By Trinity T.
This isn’t what I’d planned to write about for this month. I already had some complicated nonsense about how to set and achieve goals for the New Year because in our society we love to complicate things. If you don’t understand what you’re doing, then, apparently, it’s the right thing. But then life threw another one of its surprises at me and I learnt something new. The things that matter the most in life are usually, the simplest. Yet they can be difficult too.
I spent last Christmas at my Mom’s parents’ home. But it wasn’t the usual joyful time, at least not for me. I lost my Jajja (Dad’s mom) on Christmas Eve. I won’t go in to the details. But basically, she had Alzheimer’s and needed full care and help for everything. When she first came to live with us about a year ago, we thought it was temporary. But she ended up staying with us fulltime. Because she couldn’t walk, she needed to be carried out of bed into the shower and back into bed. And because of how vulnerable she was, my dad gave her a lot of his time. It seemed to me like he was giving her too much.
As for me, my job was to help carry her when she needed to be moved. It was the one thing my dad struggled to do because his back has been sick for so long. I did my job happily at first, but then my back started to hurt too. And I complained about it. I had just ONE thing to do, and I failed at it. I was so blinded by my selfishness; I couldn’t stand having to sacrifice for her. I don’t really have any memories of her before her sickness, so I guess you could say I never really knew her. She was a stranger. I didn’t feel like giving my health up for a stranger. After complaining too much, my dad decided to start carrying her himself. He did it with so much love and care and he never complained at all. At least not in front of me. But when Jajja’s caretaker wasn’t around, I’d have to help my dad carry her because it’s a two-person job. Guess what I did? I moaned about that too. No matter how many times Dad told me it was just for a short while, I couldn’t get myself to look at the future. All I cared about was myself and my convenience. I never tried to understand Jajja’s pain. All that mattered was me.
Then on Christmas Eve, God took her away from us unexpectedly. I broke down when I got the news. It wasn’t just sadness, it was regret. I hadn’t done my best for her. I never tried to talk to her. She probably wouldn’t have replied, but I should have tried. I could have read her the Bible daily. No one expected me to do it, but I should have done it. When she needed me the most, I let her down. I refused to be there with her. And now she’s gone to a better place. A place where she’s been made perfect. She’s never going to need me again. I lost my one chance to be her angel. All because I let my desires get in the way.
I feel like such a terrible person. But it’s definitely made me a bit wiser. Jesus left us here to tell the world about Him, not just with words but also with our actions. He said the world would know us by the fruit we bear. And last year, I failed to bear the fruit of love, patience, and kindness. At least when it came to my grandmom. I hate that this is how I’ve had to learn my lesson. But the Bible says no discipline is enjoyable when it’s happening. But the benefits are always there when you look back at it.
And now as I look back at everything my family has been through over the past two weeks, I’ve come to realize that the most important thing is loving the people God has put in your life. They’re not there forever. Nothing lasts forever. The Bible says only three things will remain; faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
So, how much do you love God and those around you? Don’t wait for what you have to be taken away before you realize what it meant to you. Don’t be like me. Love people. Go the extra mile for those who can’t walk on their own. Give to those who don’t have any hope of repaying you. It might be hard in the moment. But you’ll be able to live with yourself knowing you always did your best for those who were at their worst.
So yea… not a very cheerful story to start the year with. But hey, no one said life was supposed to be fun. Life is about growing and I’ve grown a lot in the past year. I hope you keep things simple. Just love God and love people. And the God who works everything for our good will make everything else fall into its right place. Life will be a whole lot more meaningful if we keep thinking about how to make things easier for others and not ourselves.
Happy New Year.
Trinity, 16, has been homeschooling for almost four years. She lives in Uganda and is passionate about God, family, music, and writing. She hopes to use her writing to serve God and help other people.