Having just completed the reading of the newly published ‘Song for Sarah: Lessons from my Mother’, I cannot but comment on this milestone by Jonathan Jansen and Naomi Jansen.
It is, indeed, an ‘antidote’, as Jonathan and Naomi determined it would be. It shatters the stigma we hold of the ‘Cape Flats Mother’.
But here is a work, a literary work, that goes beyond that noble purpose. It paints the clear markings on a journey down memory lane that everyone born in the late 50s and early 60s in the Western Cape will recognize. More than recognition, you will laugh, sigh and you will weep and probably feel a great deal of healthy guilt all so carefully and skillfully crafted by the genius and authentic reflections of both authors – she is, after all, their mother.
Their very thoughtful 3rd person stance is a tribute to the humility needed to let Sarah speak to us all, untainted by the sometimes lopsided ambitions of authors and publishers. I particularly valued this attitude because it cleared the way to visualize the dreams and childhood of Sarah more clearly, become inspired by her brilliance and genius, felt awe and amazement at the skill of navigating life, saddened by the tragedies of a mother’s loss, a society’s brokeness and a stumbling community of faith.
Through it all, Jonathan and Naomi allowed us into a private place where, as they themselves concluded, ‘When you go home, you go to your mother.’ In doing so, without them alluding to it in any way, we, who know them, understand that the crafting of this memory, the journey and accomplishment of the authors are all, by Grace, the evidence that the Song for Sarah is still being sung.
I heard it and felt it in my soul – ‘How Great Thou Art’.