24 November 2008

Outside Looking In

This is the first of a series of "posts" which I have been planning to write for quite a while.

Most of what I write here is "brewed". In other words, the posts you see here are a result of probably weeks of brewing in my heart and this is one I have been brewing for quite a while. I have a lot of ideas of stuff to write. The thing that holds me back is both time and mood. If I am upset over anything, I just can't write. Anyway, I have been brewing a series of posts which I can generally entitle, "Things I learnt in the two years I spent away from home". This is the first of the series:

I spent the last two years in South Africa where I lived with my Uncle and his family. They were very welcoming to me. They embraced me as family! I hate being away from home. I hate being in unfamiliar territory with people I don't know and so, adjusting to my new surrounding was exciting at first but very hard later. After getting accustomed to everybody at home, I really became part of the family. If you re-read my last statement, you will notice that I called my Uncles place in SA, "home". That is really how I feel about it. It will always be home and I don't see myself ever being uncomfortable there.

The first thing I'd like to share that I learnt away from home, is the fact that I found myself on the "outside looking in".

What is the difference between looking at a room, in a house, from inside it and looking at it from the outside i.e. through a window? Well from the inside you can only see sections of the room at any given time. The span of your eyes is limited. You can not see the entire picture but only parts of it. Looking at the same room from the outside in, adds a whole new dimension! You get to have a holistic view. I got to look in from the outside when I lived as a dependant rather than as an heir.

I am the first born in my family. Its not something I often think about, there's no bell in my head that constantly rings reminding me that I am the first born. I am now aware that there's a bell that rings in the heads of all those who have lived with my family for an extended period of time but are not my siblings. When they looked at me, they could not help but realise that I was the first born.

I know this because I, for the last two years, walked in their shoes. I was no longer a prince but I was now a mere dependant. My Uncle, Aunt and their family really made me feel part of the family but there was this bell in my head that kept ringing. I was not a child of my guardians, I was a dependant. Every time I saw their two children, I thought,"They are what this is all about, this food I'm eating, this t.v am watching, its all theirs, am not involved in this. I am insignificant."

I was no longer free to hold on to the T.V remote and change channels at will, I now watched what the members of the family I found, preferred, something I have never known. I could nolonger play my music as loud as I wanted to, I could not go to the fridge and prepare me a snack any time I felt like, I could not ask for money anytime I wanted to. There was no one to run to when I had a headache or stomach ache. No mom, no dad. I could not rearrange the room to fit my preference, I couldn't visit any room I felt like. I now understood what a "master bedroom" was. I now know that a master bedroom is a room you have never and will never enter! I nolonger had the freedom to scream or shout or do things which are silly or put my feet up or sit on the carpet, it was all gone.

I had to make sharp adjustments. At first all these things did not occur to me. I was still enjoying South Africa, still looking around, still exploring but when my feet finally touched the ground, the fact that I was a dependant really fell heavy on me. It was hard-nolonger first born, no longer the centre, no longer on the inside but rather on the "outside-looking in".

Thankfully, God had blest me with a loving, family. By the time I began my second year in SA, I was able to do all the things I couldn't. But for quite a long time, those things I took for granted, I nolonger had.

When I left home, I was about 18 years old, and also a man so, I had enough ballast to handle the whole thing but it was still very, very hard. I can only imagine what those dependants who've lived in our home have had to go through especially with my selfishness. I recall times when I was so unwelcoming, insisting on having the remote, sleeping on the bed alone so my brother would have to share with the dependant, or even sleeping in the sitting room if things were not going my way. How unwelcome they must have felt! Thank God he saved me!

Letting dependants know that you are the first born of the family is the most unwelcoming thing you can ever do. Believe me, they know you are first born, they know that the bread winners are your parents-don't rub it in!

The other thing I missed on the other side was the love and care. Not that I didn't get any but that I didn't get the 101% I am accustomed to. Obviously my SA parents could not give me that, they had two children of their own! They really balanced things and made me feel cared for but I missed the 24 hour attention, 7 days a week for sure!

The thing I learnt is that God had given me a family so that I can share it with others, especially those dependants who come to stay with us. I should do everything in my power to share the privileges and make them feel welcome and ask them what they need and show them love.

One thing is for sure, at home you will now find me making the most of my privilege of being part of the nuclear family, I spread myself everywhere and anywhere. I especially like the carpet just infront of the t.v with a cushion beneath my head! My parent obviously wonder whats wrong with this boy sleeping around the floor like that at the age 20, its just that I've missed being a kid in the house I guess. I've missed the freedom to be a child. At home, I don't have to prove anything, I can let go of the child in me alittle. I hope I will never forget this lesson and forever remember to use the place God had given me to make others feel at home away from home.



Anonymous said...

Mwindula this is very encouraging. Am sure young people will learn alot from your experiences.
Phyllis Kabamba

Melissa said...

Thanks, Mwindula- Sometimes there is a nudging to go back to where we came from and all we know, but I like that the Lord shows us how much we need Him through these experiences.

Mwindula Mbewe said...

Hi Aunty Phyllis!

Why thankyou so much for leaving a comment on my blog! Mwansa keeps teasing me to say that I'm always busy on my blog yet nobody ever reads it!

That is, indeed, my prayer, that others will learn from what God has taught and still teaches me. Both from my successes and failures.

Mwindula Mbewe said...

Hi Melissa,

Indeed! I love home so much and there were times while I was away from home that I'd be so very home sick. I'd look at the moon at night and wonder whether my family and friends back home were looking at the same moon. I'd stare at the horizon outside my room window, and wish I could just run all the way home. It is in those times that all I had was my Father in heaven, thats when I realised that God is really all I have. Thankfully, he is all I need. Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...


I love your blog,and am rily touched by your thoughts....market it more tho...this is food for thot that pipo out thr.... Christian young pipo are hungry for....10 things I Take for granted...God help me