I was driving over the mountain (Ou Kaapse) in endless Cape Town drizzle & gave an elderly woman on the corner a lift. (I don’t often stop like this but my Mr. does, especially in the rain, & I was inspired by him.) The lovely tannie I met was Elizabeth.
Friendly & content she chatters to me a bit about her life. She lives in Ocean View & is still working as a tea lady in an office though she’s old enough to have great grandchildren.
She’s not a young woman anymore so she has to tuck into bed before it gets too cold in the evenings she says; it’s not her favourite time of year though she loves the sound of the rain.
One night last week she got into bed the moment she got home – just to warm up before going to a prayer meeting. Elizabeth almost didn’t make it to church because staying in bed was so tempting. I was struck by how similar our experiences were, regardless of how different our lives might look. I often fight the temptation to stay in bed when I should get up to pray.
She was disciplined enough to go out again that evening, & fell asleep next to the fire at church. The sound of the rain joining the sound of their prayers through the cold tin roof.
I learned a lot from fifteen minutes with this gentle soul, with gold rings on each finger and a wide gap-filled smile. I gleaned wisdom from her years – about family & work & discipline & prayer. I hope that others are lucky enough to give her a lift back over the mountain.