I think it was perhaps it was just a simple issue of perspective but I never really saw my life as being the manifestation of those things which I'd asked God for. I won't go as far as to say that I felt like I was deprived, no - nothing like that, I felt God was on my side but never really thought that he was about this "shower you with blessings" thing. For me it always felt like he gave me enough to keep me hungry, to keep me working...and perhaps in a way that's a good thing since it kept me hungry.
In recent times however, I have found my perception of the world - more correctly MY world, shift slightly. I see now that perhaps my point of view has always been one which minimised the true impact of blessings in my life. Let me take you back and explain...
Almost a decade ago I finished my undergraduate degree, my intention then had been to do an Honours year and perhaps even a Masters year. So it was with surprise and frustration that I found myself unable to actually progress past this undergrad level due to some circumstances beyond my control. I found myself suddenly in the "job market" a place that I never thought I'd ever be since I always imagined I'd be selected for a job while still at college, but that was obviously based off a plan where I'd spend about 5 years in college...
I remember at some point I called the whole mess and "error" - I was living an error. How could God push me from Cape Town? A place where my life seemed to finally make sense, a time when I was enjoying academic and social success? No - it had to be an error. The devil had gotten in the way and rewritten my life plan - that had to be it.
I remember that I tried as best I could to get back to the life I knew but at some point I resigned myself to the fate of having to make things work in Zim. I found myself a job and worked hard at it. Come month end I received my wage, which I remember was the princely some of Z$45 000. I remember that the first weekend after my first paycheck I went to a fashion retailer with the intention of buying some work clothes. I went from store to store to store - thinking that perhaps I was living in some twilight zone. How was it possible? How could I be someone with a degree and I was earning $45 000 and the cheapest dress shirt I could find was $35 000?
Needless to say that I didn't buy a shirt that day, nor did I buy much else that day...or month for that matter. The bulk of my salary went towards transport and sustenance - so it went for another month and another month after that. In this time I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong - what I was missing. How could it be that basic things like clothing cost so much but people's salaries were so low? Even my friends who had been working for a few years earned a little over Z$100 000, which didn't give them much room to purchase anything of real value.
At that time, in Zim, the only people who seemed to be living a good life were either people who had senior management jobs, their own businesses or were involved in some illicit activities. Not being part of any of these groups I found myself stuck, frustrated, jaded and becoming increasingly despondent about my future. It was at this point that I prayed to God that I wanted the opportunity to earn an honest living back in South Africa, I prayed for a chance to steadily build a simple decent life. A few months later I found myself back in South Africa and so began the response to my prayers.
Recently I walked into a TW Levin store and was reminded of the time I'd walked from store to store looking for a shirt I could afford. Even though TW Levin is seen as an above average price store for shirts there was no single shirt which was beyond my affordability on that day - in fact I could throw away all of my shirts and purchase new ones from the most expensive range in TW Levin and still be able to survive the month without worrying about whether I could pay for my fuel and sustenance.
The store assistant walked up to me and said the customary, "Were you looking for something in particular sir?", "No - just looking" I said. "Take your time sir, let me know if you need anything." he responded.
How, in only a few years had I gone from being completely unable to purchase just ONE shirt to a point where I was a "sir" who could be served by this guy (who himself probably struggles to afford the shirts in the store) and actually thinking about this place as a viable option?
It got me to thinking about much more than just a shirt. I remember my first job in Cape Town, after running away from "the error" - I didn't earn much, but definitely enough to buy a reasonably priced shirt. I remember the first time I paid for my rent, the amount took almost 70% of my salary. Each month I had to budget carefully to make sure that I didn't come short just before payday. And yet now I afford to stay in perhaps one of the most affluent areas in all of South Africa - and not only that I can afford to live in an apartment which is way bigger than my needs. Why? Because I can...because I chose to.
I got to thinking about much more than just an apartment. I remember when I was still in Zim, during "the error" I had a girl that I had been smitten over throughout my college years - she was a medical student. Smart, beautiful and in my eyes perfect for me. I often used to scrounge together money to go to the internet cafe to send Hi5 messages and emails to people - she was often at the top of my list. I would send her cute messages of pseudo-love, in my mind I was keeping hope alive. I was keeping her as an option - I didn't want her to ever forget me.
I remember one day she responded, "I think you are a great friend but I get the sense that you hope for something more. That won't happen, you and I are just friends."
I sat in that internet cafe chair for what felt like an eternity, gutted that she'd friendzoned me. She'd closed the door to us ever being a couple.
Fast forward to 2013 - I arrive in Johannesburg from Cape Town. New to the city I still needed to find my bearings and who do you think was all too eager to show me around? None other than the girl who had friendzoned me years before. Now a Dr she had moved to Johannesburg a year before and she forced herself into the role of my "welcome committee". She'd often force me into many different activities with my and her friends. For about 6 months we grew closer and closer - to the point where everyone, including her family, thought we were dating. A mutual friend then asked me one day why I didn't actually make the relationship official - obviously asking on behalf of this girl. I told this mutual friend that at some point we both friendzoned each other and that could not be reversed.
In truth, because the way my life had progressed with females between the time when this Dr friendzoned me and when her friend was pushed me to date her, she was no longer an option for me. She wasn't good enough for me and so I'd friendzoned her at a point when she was looking to revise my status in her life.
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture - I have been blessed greatly by God. Especially considering that there was actually no "error" - in fact, God didn't want me to stay in South Africa and yet I forced my way back. And despite that, He still blessed me with success, riches and love.
I feel a little...sad that for so long I have felt my life to be ordinary when in fact it was beyond blessed. All the things which I'd wished for when I felt I was down and out in Zim have been granted...tenfold at least. I asked for an honest living and now I live a life of some excess - I have a job that I can afford to be laid back in because I've become so good at it, I have an apartment which is unnecessary because it says something about me, I have so much attention from women that I don't actually know what to do with it. And all this is not because I am amazing - by myself - but because God has either given it to me or allowed me to have it.
I am humbled by His love for me, but disgusted by my stubbornness, the fact that I refused to follow His path and came back to a place I had no good reason to be. And so, the inevitable must come to pass, I must leave this place - relinquish all of the pointless excess I have accumulated through God's good graces and follow the path I was supposed to follow almost a decade ago. I don't know where it will lead but I know that there is a glorious world out there. I pray that God continues to support my ONE goal.
In pursuit of that, I recently quit my job with no formal contract of employment anywhere else. Some people think I'm brave, others are inspired - most think I'm crazy/stupid but are too nice to say it to my face. However I have seen the outcomes of my prayers and I'm sure I'll be embarrassed in more ways in no time.