A Stand-off Between Dreams and Fears

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Today’s post is by one of my favourite women on the planet—a fellow South African, a dear friend, a lioness. Her name is René August and she serves as an Anglican priest in Cape Town, and I met her through Amahoro Africa. I suggest you watch the short 3-min. video first. (Our email subscribers, please click through.) I asked René  to tell us a little bit about herself and, when you watch it, I think you’ll get a glimpse of why I think this woman is so phenomenal. She touches on calling and describes that moment when the bishop laid hands on her during her ordination in the most beautiful way. She talks about living through lenses of kindness and adds,”We cannot faithfully live alone.” But you need to hear her say it in her beautiful voice. I love listening to René and there have been a few nights (and days) when we danced together under African skies. It’s an honour and a joy to welcome René to SheLoves. –@idelette xoxo

“What you see is not what you’re looking at, but what what you’re looking with” – Dan Jones

So, I agreed (I don’t know why) to do a vlog post for SheLoves once a month. This month, my sister has had my camera for the holidays, so I’m trying to write as well. Though truthfully, not just because she has my camera, but because I need to write! Right!?

One day, I was meeting with a friend who is a life coach, and we had a surprising conversation revolving around the book, The 4-hour Work Week. My friend asked, “René, what if you could only work for two days a week for the rest of your life, what would you do with those two days?”

Without hesitation, I said: I would write! I would meet with people for a third of the time and for two thirds of the time, I would write! (Where did that come from?) I was surprised and happy in a way I had never been, at this realization. So, today I stand here with both my spoken and written words.

Stand is a verb, a doing word. I stand in a story–a BIG story. Many stories, actually. Stories of myself and stories of others, all shaping, forming, and calling me. Assigning me roles. Scripting, engaging, and limiting me.

When I stand, I am present and I am here, and I fill my own shoes. When I stand, I bring what I have into the story, and then surrender to the bigger story.

The picture that comes to mind for me is from the mid 80’s in the neighbourhood I grew up in near Cape Town, South Africa. Hundreds of soldiers (boys, really) in army uniform armed with guns, tear gas, and rubber bullets. On the other side, hundreds of school children in school uniforms, armed with dreams for a better future–a dream of freedom and a dream for the release of our beloved Mandela, to whom we sang to inspire us.

A stand-off between dreams and fears. How often is that the story I stand in? Unwelcome fears stand in their place, creating a story that is not of my dreaming. The scripts are in conflict, causing me to sit down and be a spectator instead of a participant. But where would South Africa be if our beloved Nelson Mandela allowed the story of his dreams to be overtaken by the story of fear told by the machinery of apartheid?

Fears hide behind other fears, disguised as wisdom and even kindness. Fears linger and echo between the lines in the story, saying, “You are too small, too much, too little, you don’t have what it takes, you know too little, read too little.” (I do read too little.) But the fear behind my fear of writing is that I will say something in public or on the internet and it will expose my ignorance—expose me, leaving me vulnerable with no place to hide, standing alone.

What am I going to do now, Idelette? I can see you smiling—and Kelley and Caroline and Nicole and Ruth and others who have heard in-person the story of my fears. Busted, right!? But, we know the other side, too—when  our story arms us with dreams and we know the joy of not being alone in this, but with others who stand alongside us.

In the midst of fear, we can stand joyful, and even free. When we don’t allow the story of fear to define us, instead, we dream a dream bigger than the fear and stand in that story, tall in our dreams.

I stand, therefore I write.

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Réne August

Réne August

I am René Evelyn August, the youngest of three beautiful daughters born into a family of courageous women. I love being with people, I love the Bible, I love talking and listening to stories and I love, love, love telling stories. I live by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Unless there’s something you’re prepared to die for, you have nothing to live for.” I dream of a world where women are free, truly free to dream and explore and live without fear of being compared to men. I dance–all the time–and all the time, I dance. On the inside, there’s always a song and drum and bass line and there’s always a harmony in my ear. I choose to be a servant of the church and I serve as a Anglican Priest in a local parish in Cape Town. I love South Africa and and all the countries of Africa. I like to make the point that Africa is a CONTINENT, not a country or a city. I love being in the bush, smelling the rain, sitting in the wind, watching animals and inspecting the shapes that trees make, while counting the shades of green I can see without moving my eyes. I love sunsets and red sand and Namibia and the desert and driving and food and eating. I love cheese and wine. I once prayed, “Lord, you can ask me to do anything, and ask me to go anywhere, but what am I going to do about good cheese and great wine?” I love Mandela and Tutu–the fathers, the elders, the sages I have been lucky enough to hear.
Réne August

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