high-reward to it.
You can share the things most people will never know about you, have memories
that can never be compared to anything else, you could share your life to that
person.

But what if one day that person does something that will change the whole spectrum of your bond with that person, it will never be the same, and you will be left heartbroken and thinking why did I ever open up and should I ever be that person who puts their heart out there for one day to be broken again?

I lost a dear friend once and got my heart torn apart.

I met this person when I was only 5 years-old, or 5 years-young should I say.
We were in the same school for 7 years. Honestly we were not always the greatest
of friends, I always struggled to talk to girls due to my insecurities and shyness
until only our last year in the same school did we really have a bond. And it was strong.

From then on I truly loved her and the next two years after that I never saw her.
I had the cheapest of phones that could only do phone calls and SMS while I don’t think she had a phone for quite some time.

Those two years were tough and I could never find that same friendship with anyone else and I was left yearning to see her once again.

The year after that I moved schools which originally was about a 30 minute drive from her to just up the road from her!

Must be destiny I thought.

Eventually I did see her again and as time went by our friendship started to rekindle. Seeing her again after two years was almost like seeing a flash of heaven. I was thrilled.

Our friendship grew stronger than ever before and I was content with life.

But there came a time where our friendship took a wild turn.

Our last year in school we planned a great adventure for the 2 of us and another 2 friends as well to come and pretty much from there it all went haywire.

There were many instances where I felt betrayed and left in the dark till one day it just became the last straw. I was devastated but I felt I had to let her go.

I was left heartbroken and a lot of hurt, wanting to never trust any woman again.
The things that we shared now became difficult to even look at. At the time I was so glad that our paths took such a wild turn that we weren’t even on the same continent.

After a few months I started dealing with the pain. a large thanks goes to some of my friends that I met that year, showing such kindness and love. It gave me a fresh perspective of woman and just people in general. I also had to deal with all my emotions spiritually though. Breaking soul-ties with her, praying for forgiveness and forgiving myself and ultimately forgiving her.

So eventually I did forgive her. I still wouldn’t know if I would talk to her properly but I had no more resentment to her, no more pain.

It was only till about a month ago that I saw her again and got to deal with the past.
The real truth came out and I was finally taken out of the dark as to what actually
happened. I was not only completely okay with what she put me through but I even wanted to become friends again. And so did she.

After all the hardship and pain we both went through we were still able to deal with the past, forgive each other and actually move on.

Someone once told me when I still had a lot of resentment to her that if we could somehow push aside our differences we could build a stronger bond than ever before.

I feel that if I could forgive her after all that she has done then I can forgive anyone.

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself from God’s part.” – Matthew 6:14.

It is only the start of this brand new friendship but if we could go through so much pain
and still be friends surely there is more at stake for us. Surely there is a future.

Catching a thief-my first arrest

This past week was rather crazy for me and one day in particular was rather special. (And in a way not so special)

It was the middle of the afternoon. I was in the yard at work grinding some metal with gloves, safety goggles and all (actually my first time so I felt real badass).

Seeing that I was using such a loud tool I could barely hear anything other than the blade of the grinder spinning. I turn and look to see my colleague rushing back inside.

‘This is weird’, I thought.

He was running faster than I have ever seen him run, and he is pretty old so that is saying much( we even call him oupa, meaning grandpa). Another one of the guys working, (let’s call him Mark) saw him run and decided to follow so I saw the two of them run in a straight line formation. Honestly I thought Mark was impersonating the old man, so I started to laugh, but their faces remained focused so I assumed they weren’t fooling around. They rush outside the shop and then I finally
see what was going on.

Two men nonchalantly walked past our rubbish bins (which mind you are extremely expensive), took one and walked off.

In the middle of the day!

The two men stopped hauling the bin and took off. Yay, so we saved the bins!

But it was not over. Not even close.

The old man stayed behind walked back to the shop but Mark kept running, he wanted to get at least one of them. Honestly I was still in the giggles, this was all still funny for me.

‘But what about Mark though?’, I asked. ‘He could run into a bunch of people that could be accomplices of the thief and gang up on him. We have to help him.’

Now the old man and I start running around in a straight line formation.

I grab the keys for the bakkie, the old man opens the gate and we rush to get in the bakkie.
‘What’s going on?’ Asked another colleague. There was no time to spare so we took off without saying a word.

