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Monday, 18 July 2016

Wellness Journal 4: Making Time For Quiet Time

We live such rushed lives that the time we have left over to spend with God is either completely exhausted, or there is so little of it left, that it begins to resemble somewhat more of a take-away dinner, than a three-course meal. For today's entry of my Wellness Journal, I address this issue while exploring choice of words and phrases when writing your journal entry in the form of poetry.

I start by writing the poem in pencil. This way I can change words or phrases or edit whole stanzas if need be, without my paper becoming too much of a mess. I will rewrite the poem in its original Afrikaans here and then post the translation into English with the next photo.


Vanuit die veld hoor ek my God roep
"Môre my kind. Kom sit. Gesels."
Maar ek jaag verby, want ek is haastig
"Nie nou nie. Later. Nou moet ek eers ..."

Lunch time hoor ek God roep bo die geskarrel
"Middag my kind. Kom Sit. Gesels."
Maar ek is haastig. Daar's 'n lys met 'n duisend dinge
"Nie nou nie. Later. Nou moet ek eers ..."

Vasgevang in die laatmiddagverkeer, hoor ek God roep
"Middag my kind. Jy sit nou. Kom ons gesels."
Maar dis belangriker om te hoor wat die radio oor die traffic sê
"Nie nou nie. Later. Ek wil nou eers by die huis kom."

Met die huis versorg is daar tyd om voor die tv te ontspan
"Naand my kind. Noudat jy sit, kan ons mos maar gesels."
Maar ek is moeg, nie lus vir skuldgevoelens of nuwe opdragte nie
"Net nie nou nie. Miskien môre. Ek wil net bietjie rus."

En dan bars 'n bom in my netjies geordende lewe
en alles wat ek vertrou lê in chaos en ek bal my vuis na bo
"Waar was U dat U dit nie kon verhoed nie? Te besig?!"
Maar soos ek die woorde bulder, voel ek die klag aan my eie lyf

"My kind."
"Is U nog daar?"
"Altyd my kind. Kom sit. Gesels."

deur Miekie

I then rewrite the poem in a colour that appeals to me. Here is the English translation of the poem:

Quiet Time

I hear God calling from the direction of the field
"Morning my child. Come. Sit. Let's talk."
But I rush past Him, because I am busy
"Not now. Later. I first have to ..."

At lunch time I can hear God calling above the bustle
"Afternoon my child. Come. Sit. Let's talk."
But I am in a hurry. The list of chores is endless.
"Not now. Later. I first have to ..."

Caught in the afternoon traffic, I hear God calling
"Afternoon my child. You're sitting down. Let's talk."
But it is more important to listen to the traffic broadcast
"Not now. Later. I want to get home first."

With the chores done, there is time to relax in front of the TV.
"Evening my child. We can talk now that you are already seated."
But I am tired and don't feel like getting new instructions or burdened with guilt
"Just not now. Maybe tomorrow. Let me rest a while."

And then a bomb explodes in my neatly organized life
and everything I trusted lies in ruins and I fist my hands to the sky
"Where were You that You could not have prevented this? Too busy?!"
But as I shout these words out, I feel the charge on my own skin

"My child."
"Are You still there?"
"Always my child. Come. Sit. Let's talk."

By Miekie

The next step is to erase the pencil writing. Let me take time to walk you through the planning of this poem. A huge part of our relationship with God consists of repetitive words and actions. The poem mirrors this in its own repetitiveness. It disregards a number of punctuation rules, but keeps some. The reason I chose to do this is because we tend to do the same when practicing religion. We will keep certain rules, but completely disregard others. I also opted to use slang words in the original translation, throwing in English terminology that has become common use in spoken Afrikaans, e.g. 'traffic'. Again, this was done on purpose. We become very comfortable with phrases in our religion, with little or no thought to their meaning. We shout Amen and Hallelujah, etc. without stopping to consider the meaning of the words. If we used their English (or Afrikaans) translations, we may rethink their use in our everyday language. When I use English words, instead of perfectly available Afrikaans words in the poem, I wish to draw attention to this laissez faire (nonchalant) attitude we have towards choosing our words in conversation.
There is also a natural progression in time. We move from the morning, where we have lots of time, to the evening, where time is running out. As we progress the words ascribed to God, becomes more urgent. There are fewer full stops in these sentences. More words are used. The appeal becomes stronger. However, our own voice also becomes more insistent and slightly more irritated. "Just not now." instead of "Not now." The definite delay becomes a mere possibility; "Maybe tomorrow." We don't even bother with excuses of things to do. Rest is excuse enough. It is not that there is any substantial thing to prioritize, now God is shoved aside for ' doing nothing'.
When chaos erupts, we find for the first time in the poem that one line runs over to the next, instead of being neatly contained in a single line, or even fitting more than one sentence into a line. This is done to illustrate the disorder and lack of control that life has become.
The last stanza slows down dramatically. Now we manage only one word in a line. This is to illustrate to what extent we have slowed down our lives and how focused we have become. Finally God has become our priority. Lastly, the poem strives to illustrate our own fickleness and doubts, but God remains steadfast and unchanged throughout the whole poem. His goals for us also remains fixed and unwavering.

With the poem written, it is time to work on the illustration. I do a double-spread layout for this journal entry and the illustration is done in landscape orientation. I start with a pencil drawing.

I then used coloured fibre tip pens to redraw the lines, before erasing the pencil lines.

I use Derwent Inktense bars to paint the illustration with.

I use a Pentel Aquash Brush to lift the Ink from the bar.

It is then painted, like watercolours, onto the illustration.

I keep the style very loose and disorderly, even haphazard. This is to accentuate the idea that we do not make time for God in our daily lives. The illustration is of a car speeding up to a drive-through to order take-aways. On the menu there is a list of items with fixed prices:
A daily devotional - Price: 5 minutes
A short prayer - Price: 2 minutes
A chapter in the Bible - Price: 15 minutes
Psalm 23 - Price: 3 minutes
A TV sermon - Price: 30 minutes
A religious Facebook post - Price: 30 seconds
Time spent with God - Price: Sit down only
The intention of the illustration is not to say that there is anything wrong with any of the items listed on the menu. It merely intends to convey the message that a nutritious meal for a healthy relationship with God should include quality time spent with God, anf not only consist of these 'quick fixes'.

The final journal entry looks like this.

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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