Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Valentine Lange (née Reinecke) - 12/09/1946 – 12/09/2008

- Mary Anne Botha -

I offer this tribute to a friend in the hope that it will trigger memories for others, aware that I can only point to the complex wonderful person who lived in our community for ten years of her life.

I know very little of Valentine's life prior to our meeting in Johannesburg on the eve of her departure for Prince Albert. For my part I was happy, recognising that we would be living in the same town and that I had things to learn from her. I wouldn't say that we were instant friends, for she was never very interested in liking or being liked. She practised the wisdom of being who she was, no more no less.
I am reluctant to put words to the kind of person that she was, to 'freeze' her into a characterisation, but yes, Valentine was a strong individual. She was feisty rather than fey; content rather than happy; conscious rather than charming; spacious rather than spacey and steely rather than soft.

She was a good friend, loyal but never a flatterer, as her keen intelligence did not tolerate foolishness in those close to her. I learned from her, noting how she did things. She offered me (and many others) insights into her world - its energies, its flux, its decay and renewal. She was in tune with her environment and was a wonderful guide in the surrounding landscape.

She made and surrounded herself with beautiful things: crystals and strings of coloured glass beads to capture the light; chimes to catch the wind; textures and colour and patterns. She gardened with rocks and pebbles as well as plants; she knitted stylish jerseys 'for poor babies' while she watched Oprah and Egoli (of late switching her allegiance to Sewende Laan). She blended great pawpaw smoothies and concocted a delicious 'feijoada', for every special occasion.

She opened her home to visitors and students, and although a woman happy to keep her own company, her strong spiritual purpose drove her to communicate with others.

She walked the path of a healer, practising a form of healing kindness known as reiki, which she described as working with 'the life force behind every human being'. She readily taught others the skills inherent in her healing disciplines.

She loved Prince Albert, and only left for Pretoria when her ill health prevented her from being able to earn a living. There, as big sister to her brother Pieter and sister Martinda, she was supported by her family during her last two years. Friends continued to visit her and to be trained, informally as well as formally!

Dear friend, as your journey continues, may you be fearless and without illusion, and may you realise the freedom and purity of your abiding nature.

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