Full cup of joy goodwill
On Friday before the rugby world cup I arrived at a clinic where I consult to find most of the staff in, including the matron and nurses in green rugby jerseys. Upon enquiry I found that not only where many of them not really rugby supporters, but that they had also gone out of their way to acquire by any means green jerseys. On Saturday afternoon I took a long walk with one of my sons and three of his mates, four enormous young adults that make me look like a garden gnome through Yeoville, Berea and Hillbrow. They drew loud exited cheers of ama bokke bokke at every group of Saturday afternoon buddies socializing in the street. On Saturday night I was visiting in a cardiac ICU. There was an elderly cantankerous patient who had apparently been giving the staff a very hard time about wanting to watch the rugby. Eventually his flustered doctor arrived, himself anxious to get back home to watch the game. After some discussion the doctor conceded with a resigned sigh “OK you can watch the rugby” and the next thing the nurses where wheeling the bed, drips and machines with great mirth and team co-ordination into another ward where the man could watch his beloved sport. I fervently hoped at that point the boks would win if for no other reason than because I thought that this guy would not survive a defeat. What struck me about all of these experiences was the pro-active good-will that people were making a concerted effort to show. It was as if here was an opportunity to show that deep down we are all on the same team, we want to be on the same team regardless of whether we support the actual sport of not. These combined experiences were both incredibly heartening and also very humbling. It was as if we were not going to miss this opportunity to show our solidarity by supporting an event that has the power to bind us as a nation.
This experience emphasised how in relationships, unity and peace are not attributes that can exist by default. They have to be consciously pursued and deliberately communicated. When people express their intention to be connected and actively work on identifying with each other, the good-will that is generated is contagious.
After the match my son sent an SMS saying that the Queen might be British, but G-d is South African. I know that the Brazilians would dispute this. After witnessing so many acts for good-will, camaraderie and national esprit de corps-I thought that at least for that moment he’d made a good point. Oh if only every day was a world cup day.