The drought which is affecting Cape Town took my thinking along the course of ‘it all depends …’. The present situation is that 4 million people each have a ration of 13.2 gallons of water per day. Day Zero for water supplies to run out has recently been pushed back to 4th June. This dire situation is the result of winter rains having failed for 3 years. The 0.3 inches which fell last Friday night, although recognised as an answer to prayer, are not enough to fill the water dams.
Cape Bay, Cape Town, Cape Point, Table Mountain, the beautiful beaches and bays, and a coastal road aptly named ‘The Golden Route’ make this area one of the top tourist attractions of South Africa. My mother spoke of Table Mountain as resembling a large table with or without its tablecloth, depending on clouds descending on it in bad weather.
Should I question anybody about when the drought will come to an end, the answer is most likely to be ‘It all depends on when the rains come and how long it takes to restore the water levels’. For some situations, it really is true that ‘it all depends’ but there are other times a simple question can lead to our minds going into overdrive and we defer a direct answer when something is asked of us.
Perhaps, if we’re honest, we’re buying time to do what we think is best, often for ourselves, rather than for the other person. We can use any number of deflective statements, such as ‘We’ll see’, ‘Maybe’ and ‘I’ll think about it’. Perhaps, before we use such statements too freely, we should consider the effect that our hesitation will be having on the person requesting something from us. Does this protection of ourselves devalue the other person?
Clearly there are times when we do have to consider our response so that we don’t rush in just to please or because we would feel guilty if we said ‘no’. In thinking about this I have decided to be more definite in my replies. This leaves me feeling better – and the other person, that they matter to me. Only the Creator knows when the drought in Cape Town will end but may we all aim to be clear and definite in our responses to those situations that we can do something about.