These are three of my best friends: Dunc, Majay and Rob. And missing from that pic is Reegs who is also one of my longest life buddies. And of course my wife, the beautiful Val [aka tbV, which so many of you keep thinking stands for The Lovely Val because of, um, the B, obviously] who made this photo [taken at my 40th after these clowns performed a satirical rendition of one of my favourite Mumford songs complete with homemade pizza box guitar and changed up lyrics] possible, plus of course let’s not forget the boob cake. Here is tbV:
Oh and my best friend from Teacher’s Training College [who made said boob cake]. And Dreadlock Mike who i probably have the most fun with when we’re together just because we share one DNA strand or something. And Beard-and-Coffee-meister Bruce Collins who i don’t get to spend enough life with and yet we pick up [online or offline] as if we’ve been best mates full-time for twenty years. Durban Sam who used to be Cape Town Sam but is always chocolate and coffee and Wakaberry Sam. Oh and Debbie and Sam, my two Baptist Summer Camp friends for life and their two incredible husbands, Barry and Snoek. [Sam and Debbie incidentally were two of the four who met me at an airport wearing Teletubbies costumes that one time].
One of my more recent friends, Nkosi, who is teaching me so much while being so patient and also doubling as my Xhosa practice partner. My old partner in crime Mark [now with his wife Robyn] Baker who challenges and inspires as well as shares in some of the world’s best naughty laughs. My good friend Megan from TheatreSports who despite being so completely different in so many ways continues to instead focus on the places where we overlap, and how important some of those places are in South Africa right now.
Then there is my buddy Craig and his wife Marina in Somerset West who have the best gift of hospitality and cook feasts for us to share with catchup stories around glasses of wine and bits of chocolate. Aaron and Sarah our housemates from Americaland who ARE COMING TO VISIT US AT THE END OF THE YEAR. Games [and Snack Heaven] Night Bruce. David Barta Dawg and the other two Dawgs of the Apocalypse in Nate and Josiah who bring me great joy and laughter and who is responsible for this amazing shirt and mug:
Do you know what the ridiculous thing is? i haven’t even gotten started… Lists like these are dangerous because you are going to leave someone out. But i have literally left at least 20 people out i can think of without getting started and i haven’t even included family members or anything like that. Fellow bloggers, social justice friends, other writers and speakers and do’ers who challenge, inspire, encourage and keep me going.
The point is i woke up this morning feeling absolutely rich with friends. Life is flippin hard a lot of the time and doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. And i have a pretty incredible life but it’s still hard and complicated and confusing and very online fighty [ha!] and contradicting and more. When you are someone who tends to challenge and push against the status quo and try to get people to think and listen and learn and change when it comes to difficult topics like Race, Privilege, Poverty and Language among others, it is SO GOOD to know that there are SO MANY PEOPLE standing in your corner, cheering you on
I am rich beyond belief. In material things as well, but let’s save that for another day. As a follower of Jesus i have said for years that “People are the economy of heaven.” EVERYTHING ELSE will be burnt up in the flames one day, but it is the people you have loved and helped and encouraged and inspired and taught and learnt from and built into and more that life is all about. It is ALL about that. Loving God and Loving people. Everything else is commentary.
That is why i love being rich. And hopefully this post will just encourage you for a moment to think about the riches you have in your life in this regard. And also to wonder for a minute whose list you might be on? And what kind of a friend you are being to the people in and around your life that might desperately be needing to experience some of this kind of wealth. My friends inspire me to want to really be the kind of friend worth having.
It has been particularly exciting, inspiring and more to be able to be pushing a little more deeply into friendships with some of my new black friends since coming back from Americaland, some online [here’s looking at you Sindile and Ambu and Felicity and Linde and more] and some in person. i am learning a lot and i hope it is starting to change me for the better.
Deep friendship, to me, is one of the key answers to race, privilege, poverty issues in South Africa. The moment issues become people and then friends, the world is turned on its head. [It’s easier to ignore issues]
Go and be rich!