My Liewe Ouma
Some of the greatest historical events have been woven into, and depicted by tapestries which are still regarded in awe today. Similarly, Ouma's and my Granny's lives weave a tapestry which is intricate in historical and cultural events.
My grandmother was twelve years older than Ouma is, but both of you lived parallel lives in so many ways. As a child, I would sit enthralled for hours listening to the details of a time gone by. Ouma grew up on a cattle farm, and my gran grew up in the Karoo farming sheep and ostriches. This was a time, as Ouma knows, of self-subsistence. Candles and soap were hand made. Fish was pickled and hams were smoked. Fruit from the orchard was picked and laid on racks in the sun to dry. Great portions of sweet sun ripened fruit were preserved and bottled. Jams were made and sealed with wax in bottles. The sweet smell of bubbling chutneys would fill the farm kitchen, and the larder was always stacked with beskuit. It was a life of hard physical labour under the dome of an African sky.
Neighbours were far away, but would always help at sheep shearing time, and I am sure that Ouma's neighbours could equally be counted on in times of need. Life revolved around the seasons, and if the rivers were swollen in flood, there was no passage through, even for the postman who arrived on horseback every two to three months.
Ouma's family life has spanned an era encompassing the Anglo Boer war, the First World War and the Second. My great grandfather, for German descent, as fought in the bloody local wars as a bugle boy at the age of sixteen. I am sure that Ouma's family felt as threatened by the English soldiers as my granny's did. On two or three occasions she remembers the English soldiers riding up to the farmhouse where her sisters were compelled to serve them beskuit and coffee. At this time, her father hid his horses up a dried riverbed, and his vÍrkykers in the well so they would not be taken.
Ouma will remember the rigours of the First World War where many young men were cut down in their youth. Ouma will also remember how her children were affected by the Second World War. But, of greatest import to Ouma, will be the fact that so many lives were needlessly taken and senselessly lost. Families became pawns in greater political events, caught up and cut down by fate. However, throughout all of these events< I believe that Ouma will agree, that the one constant in this time called life would be the love of God. This one thread in Ouma's life has woven a constant throughout time - the thread of love. Ouma's life has portrayed by example the following words - Romans 8:35 & 37-39:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Ö No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord".
And so, with golden threads of memory, we equate you, our Ouma, with all the definitions of the word Love. It is my belief that this characteristic "Love" encompasses all the fruits of the Spirit, for "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives Life". Therefore dearest Ouma, - 1 Cor 3-12 " If any man builds on this foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light" Ouma's heart is full of the fruit of love and Ouma's life is representative of a Fountain of Love from which all of us, as family, have drunk and been refreshed.
And so, Ouma, I conclude by saying "thank you" for your example to so many. Thank you for the light that has shown so many the way. Thank you for fulfilling the law in Christ Jesus, for: Romans 13:8 "let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law".
We carry the thread of your life forward in our hearts. And so now, I leave you Ouma with all my love, 'in Him who first loved us'.