Never Alone

Loneliness is the painful experience when you look around and there is no one that you know. For me, it was the moment when I was sitting in the airplane, after being escorted to my seat in a rush by the flight attendant. I was thirteen. That was the moment I realized what my dream costed me. 

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For a long time I wanted to travel on an airplane, to come to Canada. I dreamt about it for so long, but I didn’t know it would happen. And I couldn’t imagine how I would feel. That I would have to be peeled from the grips of my mother’s love, and pulled through the airport to be seated next to this woman with red lip stick with Jamaican accent. My eyes fixated on the tiny window across her lap, staring one last time, wishing for one last glimpse of my mother. The dark-skinned woman pulled down the window cap and I looked at her red mouth saying something but I could not hear her. My bawling drowned her out and my thoughts and my dreams turned to fear. 

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Fear that I may never see my mother and brothers again. Fear that this pain that I was experiencing for the first time would last forever. I was faced with feelings of loneliness for the first time in my life and I was scared. I was stuck between my first love; of country, of family, and of home, and my dreaming of living in another country. I was stuck in uncertainty. Up until that moment, my life had never been uncertain. 

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It was my mother who woke me up every morning and helped prepare me for school. It was my mother I had slept with at nights that comforted me and shielded me from the pain of the outside world. It was my mother who made sure I had lunch money, uniforms, and even a good school to attend. I knew everything wasn’t perfect, but surrounded by the protection of my mother’s love, I never had anything to fear. Not until now when I couldn’t see her. The part that scared me most was I didn’t know when I was going to see her again.  

The strange thing I learnt in that day was how feelings totally change. I wasn’t thinking of my mother as much. I was looking to a future with my father. As I walked side by side, I believed I was protected again from the world. I was safe. I was too young to know that this was my season of growth. Not mature enough yet to see that I was developing strength, resilience, and my own identity. I would find a new home here. 

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This pandemic has given me time to pause and reflect on my long journey through all the seasons of my own life. That’s why tonight, as I look out at the midnight sky in the comfort of my own home, the countless stars flickering makes me cry. All along, all these years, God had been walking in tandem with me, watching over me, carrying me through the most difficult parts of my life. Guiding me through my transformation, letting my roots grow deeper, mixing the colourful experiences with the ugly. All of it, for Him, for His glory, for me to know that I was never alone.

Let love last all year, part II

If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:15

All we need is love, is just another Christmas song we play once a year. When it comes down to it, we can’t find love in the people we are supposed to love to save our lives. The reality is that, when we get up close and vulnerable with people, they find words to hurt us. They ignore, they walk away, they don’t meet our expectations, and they treat us worse than strangers. The reality is that we are destroying each other daily. Our families are the best at this, and for those who also have a church family, you are doubly likely to get bitten and devoured. [I am sorry to begin this article on a negative tone]. The Apostle Paul is giving us a heads up that we ought to follow the second most important commandment, that is, love our neighbours as we love ourselves. If we do not love then like animals, we will be destroyed by each other.

let love last all year, family sitting together
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Have you ever walked away from a church community to seek better pastures? Have you ever moved thousands of miles from your family so that you won’t have to see them too often? As Christians, couldn’t we find a different way to resolve our differences? Why is it all so complicated? And why is the easiest choice to give up and walk away? How do we know that we have loved enough? Or to phrase this another way, when has love not been enough?

READ MORE: Let love last all year, part I

Do you recall 1 Corinthians 13:13? “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Love allows us to compromise, it allows us to be patient, to trust, to not be so easily angered, to not be so rude, or proud, or envious or unkind. This is not just for the other person who does this to us, this is also speaking to the one who reads this (and of course, the one who is writing this). We tend to blame the other individual, but fail to realize that we ought to be first to forgive, first to not keep a record of wrongs, first to hope and perseverance, and first to surrender our pride. Yes, love actually calls us to be the first to show love, not to wait for it to be shown to us- that is the definition of selfish. And love is most certainly not selfish. So, have we been enabling the destruction of God’s gifts to us: The family and the church? Or, are we fighting like hell to love each other as we love ourselves?

let love last all year, family sitting together with flowers
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So, when is love not enough? The Apostle Mark says, “If a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand.…” (Mark 3:25). This is the trouble when there isn’t anymore love: Your house is not going to stand. Even God can’t or won’t work in a house that is divided. This is what God says in Revelations 2:4-5: “But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

When we surrender ourselves to Christ and let His Spirit be what the world sees, we have a chance at knowing how to love. It’s not as easy as the world says about falling in love. We do not fall into love. Love is a continuous decision we make daily, even when we don’t want to. When we cannot anymore, we ought to pray. Because without love, little by little, we will destroy each other. And, that is not what God wants from us, definitely not from His church.

