17 November 2008

Running A Home

6am this morning, marked exactly 2 weeks since I last saw my parents in the flesh, thanks to skype! Skype is just great! You can talk to anyone, anywhere as long as you both have computers with an Internet connection and even be able to see them as you talk! It would probly have to be high speed though. Dad and Mom left the house for the airport enroute to Brazil the week before last.

There were some mixed feelings. Dad and Mom were obviously alittle anxious because for the first time they left us all by ourselves as "children" for a considerable period of time, half a month! We as children had some mixed feelings about it too.

On Sunday evening, Mom gave me a talk on responsibility and all that.

Things have gone pretty well, the house is still standing, so are its members. All members of the house who were present after the parents departure are still staying in the house although we came very close to losing one. Don't worry, the story is too interesting for me not to tell!

During the parents absence alot has happened, there has definitely been a whole lot of drama. I, unfortunatley, was at the centre of all the problems.

Our first night alone, I remember distinctly that power went, and I upset my young brother. Alittle further on and I upset my young sister. The beginning of the second week saw my sister leave the house, literally, because I had upset her, again. Yes, its been a memorable week alright!

The night power went, my brother asked my sister (I should do a post on my family so that I can begin addressing my siblings by name instead of by their relationship to me!) for a candle so he could study because he was going to write an exam the next day. For some reason he didn't get his candle and so he asked me to intervene. Well, I told him that it is important to "make hay while the Sun shines" and not at night when the power might go. Well, he did not take that too well! After clarifying what I actually meant cause it looked like he had missed my point, he told me firstly, that he was infact ready for his paper but simply wanted to go through some past papers and secondly, that he did not spend his day watching t.v as accused (by myself) but had actually spent his day studying taking regular breaks to refresh his mind by turning on the television for a few minutes each time. Well after I concluded, our public dispute (our audience being our two sisters), my brother was still quite upset and muttered a few words as he walked away in rage.

The power came back and went again. My brother came back from his room and confronted me in the dark, we couldn't see each other. Basically, he told me that he had a couple problems with my behaviour towards him especially infront of others, namely, our sisters, my friends and his friends. I plead "not guilty" to all charges and quickly became my on advocate. He wasn't absolutely happy after I was done but I suppose took comfort in the fact that he had voiced out his grievances. We haven't really argued since.

It was not a very good start to my reign as "man of the house". Little did I that I had not seen anything yet! I do not even remember what caused the dispute between my sister and I. My best guess is that it all began when she got her plate for supper from the kitchen, sat in the sitting room and without waiting for the others, started eating. I told her to be patient next time, so we can pray and eat together. Maybe that sparked something, I'm not really sure. Well, I did something wrong, she (my sister) was quick to correct me, I refused to bend-pride but after she left, I yielded. Then she came back to again tell me that I was in the wrong still, which I was, sorry I am beating about the bush here-deliberately so.

Anyway, my sister and I even stopped talking to each other, literally. I remembered that at a certain point, I would have to begin leading the family devotions and obviously, I couldn't lead devotions well, if I was not on speaking terms with a member of the house. With that in mind, on Friday night, the first Friday night with out the parents, I got home and asked my sister, Mwape, if she could come into my room so we could talk. I then went to my room, started playing the guitar while waiting for her. Just when it seemed that I would have to go call her again, she arrived. I acknowledged that I was wrong the day I had refused to listen to her correction and apologised for it. I then asked her to tell me what I needed to work on and I would simply listen.

It was like giving her a belt and telling her to whip away! She shot me down! "Mwindula, you are rude, unaffectionate, arrogant, argumentative..." and so on she went. When she gave me her list, my reaction (in my mind ofcourse) was, "yeah, right." I didn't agree with a word she said! That was until she gave me example after example for each item on her list. And she was having so much fun doing it! I mean, we were called for supper and she immediately asked that we be given a couple more minutes. After emptying the last of the bullets in her gun, she was done. I promised her that I would work on the things she had mentioned. After that things were good as new, infact, they were better! You'd never had known that we had argued.

The biggest challenge came on the first Sunday evening since my parents departure. This time, my sister was being funny. Over lunch she had acted really silly to me infront of her friends, I won't go into details. Anyway, she lost the battle and had thus gotten upset with me. That evening she walked out of the house at night without my consent or anyone else's to go to my other sisters place. She returned the next day. Monday evening, she again, walked out of the house, but this time instead of watching her leave,I ran after her. Our conversation was pretty intense:

Mwindula: Where you going?

Sister: To ask the guards to get me something next door.

Mwindula: That's not what you told [our brother] when he asked you where you were off to as you walked out the door a second ago.

She thought I was now trying to interrogate her and began walking away. I continued talking and she continued walking. I grasped her arm to stop her walking and she exploded! "Don't squeeze my arm like that! Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah." We exchanged words, not screaming or anything but she was definitely on fire!

I'll bet the guards, who were watching the whole thing, were getting some real life stage entertainment!

I apologised for being rough with her:

"Sorry I didn't mean to be rough but what else could I have done? I was trying to stop you from walking away while I was talking to you. Look, is there a problem? (No response, and she wasn't looking at me either.) Whatever you want, you should not have to leave the house, with two brothers within its walls, to go ask the guards outside to get it. The reason why dad left me as the oldest man in the house is because he expected that whatever you need, requiring a mans strength or help, you could get from me. If you don't feel comfortable with me helping you or you don't want to talk to me, we can get another person who you would rather, handles your needs. (Still no response, no eye contact either.) Who should we call who you would be more comfortable speaking with? One of the elders maybe? Even yesterday, when you walked out at night, if anything happened to you, what would I tell dad? Dad, "she walked out and I failed to stop her?" Whatever you need, I am here to meet it."

I left it at that and she went to talk to the guards. I thank God he gave me grace to handle that confrontation. She was a little upset from that day but as the days rolled by she came around and before long things were all good again. During the time she was upset after the confrontation, the words "love her like Jesus" kept coming to me. Its actually a song by "Casting Crowns". Everytime we called her to eat and she didn't want to, I thought, let me allow to cool off, let me love her like Jesus.

Overall God has been great to us. He has kept us and has kept sanity. One thing is for sure, I am not interested in running a home at all. Juice given to Dad and Mom who deal with radical teens like us "children" in their home. The taste of running a home has really made me appreciate my parents and what they do for me and my siblings. They are coming home tomorrow and I can't wait!!