Archive for ‘Difficult Relationships’

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

January 18, 2023

Reader responds with Something Beautiful

by Rod Smith

Dear Rod

In your column yesterday 17 January 2023 you encouraged your readers to write something beautiful. 

I did not write this. My daughter, Kate, did years ago when she was a teenager. She wrote me a letter on Mothers’ Day. 

This excerpt is taken from that letter.

“ In King Lear, Cordelia, the king’s daughter, remained silent while her sisters lied as they flattered their father, just to get land and power out of him.

When he asked how much she loved him ( and she was his favourite ) she didn’t say a word as she felt she could not heave her heart into her mouth. This is exactly how I feel about you. I’m just giving you this gift as a token of my appreciation for all that you’ve ever done for me and continue to do, and hope with all my heart that you can understand how much I love you.”


I read this letter annually before I tuck it into the front of my new diary. It lifts my soul and reminds me what a gift love is; to give and to receive.

Thank you again for your wonderful column.

Kind regards

Dawn Rice

January 18, 2023

Thulani speaks

by Rod Smith
January 17, 2023

A conversation with my son..

by Rod Smith