We reverse out the gate and the chase continued, now it wasn’t a chase but a game of hide and seek. Seeing that it was a bakkie it was able to go straight over
the pavement and onto the gravel, a very nice shortcut. I look around trying to find Mark while the old man is making sure we get there as fast as possible.

We took a right turn in the hopes that they went the same way. Thankfully a man on the side of the road pointed in the direction the two were going.
We were going the right way, but will we get there in time and is Mark okay? We seriously went far to find them and I was amazed as to how far the chase carried on for.

Eventually we see Mark talking to a man in his car most likely about the thieves. But the thieves were nowhere to be found. Mark points to where the men ran but there was no way the car
could get through with the gate in the way.

So the chase was over.

Not on my watch I thought to myself. I have the element of surprise seeing that the thieves believe the chase is over. I walk around the gate and through some bushes to some open land where I see 5 men in the distance, one of them being a thief.

There were a line of bushes on my left so I wanted to use that to my advantage to get a closer distance to the man. I walk about 50 meters till the man turns around and unfortunately sees me. He then took off again with his friends and the chase was on again.

At that moment I started to have lots of questions.

‘Where is my team?’

‘Are those guys the thief’s friends?’

‘Does he have a weapon?’

But the worst of all:’What should I do if I actually catch this guy?’

That freaked me out. I also laughed at the same time because this is not what you would expect someone like me to be doing. If I do catch this guy I would not know what to do next. I’m not really a person of violence in any sorts, I’ve been in fights before but never thrown a punch, only defended myself. I think teasing someone is the closest to violence I have resorted to.

It’s the same question a dog needs to ask him/herself if they actually catch a car, because honestly if they do, I don’t believe they would know what to do.

But anyways, back to the chase.

It was quite a long chase and we probably sprinted for a good few hundred metres. We ran through an open piece of land, through a cemetary and up until a school.

When I reached the cemetery the thief stopped running and started to walk, I also slowed down not because I had no more energy but rather because I didn’t actually want to catch the guy, and if those guys were his friends they could’ve ganged up on me. So I was happy just to keep a safe distance.

I did walk a lot faster than the thief and when he noticed how close I got he ran again and the rest split up.

It was only him and me right now.

When the thief got close to the corner of the school’s fence our bakkie showed up.

I was shocked and pretty sure the thief wet his pants, I don’t blame him though. He did have quick reflexes though and he turned to the fence and climbed over.

Half way over Mark lunges to grab him but wasn’t quick enough, it was actually good though because the man could have lost a limb seeing that the fence was topped with spikes.

He is now in the school and this is where it got really interesting.

Mark finds an easier place to clamber the fence where there were no spikes while I get back in the bakkie and drive around to the entrance.

A security company comes with two guys in a hatchback. They get out and run into the school as well.

The old man and myself follow closely behind the security squad and we all start searching for the man in the desolate school.

It really felt like a Call of Duty mission, just there were no guns and everyone only has one life so we were also a lot more careful.

Now it was time to put my clandestine mental brain on and move as silently as possible. I kept my breathing at a slow pace with as little sound as possible.
I’m now alone in the one section and it is dead quiet. No sound, I make my way past a building into the open and I finally see the thief being dragged out the school with Mark walking closely behind.

Well now I don’t have to worry about what I will do if I catch him.

So the chase was over and one of the culprits were caught.

That was what I thought. We just have to wait for the police to show up and we will be on our way, but what I heard next broke my heart.

Mark and I sat down and chatted over what just happened and he told me when they caught him the man gave him a few hits and said a few words
I want to never repeat. The thief did not resist one bit but he received what no person deserves, no matter the crime.

At that moment I realised one thing.

This man did not fail the city, the city failed him.

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. – Matthew 5:39.

Yes, the man stole. We also found some jewelry in his pocket that he stole, but to steal a bin and jewelry and get any form of beating is not justice. The thief’s wrongdoing revealed the true character of the security man.

If the thief went to prison for a day or a year or just a warning that is justice, but to hurt a man for someone’s own joy is sickening.

To build a greater world we need to turn the other cheek and show others that the battle can be won through love and not war.

Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my own friends. – Abraham Lincoln.

The thief was poor, probably had no job and could be in dire straights (which is no reason to steal). But if we showed him love through a
young age and built a strong community around him he would have a better chance of bringing good to our world. If I was in his shoes who knows
what I would have done.

The start of a better tomorrow starts with someone standing up to the wicked in the world and replying with love and the belief that all of us
can have joy in our hearts that is everlasting, no matter the situation.