I am sitting in a small square in Sarajevo. Somehow I’ve always had the urge to come back here, to this country which suffered so much in the recent past. Memories are flooding my mind. I brought my two sons here when they were children to run around and to rollerblade. They ran, played, raced, and shouted excitedly. I watched, sometimes worried, always prayed for their safety, and once in a while helped them with a game or refereed their competitions.

So long ago…

They grew up. So fast…

I spent so much time with them, homeschooled them, brought them on most of my travels, involved them in my volunteering, taught them cleaning and cooking, took them on excursions, and so much more. They were simply with me wherever I went. As a single mom, I faced my share of problems and challenges, but I loved being a mother.

And then they left home and I found myself living without them. I decided to return to missionary work and joined a project in Bohol, in the Philippines.

Bohol looked like paradise on earth. The ocean was all imaginable shades of blue: dark blue, azure, turquoise, baby blue, indigo, ashen blue, and more; the sunsets were the most amazing combinations of colors: bright yellow, gold, orange, raspberry, and light purple. I loved the palm trees, the dreamlike boats, the slow-moving lifestyle…

Despite all the beauty surrounding me every day, my evening walks along the shore were filled with feelings of loneliness and nostalgia. I missed my children and close friends. At times it was nearly unbearable, and I would cry and pray for strength to go on and not to feel so discouraged and alone.

Sitting by the water, absorbing the view, I felt Jesus’ presence. Sometimes I didn’t know what to tell Him. Sometimes I was so low I couldn’t hear Him. But it was like sitting next to a close friend, when everything has been shared and you just sit together, silently, feeling comforted by their presence.

In the mornings, before all the hustle and bustle began, I would listen to a short sermon or an inspirational message. I don’t know how I would have survived without my devotions in the morning and my “sittings” with my Jesus in the evenings. Those were very special times.

I am writing this from Sarajevo where I’m visiting. My son now is so much taller than I. He fastens his fancy camera on the tripod and runs to stand next to me. Click. I’m ready for the next chapter of my life.