News from home has me shaken up. It seems like as soon as I have gone, there are little crises everywhere. And nothing that I can change from here. It’s so frustrating. I want to be with my family to support them through illness and heartbreak. As a write this, most everyone is on the mend, but this past week has been very hard as I balanced the start of school with my fears for my loved ones at home. I especially broke when I found my little brother was suffering (I call him my little brother, but truly he is twenty years old and about a foot taller than me.) I always though, prayed, or believed in my heart that after the death of our oldest brother, God (or whatever you believe in) would let me be the messed up child with depression and broken love entanglements, but that my little brother would be protected from all of it. That kid deserves the world. He is such a good boy. He is honest; he tries hard, does well in school, honors our parents, and shows kindness without having to be asked. Why does his heart have to be broken? Why does he deserve that? But I know to ask why when there are moments of pain means that you also have to ask why for every moment of happiness. Life comes as it does, and we cannot change it sometimes. I’ve sent messages to my army of family friends back home to support my folks and my brother, and bless them, everyone has stepped up. The showing of love from people who don’t owe us anything, but with whom we share bonds of familiar friendship is humbling and gives me great strength.
Dad, My Loved Step-mom, and I around my university graduation
My roommate calls these fears and worries a wicked earthworm (her term for the devil’s temptation, I think,) calling me away from my calling to teach here in Africa. It is safe to say that I’m firmly rooted here now, and committed to the work (though I haven’t learned my students’ names just yet!) But there is a lot of I would for a teleportation device, just to go home and give love and comfort as best I can. Somehow phone calls and text messages don’t seem like enough. I want to give hugs and bring orange Jell-o to my stepmom when her stomach hurts; I want to randomly drive my little brother to Hershey Park to distract him. But these a sister cannot do from Uganda. So I call our army of friends, and they have come, and I am humbled and amazed. My family is so loved, and not just by me. Though they would never admit it, I think it is a feather in the cap of my parents, who raised us right. My brothers and I are decent people (or so I like to think!) and I’ll never forget the sacrifices that my family made to form us that way.
A particular shout-out to my step-mother, who was a comfortable mother of one before she married my father, then gladly welcomed his three (!) children into her home and has raised us as her own ever since. She was not obligated to do that. She did it selflessly and out of love. She supports me even now and gives me love and strength every time I talk to her. I didn’t understand it when I was young; I fought her and was a wicked child. But I understand now. Family isn’t easy. And we are all blessed to be loved. My mother too- she has struggled with her own pains and sufferings in life, but has always fought to be the mother that is in her to be. She has learned to be a good mother to adult children. And that’s not an easy thing!
LIttle brother and Mom
So. All this just to say that I love my family and I am thinking of them as they go through rough times far away. If you know them, please shower them with love. My Facebook messages never feel like enough to show the squishy love of my heart.
Lots of Love,
PS- My friends, this all goes for you too! You are each and every one special and precious people to me. Thanks for being there, and being you.