Reflections of Life produces gorgeous short films that uplift the personal stories of ordinary people, with the goal of sharing ideas and inspiring change. We feel hugely blessed to feature video-stories that filmmakers Michael and Justine capture with exquisite expertise, and which so beautifully illustrate grateful living principles and practices. In this short film we hear from Morné Pretorius.

Learn more about Reflections of Life (formerly Green Renaissance) through our Grateful Changemaker feature.

Questions for Reflection

  • Which part or parts of Morné’s story resonated with you the most?
  • In your own life, what experiences have shifted your perspective?
  • What message would you write on a park bench for others to see?

We invite you to share your reflections below the video transcript that follows.

Video Transcript

“Glass half full or glass half empty” is a good way of looking at it. You can choose to see the good in life. And you can just as easily choose to see the bad. I believe that it’s a decision that we make. Every little thing that I have experiences has been the reason that I am where I am today. Life is a learning curve. Every single day is the day where you know more than you knew yesterday.

We often don’t realize that any day could be our last. It is precious to know that you are here today to experience this life. You must experience, accept, and appreciate every little thing. The more you can appreciate, the richer you are. It’s wonderful to know that you have the time that you have now.

2012, the 16th or 17th of September, I was in a car accident that evening. We were on out way home and I was driving. A wheel burst and the car rolled. I was thrown from the car. I spent one month in a coma. My dad had to see me lying there in the road. It brings me to tears because that’s not something I’d want to do to someone that I love in the way that I love my mom and my dad. That hurts.

You need to make peace with what has happened in your life. It took me a long time to come to that understanding. Love yourself and everything else will fall into place. It is humbling to say that you forgive yourself. It’s then that you come to realize what you feel in your heart. It allows me to love the people around me. I can love them because I know what it means to love. Life is far too short to criticize yourself to the point where you don’t do anything, where you’re inactive.

What happened, it might have been difficult, but it doesn’t mean that you are that. It wasn’t something that has to define the rest of your life. I can’t waste time by blaming myself. You’re supposed to be your own best cheerleader, your best coach. We can take the steering wheel and use it to steer our lives in the direction that we choose.

What happened to me in the past wasn’t nice, but I am so grateful for what I have learned from that experience. It put things into very clear perspective. I have a broader outlook on life now than I ever had before. I can laugh at myself a lot because you realize things that used to bother you. It doesn’t bother me anymore that my floor has a bit of dust on it, but it used to bother me a lot. And now I’m thinking to myself, you’ve come a long way to start accepting a lot of things in life. Don’t complicate it.

Now I see the beauty in life. The point is not to have perfection in my house. It’s more to love perfectly.

There are many complicated thoughts that come up when someone asks me, “Why are you here?” When we’re gone, what do people remember? I believe our goal should be to leave a good impression. Take a look in the mirror and realize that you have so much potential. You can help to enrich the lives of people around you. Because if you smile at someone, you enrich them. If you laugh with someone, you enrich them. If you do something for someone else, you enrich them. Your actions are the lasting positivity that you can leave in this world. And that brings joy to your heart. Your spirit is full.

Just be ‘lekker.’ Just be nice. That’s what I’d write on a park bench. Somewhere where people sit and gaze out into the distance. I think most people would have a smile on their faces after reading that.

“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” It’s a cliche, but it’s got a similar point to it. You are walking this life. Make sure that you leave beautiful steps behind. That would be a good life. That should be what you leave in your wake.

To support Michael and Justine in their film-making journey, visit Reflections of Life.

Reflections of Life

Reflections of Life

About the author

Justine and Michael are a creative couple living in South Africa.  Their project, Reflections of Life (formerly Green Renaissance), works to spread positive stories that reflect the wonder of the world. With the goal of sharing ideas and inspiring change, they produce gorgeous short films that are posted online and available for anyone, anywhere, to watch and share freely.


Through their films, they explore what it means to be human. They touch on topics that can often be difficult for people to discuss – from loss of a loved one to aging and retirement to friendship to love and courage – universal themes that we all deal with at some stage in our lives.


By sharing these stories, Justine and Michael hope to remind us of one simple truth – that we are all human – that inside our hearts and minds, we are all facing similar challenges.  We have so much to learn from each other, and our connections run so much deeper and stronger than we think. Learn more and support their work at