On Friday we made the ten hour journey back home. We had an uneventful but enjoyable journey, enlivened by two pit stops. At the second one, just beyond Harrismith, we sat under a thatch-roofed picnic area and ate our egg mayonnaise sandwiches and drank our Pepsi Max. Nearby a man was selling walking sticks with a knob at one end like a knopkierie. I was thinking about buying one but wasn’t sure what they cost, so didn’t want to show too much interest. I had drawn R200 for the journey and had already spent some of it.
A man in his fifties walked past with one of the walking sticks. I asked him what it had cost.
“R150,” he replied, “as the Bible says, one good deed a day keeps the devil away.”
I queried whether that was really in the Bible, because I had never come accross it.
“It’s in my bible,” he said, “That’s what I taught my kids.”
Those words inspired me and made up my vacillating mind. It was now not so much about acquiring a walking stick, but helping support a craftsman who was providing for his family.
When we went closer to look at the sticks, we found out the man’s name was Steven. He made the sticks from teak railway sleepers, using only hand tools. Each one was beautifully crafted and decorated with different patterns. I bought one and my husband gave Steven the last of our little booklets of John’s Gospel that we had been given.
Whenever I use my walking stick, I will remember how a stranger’s words had acted as God’s guidance and how I was blessed to meet an interesting fellow South African.
Dear Lord, today may I be attentive to people, situations and interruptions so that my ears are open to Your voice and I may see You more clearly in everyday life. Amen.