Archive for January, 2023

January 29, 2023

It’s line 14 where the challenge exists…in this well-worn Robert Frost poem

by Rod Smith

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

January 28, 2023

Beauty for Ashes

by Rod Smith

I saw something beautiful last evening. 

A celebrity husband and wife team from Durban — I’m a thousand miles from Durban — were performing in a local theater about four minutes away.

I watched a high-energy humor-musical-dance 2-hour performance which engaged a willing responsive audience.

It was delightful and I loved it. 

I loved it for much more than what meets the eye. 

The couple has, in past years, attended at least one of my public presentations for Mercury readers and, eyeing me in the audience, the husband dropped my name in recognition of my severely limited dance-move-skills. It was pleasing to be recognized and acknowledged.

What really thrilled me — along with the quality of the show — is that this couple has, by Grace and Grace alone, survived and thrived and remained positive and loving despite life-altering setbacks, some of which would surely have made many throw in the towel.

January 27, 2023

Known, accepted, embraced

by Rod Smith

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” [John 4:39]

The Samaritan woman departed from her encounter with Jesus testifying Jesus’ complete knowledge of who she was.

She discovered she was known.

Jesus validated the woman despite her checkered past, despite her being a Samaritan, despite her questioning.

Similarly we may believe we too are known, validated, and accepted

Bojes – wedding venue
Bejes – the building
January 24, 2023

What I think my fellow USA citizen will notice

by Rod Smith

Things I think visitors to SA from USA will find interesting: 

  • Incredible scenery everywhere 
  • The heat and humidity at this time of the year
  • The white cars…… I’d estimate 95% of vehicles are white – I’ve asked several people why there are more white cars than any other color and have gotten the exact same response: it’s easier
  • The focus on security at every turn 
  • Car guards – young men who protect your parked car at various sections of parking lots and public street parking spaces – for tips – they will also find you a parking and guide you into it much like you see an Airbus being waved into Gate 57 at a major airport – or is that “waived”?
  • The enormous sense of friendliness and welcome which includes chatty check out clerks in shops and very friendly waitstaff in restaurants
  • Sit down dining and table service and food on real plates with (real) knives and forks at “fast” food outlets
  • Incredible restaurants and so many of them
  • The humor, the banter, the quick moves between languages that speakers appear unaware of doing 
  • Children off to school (primary school) in beautiful uniforms but shoes are optional – at least where I am 
  • The (small) number of adults in the mall who are barefoot 
  • The apparently thriving economy
  • Load shedding – rather google it than have me try to explain
  • How long it takes to get ANYTHING done at a bank
  • Finally, if you want any news about the USA you have to really seek it out.
Worcester scenes
Church in the city
January 22, 2023


by Rod Smith

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

These ancient words recorded by Isaiah and expressed to ancient populations of Israel – sometimes faithful, mostly not – are easy to express as truth (for it is true!) but can be more difficult to embrace as something God may be showing to be true to you or to me on this day, in this season, at this juncture (whatever it may be) in 2023.

Surrender, it’s best.

Surrender, and learn. 

Surrender, and grow.

Surrender, and taste that the Lord is good.

I am not suggesting we throw in the White Flag of defeat but rather the agreement – by surrendering – and accepting that indeed God’s ways and thoughts are usually beyond my grasp.

I am best positioned to learn and grow when I willingly yield to God and invite God’s Grace and embrace the words of the prophet.

January 22, 2023

Unsearchable things…..

by Rod Smith

This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it–the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 3:2-3

Hout Bay / Western Cape
January 20, 2023


by Rod Smith

…… an evening meal…..

Where can I go from Your Presence?

January 20, 2023

For study and contemplation

by Rod Smith

Romans 12:14-21

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay
January 19, 2023

Reflection time?

by Rod Smith

When I am callous, short-tempered, sarcastic, indifferent, I know it is time for me to cease activities and to go aside.

It’s time to take stock and get back in touch with my humanity. The edginess, bristling, my snarky comments, are my warning signs. They warn me that I am getting pulled away from my humanity, my center, that I am avoiding something deep within me that’s aching to be addressed, and I am ready to ignore your humanity or at least be indifferent about you and to you.

My anxiety or busyness or odd feelings of elevated self-importance are doing what they always do, isolating me from who I really am, who I want to be. This false sense of being is isolating me also from you and all fellow travelers on this amazing shared journey.

If I catch myself in time, humble myself, recalibrate my goals, restate my vision, the most important shift that occurs within me is in perspective. The shift allows me to see you for who you are and gain a more accurate view of who I am and who I want to be.

Thankfully, I lose my coldness, my indifference toward self and others. 

As a result I am better able to care, to switch positions – in my imagination – with any person and ask myself “how, if I were he or she, would I like to be treated?” and then to do that.

Original work by Willem Onker
January 18, 2023

A series of conversations with my son…..

by Rod Smith