DEAR MUMMY

I wrote this piece 3 years ago, but for some reason I have never published it anywhere. I think that now is as good a time as any…

I’m not sure when you’re going to read this but I’m writing it on the night of your 50th birthday. You’re thousands of miles away and we’ve just finished a long conversation. Talking to you today brought back memories. For example:

  • Do you remember when I was 7 and came to you and told you that I knew you weren’t my real mother? You never once yelled or scolded over the next 2 years as I told all and sundry that my real mother was away and coming back to save me from your evil clutches. 21 years later, I smile as I look into the mirror and see a face that becomes more and more like yours with every passing day. I realize that you taught me something about that time; love doesn’t need to claim, assert or demand. It rests securely in the assurance of what is.
  • Then, when I was 10, I fell very ill and no one seemed to know what was wrong. I’ll never forget the hot afternoon when you put me on your back and carried me to the road to pick a taxi to take us to the hospital. I don’t know what fears and prayers ran through your mind during that long walk, but I look back on it and realize that even though love comes with responsibilities, there’s nothing you can do that is too much for those you love.
  • I remember those nights when we would stay up late making snacks for some wedding or the other. For some reason those nights always seem to be so full of laughter and fun. It was more pleasure than work to stay with you as we put finishing touches to what needed to be done. And now, as I jump into one project after another, I think back on those times and see how I have learned the virtues of hard work and the dignity in honest labour.
  • When I was starting university I had no clothes and we had no money, so you took some of yours to your tailor and had them taken in for me. I walked proudly into school the following week, uncaring that I wore hand-me-downs. Funny enough, no one mocked me or said anything. So today when I stand with people who are older than me, and I speak and they listen, I realize I had learned what you were trying to teach me; that self respect does not come from the money in your pocket or the titles after your name.
  • There were new friends that you did not like, new habits you did not approve of, and I would get very upset at you as you told me that I was underperforming. Now, developing my multitudes of skills, I see that you saw a far bigger me than I did then, and you were not willing to sacrifice my potential for my comfort.
  • I think back to when our world shuddered on its axis and you seemed to fall to pieces. I had never seen you cry so much…or pray so much. As you turned to me, I learnt that love is a 2 way street, sometimes I’ll lean on you, and sometimes you’ll lean on me.
  • This evening, talking to you on your 50th birthday, I listened to you talk about your plans for the future, your hopes and your dreams and I realized that I’m still learning from you. Youth is not an unlined face; it’s a mind that has never stopped asking questions, it’s a heart that is still yearning for more.

In the 27 years that we have known each other, you have been many things to me: a rock, a comfort, a terror, a hand of God, an antagonist and a task master. This evening, laughing with you, I realized that somehow, you have become my best friend. I don’t only love you Mummy, I respect and admire you. The person I am and that I will be was built on the foundations of the lessons that you taught me; not just with your words, but with your actions as I learnt to look at you and truly see you. It’s an honour to be your child, and if I become one tenth the woman that you are, I will be a proud person indeed.

Advertisements

LOVE QUESTIONED AND HOPE DEFERRED

Last year, I asked God for a lot of things; actually, I’ve been asking Him for some things for a couple of years now. And every time a Pastor asked us to write a list or every time I felt inspired to, I would dutifully write my list, pray over it, sow over it, hand it in…whatever action was required.

I don’t know when my enthusiasm began to flag…I can’t say when exactly. I know that at some point I realised that I was sowing in church only because I wanted something…so I stopped throwing money at the pulpit. I started examining what I was listening to more critically, became quietly distant from talk of abundance and somehow I stopped asking with an expectation of an answer, my lists became “realistic”, I decided “waiting for a miracle” was a euphemism for “I want stuff that I cannot afford”.

I’m not sure when, I just know that I stopped asking with a true expectation to receive. When I asked, I asked the way we ask a benefactor whose disposition we cannot be sure is favourable to us…from a distance, with a slight sense of dread and with no real faith in a favourable answer.

With every day that my prayers did not come true, all I know is that I became quietly less hopeful. My exuberant belief in God’s abundance of provision turned to pursed lipped endurance and quiet forbearance… do you know the type I mean? Yes I knew that God was good, I just didn’t know if He wanted to be good to me.

Anyway, something happened last week that broke my heart…I found myself on the ground, weeping my heart out and asking God “How much longer?”. I wept and just spoke my heart to God (as an aside, I don’t agree with people that say God does not respond to our tears, according to the Bible, He puts my tears in His bottle, each one is precious to Him). When I finished, I didn’t hear a loud voice…or even a still small one…I did remember a snippet of scripture…Can a mother forget her suckling child? Yes she may, but I will not forget you.

It comforted me and then, in the next few days, something strange started to happen. I started to remember where I was last year, the year before. Almost outside my volition, I could trace my path, from then to now…and very clearly, I could track my progress, my growth and my blessings.

I had been guilty of judging God for what He had not yet done in this year, of thinking and praying in isolation…meanwhile, my God had been building me up…steadily and lovingly…blessing me beyond my requests. Like I said to my cousin, I asked Him for a teaspoon and He gave me a basket.

I realise that these things, these tests…they’re like tugs on the cords that hold me…a check to see if any is weak and needs strengthening. I realised that a part of me had started questioning God’s love for me…a part of me was unsure that He cared…this time…this season of hoping…and hope deferred…and hope almost lost…it showed me a mindset I’d never have realised if I hadn’t had to wait and to question. It forced me to ask myself and God some questions…it forced me to seek and wait for answers.

In the last 2 weeks or so…I have continued to randomly remember my blessings…miracles that were a huge deal when I first prayed for them that I now take for granted. Prayers I’d said that I’d forgotten had been answered. Unexpected blessings.

I had lost hope because I had stopped looking for and at my miracles, for my answered prayers, because they surround me.

2 days ago, I finally finished my plan for 2013 (yes, I only just finished planning my 2013 at the end of February), I had written my plans and goals…all achievable according to current income and ability. I was feeling quite productive and satisfied with myself… and then the quiet voice that is the source of all my midnight questions and early morning answers whispered to me ‘Why don’t you write a list of 10 things…10 things that you cannot achieve on your own, that only God could possibly do for you”

I shook my head…then I smiled…then I opened my page and began to type…