You Know How to Play UNO, Don’t You?

Three days’ journey south of our home in the desert are beautiful, green mountains. I was on a retreat there and taking a walk with my friend Barb. Barb has as many children as I do and was raising her children abroad like me. I respect her. I have always been impressed with her children. So when she talks, I listen.

This particular day I was telling her about my youngest, Lil.

“You know, Barb, we’re going back to the North. We’ll be back in the village. But Lil will be all alone this time. It’s harder on her since all of her siblings have grown up and left. What am I going to do?”

I guess this was all said in a whiny tone because what touches my child’s heart, touches mine.

“You do know how to play UNO, don’t you?” Being a woman of few words, that was the end of her advice.

It was like she had turned on a light for me!

I do know how to play UNO! I know how to sew, cook, color, put together puzzles and read books. And I can talk. I can listen. I can go out in the yard, jog, play ball, play with the dog and climb up into the tree house. And I can take walks with Lil as the sun sets.

As I continued to think about being there for Lil, I realized that this was going to take MY time. Lots of it. Hmm. Now I have to go back thirty years and remember my conversation with Louise.

Louise was my senior by years and experience. She had already raised three children in the jungle. I don’t remember the exact conversation but it probably had to do with her duties versus mine. I was a single worker; she was married with a family. I probably wanted her to go on some wild excursion with me.

But I do remember these words that Louise said: “I will take care of my relationship with the Lord first. Then, I will take care of my husband, my children and my home. The time that is left, I can use for ‘ministry.’”

So the conclusion of the whole matter is that my husband and I, with Lil, went back our desert home in the village. That year, together, Lil and I plastered the inside of our home with her art work.
Lil's Art Work
“I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you…” Hebrews 13:5

3 thoughts on “You Know How to Play UNO, Don’t You?

  1. Having our own five boys in Africa, the youngest 5 years behind his brothers, means we will walk this road (the youngest on his own) in a few years. Looking for tips about what worked well for you as a family and how you kept your sanity when the kids left. Thanks for doing this.


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