Last night I drove my scooter down a narrow alley, and passed an old woman who was riding her bicycle. In a rusted wire basket above her front tire was a large bundle of fresh palm leaves, from which she would weave small baskets to sell. These woven treasures will be filled with flowers, rice and gifts for the Gods, and placed on alters with glowing incense sticks protruding from them. On the back of her bicycle were stacks of clean folded laundry – personal trophies representing a long backbreaking days work, en route to be distributed to their owners in fancy villas.As I smiled, wished her a good evening in Balinese, and continued past her, I asked myself the same questions I’ve asked so many times before. Who am I? Why am I on a scooter while she peddles a rusted bike in waning light?
I was born in Africa, the dark continent, where so many are desperate, dying of disease and live in fear. When my mother was little she lived in a hut with a dirt floor, hardened with fresh cow manure mixed with water. Her mother died when she was 8 and her father when she was 11. While growing up our family started from scratch several times – one of them being when we left Rhodesia and lived on the beach in a tent in South Africa. I have continued that trend with my children, as we have started over 5 times now – each time beginning with just our clothing and a few personal odds and ends. Am I cursed? Am I blessed? Am I a bad mother? A terrible example?
I’m the girl who very rarely feels pretty yet constantly tells my girls how beautiful they are, and am frustrated that they don’t see it. I am not very bright – just ask my husband who has a IQ to boast about. But, I am smart enough to recognize the genius and endless potential in my children and the miracles of nature.
This is not by any means a pity party, but a prayer of gratitude for constant guidance, unconditional love and blessings from my Maker – all for which I am not worthy. I am Belinda. Just the girl next door who bleeds red, is covered in scars, carries a pacemaker in her chest and fails often but tries to be a good mom, a good wife and a good person. I’m sure my elderly friend on the bicycle is striving for the same. She is my sister. We are equal and can and must be more real. I want to be more vulnerable and am trying to learn how…perhaps this blog is an attempted first step. I feel sad, I hurt, I cry, I am strong, I am happy and I am fearless, but mostly I am grateful.