My “Yes” Moments in this “No” Season

Hello church friends,
My name is Jane Manning and I have been a parishioner at Laurel Heights for a little over two years. I am a real estate agent who helps companies place their new hires in rentals communities throughout the city. I love to volunteer with different organizations. Dress for Success is one of my favorites. I thrive by meeting new people, helping people and being around people.

My father passed away suddenly when I was 10 years old and life
as I knew it was never going to be the same. My mother was an only child and my father had one sibling, a brother; my Uncle Bob. He worked so hard in trying to comfort his parents, who were devastated at losing a child, my mother, who had never balanced a checkbook, and us kids, who needed and wanted some kind of father figure. He and my mother never got along and hence I didn’t grow up with his kids or see my uncle but about once or twice a year. I yearned for cousins and to know my father’s side of the family .

In 2011 I had a reunion at my house with my Uncle Bob and his family. One of his children came with his wife and some of my distant cousins. We had a grand time, lots of great food, laughing, and all saying we were going to do this every year; my cousin was going to have it. Well, one year turned into two years and I knew we were all busy. Then, my cousin’s son got married in 2015. Lots of beautiful pictures of beautiful people all over Facebook. My dad’s kids were the only family not invited. I remember driving home from work maybe about 3 months after the wedding and I just cried and could not understand. Was I not good enough? Was it because I had a gay son? After that I had no contact with Uncle Bob. My sister would call and visit with him, but not me. I was very resentful and my sister would say, “They asked about you.” Uncle Bob did not know why I wanted nothing to do with him.

Now it is 2020 and COVID-19 keeps us at home. I’ve got lots of time to think about my life and the people who mean so much to me and I sat reconnecting with old friends and family. My sister and I are getting closer. I’m feeling more reflective, not just on the go. My sister called me one day and said, “Uncle Bob has cancer,” and I said, “Why didn’t I know?” She said, “He doesn’t even know you’ve had cancer. Remember you told me not to tell him.”

I immediately called my uncle and we were able to talk about our perceived differences and to understand each other and settle feelings of being left out of family gatherings and we talked and talked and cried for all the lost time. We promised we would call each other every Sunday after worship. I felt God so much during all of this, and this is my “Yes” during these “No” times: Don’t ever let things go unsaid. Knowing that I want to live without perceived differences in my relationships and always be open and working to improve. Leave nothing unsaid.

I’m missing personal contact and gatherings at church. I’m trying to be more computer savvy. I know we will all get through this time in our lives and come back together stronger and more eager to serve our wonderful Lord .

Jane Manning