I asked this question on my Facebook wall this week and had some great and, yet some predictable answers from Christians. My other friends were mostly quiet, other than a joke or two. I guess I was asking myself that question, not wanting to be predictable. When circumstances in life become overwhelming and you have to just keep going, but eventually, this question seems to surface in some way or another.
Life is so much more than yesterday. Tomorrow has not yet come. What I have is now. I am thankful for all my yesterdays because without them, I wouldn’t be what I am today. The losses and gains of yesterday- all make this moment possible.
And in this moment, I feel profound loneliness. Living so far from my family al these years in Africa, has created a chasm greater and longer than I could have imagined. It is a longing that has never left me. Yet, I have been given the riches of the most special kind of life, family, and of friendship. People have reached out to us. in times of crisis, in times of joy, and in times of just living life. Families are complex things. Does anyone ever really have their expectations met through family members? From Generations before and those to follow, unwanted records are kept of our inconstancies and failures. Heart wounds sometimes never heal and are most raw when felt by a close loved one. To me, it has been part of the “calling”, to leave all and follow where God leads. We did that, but there has been a price, a price we were willing to make. The cost has been great, not only to me, but to my mother, father, sister and brother. Not to mention, the multitude of extended relatives I hold dear, including a 97 year old grandma in Texas! I love them and I miss them a lot of the time. I long for that phone call for no reason, that quick “pop-in” surprise visit.
As a Christian, I also have a family that surpasses my own genetic connections, though treasured and loved. I also have people in my life that don’t believe like me, but they have been there for me and their hearts are good. Better sometimes than those who carry the title of Christian. Of course, I want all my friends to know God like I know Him, feel His love like I have. To really know what it is to have a purpose in this life that outlives us.
If I figure it out, I will sure let you know! As I write, my house is quiet. It has turned into another day by the clock striking 12. Besides the noise of the Eland walking around the fence, the hippo grunting as he grazes in the grass nearby, and the sound of the jet’s night flight overhead on its way to Joburg, and the humming of my fan that I need to lull me to sleep, I know this one thing. I may feel lonely, but I am not alone. I may miss my loved ones, but they are still my loved ones. I may not know the direction my 4 children will take, but I do know that they have an imperfect family, but they have a family that loves them and is there for them in their parents. I would move heaven and earth to be there for my kids. They will never be able to say otherwise. As my boys once watched Anne of Green Gables and saw the fiery red-headed Meagan Follows in a rage for her cause and her mistakes, they all looked at each other and said, “Oh my gosh, that’s our mom!” Between being called Scarlet O’Hara for my fiery temper and Lucille Ball for the messes I find myself in, I think at one point, I might need some help! Well, I have received lots of it from lots of people through the years. In the lonely times, I just have to remember those are the very people who were there for me. Family, friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers. Through a house fire, stage 4 cancer in my husband, kids’ crises time and again, I have never been alone. God is so real, so present and you know what? He has loved me and been there for me-through-you, the people in my life. He wraps His great arms of love around me when I need it most, through a smile, a hug, a special note.
I am grateful for you. Grateful for the kindness expressed through each “like”, each comment, each thought. Perhaps I have scratched the surface as the clock strikes 12 in the darkness of my room. I don’t feel so alone now. Life without others in it, is no life at all. Go and find someone today who you can touch with whatever you find yourself able to give. I promise you, it not only feels good, it feels great! It abolishes loneliness and ushers in a connection with another human being and even, God. He is so creative to love us through others. Be that other today. And after you do-come back and share it with me, will you? People need to know how to do it-its simple-so DO IT!
*Photos from Photobucket
To me you are not a Scarlet O’Hara or a Lucille Ball, neither of whom you actually portray as neither one of these women display the Godly characteristics that you have and have needed to have to get through the tough times that you mention in your writing. There are several strong women in the Bible you remind me of though. This is a beautiful piece written from your heart and it touched mine. I have asked myself the same question, what is the meaning of life? We know, as believers in Jesus, that our lives belong to Him and that our lives are to extend His love, compassion, mercy and grace to a world alienated from Him by sin. We know this! However, as humans we face hurts, pain, challenges, disappointments, loss and loneliness and we all, at some time or another ask ourselves the question, what is the meaning of life? We are indeed not alone in feeling alone. This is one of your most beautifully written pieces, Jana. It touched me deeply. I know it will touch and encourage others. Love you and pray for you always.
Jana Lackey said:
Michelle, Thank you for your words. I appreciate the perspective you gave! I am grateful for your support.
Beautifully writen Jana! You are richly blessed. With three little boys still constantly clinging to me I often wonder how hard it will be to one day let them go and for you, I know that has been letting them go VERY far away for times. Thanks for sharing, both the good and the hard times. Helps us know how to pray for you and reminds us we are not alone in feeling alone ;-)
My email is email@example.com
I would love to catch up with you and exchange kid pics :-)
Jana Lackey said:
Thanks sweet Faith! Hard to believe it wasn’t long ago you were helping me out here in Bots with my 3 boys and now you have your own! I hope to meet your family someday in Chicago. I will send some pics. It is great to know people are reading these. Your prayers are so appreciated.