My father died in a car crash when I was 5. He was my world…and my whole life changed thereafter. I grew up a strong little girl thanks to my amazing mother. However, I always felt a void in me. I especially noticed it in my tweens and it got worse as I grew older. I always had this intense feeling that I needed someone (a guy) to fill this empty space so I could feel happy and whole. And I always felt so guilty for feeling that way because I knew my happiness should not depend on anyone else but me. But I found myself so sad and unfulfilled…and this inner conflict made me more miserable.
I was hoping that some unknown male human being would show up and complete me. I felt this way for as long as I can remember…all the way into adulthood. The more I felt this way the more it frustrated me…because with every passing day I was starting to feel like there was something wrong with me…that I was broken somehow – I just couldn’t understand why I felt SO EMPTY!
It was only after I started going to therapy for reasons totally unrelated to this at age 22 that I realized where this emptiness was coming from. After my father passed I took the loss and every memory of him and shoved it somewhere far so I never had to feel that pain again. I realized for the first time how much I miss him and HAVE BEEN missing him. I wasn’t broken…I just wanted my father.
But even after making this realization I still struggled. I still felt empty…although now I understood why. I desperately wanted this feeling to go away and I knew there was one thing I hadn’t done. I turned to God – as my mother had always told me to do. I knew that He loved me and had taken care of me and my family through the years. But now I needed Him to fill me up.
Now this journey, feeling whole, didn’t take a day or a even a month. It took almost 3 whole years. It took constant prayer, scripture study and immersing myself in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It took understanding Christ’s atonement, REALLY understanding it, for me to grasp that He suffered not only for my sins but for my infirmities too. That only He knew EXACTLY how I was feeling and EXACTLY how to succor me. THIS changed my world! I have been raised Christian but I felt I never really knew Jesus Christ until after this experience. It felt like when I finally found Christ, I found my father. I no longer felt empty…thinking about my father no longer brought me anguish. It’s hard to explain exactly the change that happened within me but I felt like I finally found myself.
I know this was a really long way of describing how this poem came about but here is the piece I wrote about this experience. I actually wrote this poem November last year, but here it is now.
For the longest time all I ever felt was pain.
Everything that hurt I knew.
All things that tore the soul apart were mine.
My sorrow ran so deep despair pumped through these veins.
I lost myself without you.
I lost myself without you…
I lost myself without you…until I found you in Him.
And by finding Him I found myself.
I found love.
I found peace.
Peace not as the world gives, but His peace.
My heart is no longer troubled. Neither is it afraid.
– Mamello Maitse