Along with all the eating that goes on, this period for me is all about family, rest and reflection.
Reflection has been even more important for me because I had a bad experience on Christams eve and I now wish to share the lessons I learnt from this experience with you. I hope it will touch someone.
At about 12.05am on Christmas eve morning, I was upstairs getting the kids' Xmas presents sorted out and my husband was downstairs, tidying up. Suddenly, we heard loud banging on the front door. As it was soo late, I wondered who it could be. So, I looked through the upstairs window to see who was knocking. Before I could even make out the features of the person, I realised that my car - which was packed right in front of my house - was on fire. Yes, on FIRE!!!
Apparently, my neighbour had seen it and come over to tell us!
Panic mode set in as I rushed outside to see the damage. My hubby got on the phone to call the Fire Service. My neighbour then informed me that they had already called the Fire Service.
Well, to cut a long story short; within the 5 minutes it took for the Fire Service to come, the fire had spread to the engine and half of the windscreen was gone. We were then faced with the challenge of keeping an eye on this raging fire; keeping an eye on the house and also deciding whether to wake the kids - to drag them out of their beds! To say we were in shock was an understatement.
After the Fire service had put the fire out, the Police came to assess the damage and take witness statements. They concluded that the location of the fire suggested that it was delibreately set by someone! Yes, deliberately!
That bit of information made me feel sick as I thought of all the what ifs - What if my neighbour hadn't seen the fire on time? What if the fire had spread to my house? What if the fuel tank had exploded? What if the person who did this lived beside me? What if the person was coming back to cause more harm?
Even more questions......What had we done to deserve this? What kind of person would do this ......especially on Christmas Eve?
Luckily for us the kids slept right through the commotion so we took the decision not to tell them what happened because (a) we didn't want to spoil their Christmas and (b) we didn't want them worrying that someone somewhere was out to hurt their family!
That night, sleep eluded us as we lay in bed, staring at the ceiling and clinging to each other. Funny thing is I couldn't even cry. Not one tear...even till today...........................!
The following day, we went into protective mode - of our children - and arranged with our insurers to remove the burnt car from the front of the house. Luckily, they did this before the kids even got to see the burnt car. We then explained to them that our car had a fault and had gone for repairs. They were fine with this.....as their main concern was that they got their Christmas presents! LOLLL
I cannot lie to you and say that I was not shaken by this experience but the truth is I have experienced a lot in this life - relocating to a new country, several miscarriages, a near fatal car accident and two emergency medical operations - that I feel that I am a living testimony to the fact that God still works miracles ......every single day.
The first thoughts I had after the police told me that the fire was intentional, were - Is this a racisct attack? Who did it? Who have I offended? Hubby and I even discussed whether it could be any of the neighbours??????
Well, we made a conscious decision to hand over EVERYTHING to God.
It is sooo easy to hate and become paranoid and we refuse to be. It is so easy to go out and think that every Caucasian is a racist but I refuse to go down this path. If this is really a racist incident, I refuse to be a victim because for this one terrible incident I can count ten Caucasians that have been a blessing to us. And I will....
1. The specialist who helped me through my difficult pregnancies
2. The lecturer who took me under his wing and gave me sooo much confidence - academically
3. The nursery owner who took care of my 3 boys - even willing to defer payments when we were broke
4. The old lady in church - who I had never spoken to before - who bought chocolates for my kids when I was ill
5. The lesson teacher who took my first son - Prof1 - under her wing
6. The primary school teacher who made my second son - Cool2 - her 'personal project' (She liked him so much but he was a reluctant learner. She was so determined to encourage him that she called him her 'personal project'. She even took my mobile number so she could speak to me out-of-hours)
7. The teacher who gave Prof1 confidence - making him realise that being a nerd can be cool *smile*
8. The lady who was instrumental to my first professional break through
9. The colleague who taught me soo much...and overlooked my initial mistakes
10. The other colleague who always checks if I'm okay
11. The nursery teacher who my last son - Blanket3 - wants to 'marry' because she was toooo nice....she really is!
12. The old neighbour who always looks out for us and comes round with gifts for my kids
I know I said ten, but I really could go on.....
So, the lesson I have learnt is that YOU CHOOSE WHETHER A BAD EXPERIENCE WILL MAKE YOU OR BREAK YOU!
I choose to be a victor, not a victim. A conqueror, not the conquered! My favourite motivational passage in the Bible is Ephesians 6: 13-17.....
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
This passage potrays an empowered Christian as a Roman soldier - as illustrated in the diagram above - prepared for spiritual warfare and well equipped to combat evil. To be a believer is to have faith - through good times and bad ones.
No one knows what 2011 will bring, but if hindsight is anything to go by; every year brings its own ups and downs. So, I have armed myself with faith and hope. I thank God that my family was spared any physical harm. Whatever was lost can easily be replaced. If this was a hate crime, I pray for the perpetrators because to live with hate is to be a living corpse!
I absolutely REFUSE to let hatred from a few cloud the beauty of love I have received from soooo many!!!!
I wish you all a happy New Year.
Do let me know ONE key life lesson that you will take away from 2010........xoxoxoxox