Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Due Season

To say that my life has been eventful this past year is an understatement. So many things have been happening that it has been hard for me to take the time to just sit and meditate, let alone take account of it all. It seems like it was summer only a short while ago and I was bound for Ghana, Africa to see my wife's side of the family. Of course, my experience there was overwhelmingly significant, and there are so many things for me to share and reflect on in regard to that journey. Soon come, that is another story to tell. After our summer it was back to work, teaching the youths, and the months and seasons went by more quickly than I could imagine. Where did all the time go? What happened to my exercise routine? What happened to all of my writings and reasonings… my poetry? I hope to bring them about a bit more regularly again, but all in due season, at least I break the silence with this message. Something special has prompted me to write today on the once in a lifetime date of December, 12, 2012. 12-12-12 is the last major numerical date using the Gregorian calendar for about another century, when three numbers align (as they did on 9-9-09, 10-10-10 and 11-11-11). It is a cool phenomenon, but that is not what makes this day so special for me and my family.

For a very long time, my wife had been working on trying to bring her mother to the United States from Ghana to join her and her father here in Connecticut. This would be the dream of a lifetime, because although they had been living apart for 30 years, her parents remained married and faithful to one another. Her father lived and worked in the U.S. sending money and provisions home to Africa, while her Mom stayed in Accra, Ghana raising their children and taking care of the household. For her parents, time together was few and far between, when her father was able to take some vacation time to travel to Ghana. When my wife and were planning for our wedding, we also filed all the necessary paperwork to initiate the long, long process of bringing my mother-in-law here as well. It was our hope that she would be able to attend our wedding day, but unfortunately there were a series of obstacles in the way that prevented that wish from happening. Dealing with the Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is a labyrinth of twists and turns that often leads you to complete frustration, I experienced it second-hand. Each time that my wife and father-in-law thought they had completed all the necessary steps, something else came up. After nearly a year of back-and-forth with the government, Mom’s application was processed and we had to wait for an interview date to be determined.

This past summer, my wife and I travelled to Ghana and were hoping that while we were there we would get the date for her Mom’s interview and arrangements could be made to bring her to America. However, once we were in Accra, a notice came stating that the interview date would be in September, once we would back home and working. The interview at the American embassy is an important part of making it through the gauntlet, and it can be a tricky situation when the officials are combing through every detail of the application and all the files that were required to accompany it. My wife was intent on physically being there with her mother since she was her sponsor who filed her immigration application. So, my wife had to travel back to Ghana in September and attend this meeting, with the hopes of bringing her Mom to the States this time. Thankfully, the embassy granted our Mom permission to come over. However, the visa would not be issued until a month later in October. This meant a third journey to Ghana before everything was done! My wife waited until the week before Thanksgiving in November and flew to Africa once more. Mom had her received her visa, bags were packed, and finally after all that time… after all the paperwork, expenses, and physically flying between two continents three times in as many months, she arrived.

This evening on 12-12-12, we celebrated my Mom-In-Law’s first birthday in America. We sat together as a family, eating fufu and light soup, laughing, sharing stories, and being thankful. My wife has not seen her parents living together properly under one roof for her entire lifetime. To see her Mom and Dad on the same side of the table, celebrating her Mom’s birthday, is nothing short of a miracle for us. It has been a few weeks since Mom came to the States and she is happy and well, and getting acquainted with American life (she never left West Africa before). Now she is enjoying time with her husband, her daughter, and her son-in-law. Lives worlds apart were finally united together after so much time.

This amazing story is a story of endurance. What I managed to put forth here, late on a Wednesday night and rusty from a lack of writing, does not do it justice. It is so incredible that we as a family have to pause in order to appreciate that it is reality. The amount of faith, energy, and patience that it took to trod this road and reach this point is beyond measure. However, the lesson here is that everything comes in its due season, and everything will align itself just the way it should be, when it should be, like 12-12-12. With persistence and faith, we can endure the time until we reap the harvest. Patience removes mountains. Something that seemed impossible and insurmountable is now behind us on this journey called life. We all have our own obstacles, whether it is U.S. Immigration or finances or physical distance. An African proverb says, “While there is a mountain in your path, do not sit down at its foot and cry. Get up and climb it.” Our family has overcome a mountain, and we will still have more mountains to climb in this life… but we can do it with a little bit of patience and faith, and so can you! Life is beautiful, and when you think you have it figured it out, it will surprise you once again. Happy Birthday Mom! Let JAH be praised!