The burden of caring

Anyone that knows me knows that there are a couple of things that I get “carried away” with.

  • Fairness
  • Ethics
  • Obstacles that are unnecessary
  • Customer service

And believe me, I have had many a conversation telling me I should not get emotionally involved and trust me I try… my mantra: focus on what you can control. Or my dad’s favourite saying – stop making a theatre of it. (Hmmm… It sounds better in German )

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It does not always work and on a day like today I go home for a glass of wine and some chocolate.

I will never forget, when I was a little girl attending Sub A (now Grade 1) in Thornton Primary School in Cape Town, I observed a boy being teased. I was new and went to stand in front of him to tell them to stop – in my child’s mind what they were doing was not right or fair. I don’t remember his name, but my Mom invited him to my farewell party before we moved again.

It is who I am, I do get emotionally involved. It’s my passion and my heart’s blood that I invest and I can’t imagine being dead enough inside not to care.

And you know what that is OK, I know I can only control a certain amount of things. I know that if a train arrives late or a Manager treats his employee unfairly, it is not my monkey and not my business; usually people are not interested in my opinion in any case. But my passion and caring for people has brought me to where I am today. It has made me successful in a career where the recruiter with whom I had my first interview with told me I am wrong for the job, and years after that she couldn’t believe I ever made it.

I find it frustrating to observe people slogging with the status quo. They are so afraid to make waves and to look bad that they wont even go beyond to address an issue, neither will they initiate anything to change it, oh sure they will make suggestions and then they just accept. In Germany people complain a lot and then they have talk shows on the subject, not just one but at least five! It is quite mind-boggling! South Africa never had that many talk shows. How I wish at times I could have that attitude of lethargy, but this does not mean one is happy with it – and living a life of quiet desperation is not what I envision for my life either.

I come from a country, a continent for that matter, where government support, or any kind of support, is not a given if you start out in life or if you hit a bump in the road. I have never met an African that does not have a fire burning in their insides to make their lives better, sometimes it’s a small flame yes because circumstances can be very overwhelming. But it is there, waiting. It’s in our blood and it is the cause for many great things.

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And it is in this aspect where my African me comes out, the red fire passion that ignites and wants to grab the sword of fairness to ride on a steed of ethics and defend the world’s weak.

Ok that is now completely over the top 😂😂, and then my very dominant German half goes, “Ehem….” and after passionately gesturing at the unfairness of it all to the heavens (all inside my very active head of course, someone might be watching!) I accept that I can’t change the world, change what I can change and move on.

Then I think of the serenity prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

And it helps. For that moment it helps.