Last night Mark and I went out to a rather fancy schmancy restaurant to celebrate nine years of wedded bliss. We popped along to the Morningside Mall (do rich people call it a mall?)
You could smell money in the air, as if it grew on the trees which lined the parking lot. The expensive luxury cars told tales of entrepreneurs, tenderpreneurs, government hot-shots and very desperate wannabees – if you were there last night I do apologise in advance…
We had dinner at Signature. A nice restaurant. The food was nice. The service was nice. The decor was nice. Dinner with the love of my life was more than nice, but even if we were sitting outside the MacDonald’s it would have been nice, given the occasion and the man I was celebrating it with.
What I found strange is that an evening at a ‘special’ restaurant for us seemed like a family night out for some. There were tables with mom, dad, granny, grandpa and two or three children. I looked around and took it all in. There were kids calling their friends from their iPads and Blackberrys. Cool young couples sipping Moet (a glass of Moet Rose cost us R240) as though it was cold drink and business people in the bar area ordering cognacs and brandy’s one after the other.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like Mark and I live paupers lives. We’re what some people call comfortable. But I found the people at this particular restaurant comfortably numb.
After dinner, just before Mark requested the bill, from a patron by mistake, I sat thinking about my life, where I am and what I have. I am blessed. I have an amazing husband, an awesome little girl and friends (old and new) that I hold close to my heart. Money, cars, designer clothes and brands no longer drive me and I measure my happiness not always by what can be seen but rather what can be felt. I am blessed. I am content.
When our bill arrived Mark nearly regurgitated his entire meal. It was over R1200 for the two of us! R1200 for ‘nice’? I know it’s not a lot of money nowadays and maybe I’ve just come a long way on Maslow’s hierarchy, but the idea that what we just paid for dinner could probably put a child through a year of school or support a family for a month, made me feel guilty and a little ostentatious.
By the time we got home I was feeling nauseous, maybe from the rich food or maybe from being surrounded by the rich and Mark was feeling a little offish from the cognac he had imbibed. Both of us were slightly green and ready to throw up but as Mark pointed out it would have been a very expensive upchuck…
Everyday I see people in need and when I see a mom and her baby begging on the side of the road, relying on people’s good will, my mind immediately goes to Emma. I often wonder about the life she would have had if she were not with us.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that the universe / G-d does not always give us what we want but it / He / She will make sure we have what we need. Mark, Emma and I have everything we need, in abundance, so this year Christmas is not about us. Whether it’s doing a Santa Shoebox or two, donating clothes, toys, food, time or money, this will be a season of giving for me.
I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Each week I will try and share some information on a charity, organization, person or people giving back and making a difference in the lives of those around them…
My pick for this week is The Bigshoes Foundation. Bigshoes exists to protect the rights of vulnerable children through holistic health, treatment and family interventions so children can grow up to fill big shoes!! Bigshoes is a registered non for profit company and Public Benefit Organisation. The organization is committed to improving the medical care of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) with special emphasis on those affected by HIV/AIDS. We do this by partnering with Government & other organizations to:
provide HIV testing, adoption medicals, ARV treatment and palliative care for OVC;
provide child health focused training for child caring professionals and caregivers
advocate and influence policy around the health care for OVC.
Anyone, anywhere can assist Bigshoes with their wish-list. Whether you have the gift of the gab and want to help with fundraising or you have the gift of the cab to help collect donations, Bigshoes needs you. The number-crunchers and legal-eagles out there can ‘donate’ their services by assisting with financial and legal issues.
You can also contribute things like colouring in books for kiddies while they wait to see the doctor, liquid hand soap, tape measures, wet wipes, paper towels.