Searching for life’s meaning, spiritually

Boitumelo Maswabi
Three generations: Morongwa flanked by mum and grandmum

The father of logo-therapy, Austrian Neurologist and Author-Psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl, states in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning: “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.

If there is a purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering and in dying.” The Neurologist continues: “Being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself…”

These quotes surfaced to my conscience the third night after God called my sole offspring home.

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For 28 years, my life was directed to my darling daughter; I’d carefully committed to raising a solid human. I made it my life’s purpose as a single mum that if there’s one thing I believe tops the list of things I’ve excelled at in my young life, I can humbly say it is motherhood – a sentiment echoed by every single soul that came to pay their last respects.

I hope starting the year on this rather sad note does not dampen your mood, dear reader, because the ultimate aim of my first article of 2023 is to share a great spiritual learning.

Hopefully my story will help those who, like me, may at times consider themselves modern-day Jobs [Biblical, Old Testament figure] as their lives have been tainted by tormenting tragedies or a litany of losses albeit with bountiful blessings to count all the same.

I had hardly slept in over a week leading to my girl’s demise following a brief illness and stay in hospital; hence beyond wrestling extreme exhaustion and severe shock, I began to experience a mix of denial and subsequently, agonising anger, as it painfully dawned on me that soon I would have to contend with an unpleasant undertaking – to pen an eulogy to our (my) ‘messenger from God’ – Morongwa Warona (her birth name).

Searching for life’s meaning, spiritually
Unforgettable: Osanyana

That was four weeks back and, to date, I vacillate between accepting my lot and the deepest despair – feelings of utter emptiness. But how can I not? My daughter was a ray of sunshine, at the risk of sounding cliché, she literally lit up any room, any day; the very meaning of my life! She lived out her purpose in this world – a kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and talented, and hardworking child and promising young entrepreneur.

I’m a Christian, and this helps because, a few minutes after she died, though I held her in my arms and hoped for a miracle of resurrection, I also praised and thanked God for the amazing gift that I had enjoyed for close to three decades. “Though he slay me yet will I trust in him,” Job 13:15.

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Indeed confusion, uncertainty and aloneness creep up on me from time to time but the Holy Spirit is a true advocate [John 14:16]. I reiterate: it helps to be anchored in the Lord, because while I brood over why the God of Creation decided to dispossess me of the one treasured gift He dearly gave so early (I was 17 years when I had her), I also find solace in that God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, as Isaiah 55:8-9 declares: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts…” Even as I grapple with intense grief, I excitedly look forward to what God has in store for me next because this God that I serve never ceases to reassure me that indeed His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me, and His constant faithfulness and lovingkindness, I consider precious privileges.

I see the rewards of my intimate walk with Elohim in the many prophetic visions and dreams of the last 2 years, as well as the innumerable miracles, signs and wonders in the week preceding, and of, my beloved daughter’s passing. Job 33:14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.Of course, death is inevitable.

We live with the stark reality, though it is a truth we seldom want to face. But I was privileged to see that my daughter would die, the very day she fell ill. Moreover, I obtained the Lord’s favour when he showed me that she would be in Christ’s presence in Heaven, as Jesus promised in Luke 23:43.

Searching for life’s meaning, spiritually
INSEPARABLE: I carry her in my spirit

Apostle Paul also wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2 and 8 that Christians would be in His presence. The Lord showed me five white doves in a dream. Now 5 is the number of grace and doves are symbols of peace and signify the Holy Spirit. Indeed amazing grace and a peace that surpasses all understanding visited me that rainy Monday.

The scriptures in Proverbs 22:6 teach: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” You see, the Christian walk is a difficult one, but it pays great dividends. During that third night, sleepless still, I became grief-stricken when I began to miss my beloved daughter.

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And, as I resumed bargaining with the Lord to return her, with all the crazy faith I could muster, my God led me to a discovery of her personal Bible study notebook, which she’d begun exactly two months earlier.

The first entry was dated October, 12th, 2022 – she died on 12th December, 2022; numbers I saw daily from February 2022. Then the Lord dropped a scripture in my spirit as I questioned the several prophecies that had been given concerning her future: Romans 3:4 “…let God be true but every man a liar.”

For two months, I kept seeing Isaiah 60:22 everywhere: “When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen”.

In those 2 months, she’d registered a separate enterprise named ‘Talitha Cumi’: see what inspired the bargaining? I truly believed that there was some deeper meaning or revelation in that name. When that negotiation bore no fruit, God would instead, on the day of her burial, communicate a supernatural message – in spectacular fashion – when my attention was drawn to the overcast sky that night while looking out the window: right there before me, dense clouds, one from the east and another from the west converged to form the lifelike face of a young lady wearing a white headscarf, a remarkable spectacle that lasted 3 seconds at most! “Could that be my girl?” I wondered.

A staggering image I replayed in my head: “my daughter wore a white headscarf in her coffin,” I remembered. As the timeless lyrics go, “Thy power throughout the universe displayed… then I shall bow in humble adoration, and then proclaim, my God, how great thou art!”

Earlier that day at the cemetery, we had released the five white doves over her coffin as it was lowered into her final resting place while a close friend sang that favourite praise hymn of mine. The bird I freed would circle the grave before flying into the horizon, and soon the rest followed suit.

Lo and behold, one returned and perched atop the meter-high mound of soil before the grave. It stood there till the grave was filled, then left, much to mourners’ astonishment. Many would remark, “We lived with an angel all along and we didn’t even know it!” …and there were miracles aplenty during that week; it’d require a book to document all.

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Perhaps the greatest miracle, however, was in the love and benevolence that my friends, church, colleagues, employers, neighbours, organisations we supported, and relatives extended, and continue to extend, to my family and myself during this time. A neighbourhood church I’d only been in twice, Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross, welcomed us to hold a memorial service when my own church doubted my membership and turned us down (funny they never rejected my tithes).

Indeed the Lord is mindful of me, never leaves nor forsakes me, for He is love: I marvel at His abounding and amazing grace, and thank Him. As Frankl posits, “Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning”, I believe life’s meaning is finally being made manifest in my daughter’s departure.

Psalm 92:5 O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

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Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. [KJV]

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