READ MORE: Love will never fail us

We can admit that when we are not loved, it can be the worse feeling. And when there is no love in a home, it can be the coldest and loneliest place to be. Although you might choose to reside there anyway, it doesn’t bring out the best in us. God calls us to be the light of the world, and there can’t be any light when you are living in darkness. Therefore, pray for love, pray for a spark, and definitely pray for God’s candlestick. The reality is, if I…do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Singleness vs the Brady Bunch

After a late afternoon bath, I feel ready to call it in for the night with only four hours of wake time. My facial creams are already on totally skipping my morning regimen, and I’m eating what feels like my bedtime snack. At four in the afternoon I’m depending on artificial lights, which totally makes it feel like night. It’s warm and cozy and I’m alone wondering whether I’d ever want to trade my current life for the Brady Bunch.

When I first woke up at 8am I thought about the errands I had for the day. Two hours later, I looked at the time and thought I really should get up. 12pm I finally rolled out of bed and went to the bathroom. As I walked into the bathroom and looked over at the overflowing laundry I thought, really, I don’t have to do this today. That left me with two things to do for the day, write an article for an online newspaper and go to the mall. The former was done in no time since I had been working on the article all weekend, but I didn’t feel like leaving my cozy apartment for anything, not even the mall. Today was going to be that day. When I’m single with no children I can do nothing. This is the pay-off after many years, 20 to be exact, of schooling. And I didn’t want to trade it in for the world. Why should I? When you’re the children in the Brady Bunch life may me great, but when you’re the grown-ups and have to provide for all 6 plus a dog, not cool!

Stress, taking on more than one can handle, is the beginning of a slow death. Being fervent on taking good advice I feel that Icouldn’t have found out sooner. I already had enough on my plate, myself, and I’m not sure if I want more. This lesson rang clear when I had to babysit on the weekend. For over two years, I’ve never had someone wake me up, yet these two little humans were knocking at my door telling me that the puppy needed to go outside. Really?! I was an hour short of my eight hours rest time. That reminds me of the kitten I decided to bring home one Sunday. I seriously thought I would love having a kitten in my home, as they say cats are low maintenance and great companions. Well that was a lie. My kitten was sitting by my room door crying because I guess she wanted companionship, and overlooking the fact that I still needed my sleep. It was only 6 in the morning and I stayed up til 2 that morning trying to play with her. I was drowsy at work for the 12 hours and worrying that the poor kitten may die from lack of companionship and would keep me up another night. Before all that would happen, I stuck her in a little bag as soon as I got home and drove her back to her owners. I was happy and I’m sure she was too. I understand that taking on too much is a stress killer, and I’m just not ready to die.

People sometimes knock adulthood, and so quickly want to get married because “they don’t want to be alone”, but if they knew what they were missing they would drop the marriage and family thing and enjoy ten more years of happiness! Why wouldn’t anyone want to be happy? I went to a single session early this month, and the pastor specifically said, “If you want to be happy, don’t get married!” Ringgg ringgg.. There goes the bell of truth. There is no better time in life than being young and single. I can drive to the U.S border in two hours or I can pamper myself at a lavish hotel with spa treatments. I can take time off from work if I want, and travel to exotic locations; coworkers do it all the time! Why would I give this life up for a lifetime with a spouse and children? This baffles me.  I set my rules and I do what I want. Ahh, freedom is rejuvenating. If all of life could have been this way I would have been happier especially as a teenager. So until I hear God calling me to marriage I think I’m just going to bask in my happiness and see how long it’ll last.