What I learned at the wedding.

I’m back! And still basking in the post-holiday glow of well-being. I only realised just how much I needed a break now. Just before we left I was a bit of a wreck, my health was a bit iffy, my eating habits were just atrocious and I was exhausted. Now I feel happy and centered again. Let’s see how long that lasts this time.

The wedding was awesome, I always feel so happy and weirdly proud of my friends when they get married. This does not make all that much sense considering I have no desire to get married and if I was forced to, would want to curl up and die. It clearly makes other people very happy and that makes me happy!

The service was conducted partly by my friend’s American evangelical pastor (in English) and partly by the German minister (preacher, pastor… I have no idea. The religious guy in charge) in German and in English, with readings from the groom’s family members in Greek. We all said the Lord’s Prayer in whichever language we chose. This was my first ever religious wedding, which was a bit intimidating, but I did grow up in old school South Africa where daily religious assemblies were the norm, so I know all the words to the Lord’s Prayer off by heart. Nobody would guess I was an undercover atheist, right?

I also had the most awesome conversation with one of my friend’s friends. An incredible South African woman in her fifties who has not lived in SA since she was 18. She has lived in almost every other country since then and learned a million other languages. She is a missionary working with the American evangelicals in Germany, and every year she organises a mission to Cape Town, providing some food and teaching, and also important intercultural connections.

What really got to me about her, was that as a Coloured woman growing up in the old South Africa, she had suffered terrible things. Her family had not been poor, they had lived in a ten bedroom house (ok there were 10 kids in her family). Then the government came and took away their house. The house that her parents OWNED. Told them it was not theirs any more, and took them to a township and forced them to live in a two-bedroomed shack. 12 people in two bedrooms, with no choice whatsoever as to where they lived. I just did not know what to say to her, me, a white South African, I knew this stuff happened, but having her tell me this so calmly with no bitterness really made an impact on me. She said her father became an alcoholic after his house was taken away from him. She did not elaborate on what happened to her family after tha.

She said she always had white friends who treated her well, she has no bitterness in her heart. She said that for her it was God who helped her find acceptance and value as a Coloured woman who was not valued in society. She said that when she came to England to train as a missionary she saw that people, white people included, valued her and cared for her and wanted to lift her up. She said so many other things. I am so glad I met this lady.

I am an atheist and I do sometimes feel angry at religion for the bad things it has done to the world. I personally do not take comfort from the idea of God and I do not need the thought of God to help me through this life. But her belief in God helped her to be the awesome woman that she is. She chose love and forgiveness over bitterness because of her conviction. She chose to live a life helping other people even though her own life was pretty bleak.

I can’t knock her faith. It has done her so much good, and I know it has helped others too. I will never share it but I do respect that.

Anyway, I had a great time at the wedding. Maybe I will write about our trip to Italy soon. It was eventful. Tourism is stressful!

But now I need to go and finish eating the chocolate bunny I bought the BFG. It is not my fault he left it here unchaperoned when he flew to Detroit. The world is a dangerous place for gentle little bunnies.



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jerusha
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 07:50:18

    Reading this made me happy!


  2. paulabubble
    Apr 20, 2012 @ 09:11:20

    This post is so sweet and I love the fact that it isn’t tolerance. But fair understanding. Which is wonderful :D


  3. Po
    Apr 20, 2012 @ 10:24:42

    Thank you guys, meeting her made me happy but also sad too, that people are so screwed up. But ja.


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