Just when you possibly all thought I had disappeared for good, here I am, back again, after a wonderful break in my old haunt in Mozambique.
The last time I visited the beach two years ago was too soon after the death of my husband for it to have had any therapeutic value, which sounds obverse for some reason. It should have been exactly the right place to go for that healing process. But somehow it was all too raw.
I searched for the Lord, for a way out of the pain, the fear, the bitterness at how my sons, and yes, me, were treated, how we were cut off and discarded as though we had never existed. There was an intensity to my desperation that no amount of sea, sky and beauty could salve. Thank God for loving friends who were patient and forgiving.
I came away from there feeling discouraged and adrift.
When John died, friends who had been widowed told me not to make any decisions for at least a year. I did listen, although not really believing there was anything wrong with me or my decision making processes. Looking back, I see that I was in a pretty bleak, dark hole, and while I might have thought I was functioning quite well and normally, my writing from those months assures me I was not!
Fairly soon after I returned from that unhappy week in Mozambique, I cried out to the Lord. “Is this it? What is to become of me?”
As usual the Lord’s answer was prompt: “Bloom where you are planted.”
Obviously I had more to learn. And those lessons needed to be learned amongst my people, my friends and my family. As if to make sure I didn’t stray from my allotted path, I suddenly became fearful of driving to Mozambique. Much as I yearned for the beach, the thought of making a journey I had taken so many times, almost always alone, overwhelmed me with fear.
Then a couple of months ago, my neighbours mentioned they were going to Praia do Chizavane. Ah! This was my chance. I could go with them and not have to drive. They happily agreed to give me a lift.
And then their dates changed. The new dates were no good for me. Or for my hosts in Mozambique. I knew this was from the Lord, that it was time and I needed to drive myself to Chizavane, to the beach. I was a little anxious, not only of the drive but of confronting my issues, such as remained. Of relationships strained and needing to be restored.
There is something about this particular piece of paradise on the Mozambique coast that creates an atmosphere of healing. It is interesting how many souls turn up, either at the resort of Nascer do Sol, or at the houses of Moya Moya next door, who are in need of a touch, a supportive shoulder, an ear that listens.
Within the hour of my arriving, my friend Erma said, “I hope you don’t think you are here to rest, there are people needing help here this week and we need to be ready! It is not by chance that you are here at this time.”
Oh what joy, what confirmation from the Lord that I was exactly where He wanted me to be.
I laughed, for when was it ever any different? How can anyone who has been blessed and nurtured so abundantly of the Lord not be used of Him to minister to other souls in distress? And that, my friends, is the reward at the end of the journey to healing. Yes, many of those steps might have been painful, there were times when I wondered if I would survive the pain, but I did. Not only did I survive, but I came through it stronger, more loving and understanding I hope, and with an excitement about helping others in their quest to find that place of peace and serenity beside still waters.
I realised that at last I have peace, a calm sense of joy that is so reassuring. It was fabulous visiting my old haunts, saying hello to kingfishers and minute reef dwellers, allowing myself to be embraced once more by the hugeness of that landscape. The importance of catching up with old friends, and renewing those friendships that are impossible to maintain by WhatsApp, or email, or even the odd phone call once more became so apparent to me, as we talked and laughed, or were just companionably silent together.
On my last day I walked west instead of east as I usually do along the beach. The familiar peace and wonder filled me. I looked at a section of the reef, and pools, that I had not seen for years, and it was refreshing. I needed to swim, to be submerged into that water, warm for May, to be released in a final cleansing baptism of healing.
I drove home in convoy with the van Vurens to Maputo, and then we parted. As I contended with the traffic of Matola, and finally got onto the open road to Goba border post, I realised that my confidence had returned, the fear was gone.
I have gone through the valley of death, with my Lord alongside every moment, when the time was right, and the road was now straight, He had led me to still waters, beside which I found healing.