Cruel

A Letter to My Aunty Joce

Aunty Joce,

I’m sitting here thinking that I cannot believe it’s been a whole year since you passed.  It’s been a whole year since I felt the shock of those six words, uttered from my mum’s mouth.  It’s been a whole year since you were cruelly taken away from us, without warning.  It’s been a whole year without you and it sucks.

The time has flown by and I guess that doesn’t make dealing with the pain any better.  It feels like you should still be here among us, making me laugh with your dry humour and many brilliant stories.  You should still be in the kitchen, whipping up food like it’s a sport.  You should still be out shopping for your bargains, leaving your reading glasses here and there, watching Judge Judy on TV.

You should also still be here to bring light to our family.  Seriously Aunty Joce, family gatherings and special occasions have not felt the same without you.  It’s like there is a big, gaping hole that will never, ever be filled.  I remember thinking how much you would have loved Uncle Selo and Aunty Doriel’s masquerade party.  There were numerous times when I thought about how you would have had me overflowing with laughter at grandma’s last birthday celebration – there were some wise cracks that only would have come from your mouth and I genuinely missed that.

Twelve months have passed, but that hasn’t stopped the pain I feel and I don’t think that pain will ever fully go away.  That pain feels especially raw now, as I mourn an uncle who was snatched away suddenly – not only am I reminded of the cruel way we lost you, but I don’t have your kind and supportive words to comfort me at this time.  I know that you would have sent me a message, because you were so wonderful like that.

August felt really raw as well, because you know, that’s our birthday month.  I didn’t get a lovely message from you and I wasn’t able to send a message to you either, which felt horrible.  I hate that a month that was so full of birthdays is now emptier without you in it.  However, knowing that we shared that bond will always make it extra special.

I still miss you so much Aunty Joce, but the many memories of you still remain and I hope they will never fade.  They bring a smile to my face as I remember you at your best, rather than the tears that spring to my eyes when I recall that you’ve passed.  I just live in hope that I’ll see you again on that great day when my Jesus returns.

I love you with all my heart, always and forever.

Shan x

Hating 24

I turned 24 on Monday and I hated it.  For the first time in a long while, I actually felt my age.  I felt older, like the many responsibilities of being an adult were hitting me harder than ever before.  When a friend of mine joked that I was turning 17, I genuinely wished I could turn back time and be a teenager all over again, but time can only move forwards in this life.

Now it’s not that I hate being an adult because I don’t want to have to deal with responsibilities – it’s just that life gets tougher, more demanding and a lot more real.  The future continues to draw nearer and plans for your life seem to become more urgent, as the days run away from you; it seems that you’re running out of time, despite being relatively young.

Three years ago, my life plan completely changed after I made the decision to drop out of university, meaning that I’m not currently where I thought I would be or should be in regards to my career.  Instead, I’m on a different path, which I believe is God’s plan for my life, but it’s happening at a slower pace than I would like.

Although I keep on reminding myself that I’ve achieved and grown a whole lot in the past few years through the various actions I’ve taken, I still feel that it’s not enough.  I don’t feel that I’m doing enough to change my community, make changes in my country, eventually change the world.  Couple that with not having a job that pays enough for me to buy my own place, I end up feeling frustrated and sad, like I’m failing in some ways.

Then there’s the matters of the heart, the constant issue of love that leaves me impatient, despondent, jealous and in tears, over and over again.  I’m 24 now, with no boyfriend and no boyfriend on the horizon, which is depressing, because I always wanted to be married by 25 at the latest.  There is no chance of that happening now.

For me, love is cruel, breaking my heart or simply not working out, for one reason or another.  The cruelty of love punched me in the face on my birthday, as it fully hit me that there was no chance of finding the one in the time frame I wanted.  It felt like the window was closing as I grew older, time quickly getting away from me.

As I write this I can see that time is a constant thread throughout.  The thought of time getting away from me is causing me distress, especially as this world continues to show me that life is short.  I want to achieve as much as I can, give as much as I can, feel as much as I can.  I want to impact the lives of young people, I want to have an organisation of my own, I want to experience real, beautiful love that will actually be reciprocated.  I want to feel happy in my age, not fearful and anxious.

Following on from my birthday has been a struggle, as I’ve found myself wrestling with questions and dealing with conflicts of the heart throughout the remainder of the week.  Not knowing what to do or how I feel, I’ve worked myself into a state of panic that I’m struggling to come back from.   Effecting my health and my emotions, my head hurts, my chest feels strange and I can’t hold back the tears that are flowing for reasons unknown to me.

I don’t think I’ve ever hated a birthday or an age like I’ve hated 24, which comes as a surprise to me – I expected to simply feel indifference, not complete disdain.  However, the fact is I’m still here and I want to be thankful for my life, because there are two beautiful people I love very much who aren’t here anymore and I wish that they still had a life to live.  I just need to take every day as it comes and trust in God, because He’s got my back and His timing is perfect, in spite of how much I may want to rush Him.

A Responsibility to Serve

I was shocked and horrified to hear about the terror attacks in Paris on Friday night, as you usually don’t hear about terrorist attacks on that kind of scale.  Watching a video about how the event unfolded brought me to tears, as I thought about the loved ones of those affected.

However, I felt worse when I read about the terrorist attacks in Beruit and Baghdad, occurring on Thursday and Friday respectively.  So many horrific acts taking place around the world in a short time span cut me to the core and broke my heart, especially when you look at them alongside all of the wars, natural disasters, crimes, illnesses and acts of violence happening in the world today.

All I could think about was how the Lord is removing his presence from the earth, as Jesus prepares to make His return to this earth very soon, because we can’t take much of this cruel, twisted world much longer.  Everything that is taking place is simply too much bear.

What got to me most though, was how little is being done to prepare for His soon coming.  I will fully put my hands up and admit that I’m not doing enough, despite having a ton of ideas and desire to spread as much love as I can.  As a church, we need to be reaching out to our communities, helping when we can, spreading love rather than passing judgement, and making ourselves known.

I watched a sermon by Pastor Kelly yesterday, entitled ‘Spider-Man, Saved for Service’, which was completely relevant at this present time.  God has saved us from sin, so that we can go out into the world to serve others, but how many of us can say that we’re doing that?

The world is in desperate need of our service, so we need to stop being lazy and lackadaisical, watching the days go by, and do something.  We are living in a time that will continue to get worse, rather than better, making it exceedingly important for us to spread as much love as we can and bring hope to the lives of others.

Jesus is coming soon and I don’t want anyone to be left behind.  He has given us great power, and with that comes great responsibility.  I want to tap into that power and take up that responsibility.  Will you?