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Vus
VUS.ISM: LOOKING FOR GOD. IN THE MOMENT.
09H48 WEDNESDAY, 16 APRIL 2014
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Is God, living or is living, God? Is He a being consisting of itself or is He a process of…moments?

Now that we got the deep ish out of the way, let’s chat about some of the stuff that happens in life that we struggle to explain.

I don’t know where you stand with the concept of God but what is “fact” is that He/it/whatever noun you use, is a physically intangible presence. He’s presence said to be found in the very fabric of existence, (and according to religions) explained in all manner of written books of scripture, his nature revealed in how life unfolds, both in good and bad ways.

I believe in God. I believe that there is one God. I believe you can call him whatever you choose and you can show your devotion accordingly. I do not believe in a God of four walls, the God of favourites.

We all have channels through which we believe we interact with our Higher Being through. I was recently reminded by how God can actually be a, well… moment, a sequence of human interactions.

I was working on a shoot for the upcoming VUS.ISM book (yes, VUS.ISM has a book coming out soon :). The crew and I had been working for nearly 24 hours straight. We were shooting somewhere near Newtown, Jozi, in some dark street at around 1am. A man approached us, seemingly just another Joburg beggar. He came to me and said, “sir, I don’t want money, I need help”.

We figured that there was no harm in giving him an ear.

“My name is Allan. I am from Sudan. I have been in South Africa for 4 days. I came here looking for my brother, I have not found him. I was robbed, they took my money and my passport. I have not eaten for 4 days and I am trying to get to the Sudanese Embassy in Pretoria at this address…”

He takes shows us a note with addresses on it.

“I am not a bad person. You are the only people who have listened to me ever since I left the border. I came here to find work so that I can help my family. My family is in a refugee camp in Darfur. This is my family…”

He shows us two photographs of him and his family. His wife. His mother. His  father. From those photographs, you would think that Allan comes from a royal family. He and his family, beautiful wife, they look majestic.

“I am not a bad person. I am a teacher, I teach the Quran. I just need help to find my brother. So I can find work to help my family. They are in a refugee camp. This is my family…”

He shows us two photographs of him and his family. He’s wife. His mother. His  father. From those photographs, you would think that Allan comes from a royal family. He and his family, beautiful wife, they look majestic.

“No one wants to talk to me. I have not eaten in 4 days since I left the border. I have not cleaned myself. I just need help to find my brother. I need to help my family. This is my family…”

He shows us two photographs of him and his family…

Allan begins to cry. He cries like I’ve never seen a grown man cry before. It is deep. It is messy. It is awkward. It is horrible. It is…painful.

I ask him to go sit in the car, while we wrap up the shoot, then we will sort him out. He starts to pray for us.

When a deeply spiritual person has lost everything, when they are at their lowest point, they pray for with the only thing they have left, the voice of God. When a person who has seen God’s face and has lost everything, when they pray for you out of gratitude, they pray with every fibre of their being. The prayers of a faithless man who has lost everything are nothing but hollow echoes of feeble desperation that ring in the night, trust me I know, I’ve been him.

Anyway…

We sort out Allan’s logistics for getting to the embassy and we drop him off where he is going to sleep for the night. He prays for us, again.

We head to another location and shoot some more. We leave Joburg enroute to another location. It’s around 3:30am. The crew is exhausted and they pass out, while I drive. I am exhausted and I pass out, while I drive.

“Something” wakes me up and I am doing over 120km/h and there is someone squatting in the middle of the road a few meters in front of the car. THERE IS SOMEONE SQUATTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD A FEW METERS IN FRONT OF THE CAR, I AM DOING OVER 120! LIKE...TF? The moment I saw him I knew that it was too late. He was too close and I was going too fast. I don’t even break because I know the car won’t stop in time. I swerve the car as fast and as far as I can. I feel the weight of the car on the steering and I figure that I’m probably going to lose control because I swerved too hard and too fast. I brace for impact with the dude, or the car rolling off the road, one of the two. I swerve hard right then hard left, to get out of the way of the oncoming car.

The car swerves as commanded, then…except for the sound of the tyres on the road and the engine, nothing, just silence. Even if both Nel and Roux put it to me, I would not be able to explain why how I missed that guy. He was too close and I was going too fast.

I pull the car over, I am trembling. I look in the rear view mirror and I see a police car pull over, to pick the guy up, I guess. The crew was woken by the car swerving and they asked what happened. I am trembling. All I can hear in my head is Allan’s prayers, echoing God. His voice, the intensity of a man praying all his might, grateful for mercy.

There are things that happened to Allan, the Quran teacher from Sudan, that cost him everything and landed him on a dark street in Jozi, hungry, homeless and lost. Those things led to him praying for a bunch of strangers, from the bottom of his soul. Those prayers saved lives. Our lives.

It is very easy to 'logically' explain what 'might' have happened. But it is very hard to explain what 'did' happen. Isn't that what God is, some things that we cannot explain?

Is God living or is living, God? Is He a being consisting of itself or is He a process of…moments?

 Words & Illustration: Vus (@JustVus)

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    But I have failed. So this is me acknowledging having been moved by this.

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