Sunday, April 29, 2018

On the Southern Cape - What's on Top

Eastern Cape, South Africa
When I was in Cape Town, I met a young German girl who told me that I had to be more positive and enthusiastic. I told her that's kind of hard, when you're lawyer. After all, we're trained to see everything that's wrong with the opponent and their work. Perhaps, that's why depression and suicide is so high in the profession. I read that you're 3.6 times more likely to be depressed if your'e an attorney. But I took a leaf from that German girl's book and told myself today - "I'm going to enjoy my life." And to be honest, I needed to enjoy it; I've been exhausted from writing my appellate reply brief.

Wind blowing through my hair
I arrived into the Eastern Cape, still upset that PhD student at the other hostel took my money. And on top of that, I'm fairly certain the hostel owner was in on it. I kept telling myself that it was time to move on, but sometimes,
emotionally that sense of unfulfilled justice and violation linger in one's spirit.

But when I came to the Eastern Cap, I thought to myself - how beautiful. When I arrived, I knew I was at the right place to stay for awhile. And, I also knew it was time to start working on my Reply on my client's case.

To be honest, I was really dreading to have to work on writing another brief again. I don't think the general public knows how difficult it is to write a quality brief. It takes so much energy and thinking. I always feel exhausted after writing a good brief.

Some times I wish that the work in writing a brief would exercise my body like a marathon would, because it certainly feels like running a marathon, except with none of the health benefits from doing it. In fact, the stress can impact on you negatively. But even though I'm admittedly complaining, working on a brief certainly has other effects: It sharpens the mind.

It reminds me of how my mother used to sharpen knives with a whetting stone, grinding away the dull edges of the blade so that it had virtue again. And virtue is important. It not only means you're an ethical person; it also means you're functional with a purpose.

But coming to the Cape has been a good experience for me. I found a church that I liked. I met with the pastor. He was gracious enough to meet with me for an hour and half. He counseled me. We prayed together. He taught me how to forgive the thieves in the last hostel, and I needed to do that. I just didn't know how. (Forgiveness is not my strong point.)

I know there's a lot of atheists and agnostics who read my blog. So excuse me, if you have to read that I practice spirituality. But I have to be honest. I felt blessed. I felt blessed to have someone pray for me and to pray for someone. I was encouraged and refreshed and a sense of peace came over me after.

Throughout this week, I've been working on that Reply brief every day, except today, a Sunday. Well, even though it feels like I've been walking and trudging through the sludge, I'm

glad to say I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. There's going to be an end to this thing.

So, today's Sunday, and I went to church. I haven't been to too many services on my sabbatical. The pastor spoke on raising adolescent children. It made me think about my boxing kids (who are no longer kids, but college students) back home.

A good portion of the talk was on how social media, like FaceBook and WhatsApp and Instagram, is destroying the lives of our adolescence.

The sermon made me think that our kids and teenagers have it harder than Generation X or my parents' generation or I did. They're constantly bombarded with lies and deception all the time. On FaceBook, everyone is having a wonderful time and everyone is Frenemying each other to one up each other on who has the most likes or the most friends or whatever. On top of that, they're being bombarded with advertisements and messages and being told what's cool and what it takes to be cool.

You're cool if you have an awesome car. If you're an athlete, you have to be able to perform extraordinary feats, like those on the sports channel. If you're to be beautiful, you need to look like a supermodel. If you're smart, you have to be a super child genius, like Malcolm in the Middle. All of these expectations only cause people anxiety by saying one message: You're not good enough (and never will be). And I thought growing up in high school during my age was tough, but it's certainly harder now.

Is there a solution? I don't think any easy ones. Technology is advancing and becoming inseparable from our lives. All that a parent can do (and really should do intentionally), is teach their children truth, right from wrong, and strong values to help them journey through a hostile jungle.

Anyways, after church, I told myself I'm going to enjoy life today. I took a walk along the coast for about 4 miles. From the cliffs, I even saw a great white shark swimming in the bay and a harem of seals. Tons of them, actually. (You can see the pictures posted above.)

After hiking through the rugged coast, I hitched a ride back into town. I came back to my hostel and rested and made egg noodles with a mussel cream and wine sauce. It was beautiful, and I gave some to the employees here. We enjoyed together.

No comments:

Post a Comment