The Time It Takes to Age

Section and Issue


Log in or subscribe to download the PDF for free.

Learn about premium content here.

Product Attributes
PDF (Download)

The Time It Takes to Age

Author Rebecca Smylie

We moved to Africa for my husband's job, and those first months in Dakar, Senegal, were hard. We had a newborn and were sleep deprived. The antimalarials gave me bad dreams. We were living out of suitcases, we found dead birds in the back bedroom, and our three-year-old couldn't seem to stop crying. Increasingly, we heard her fighting with a row of new imaginary friends, who were more often than not consigned to time out in the "bird room." How would I survive two years?

It was a joint struggle at first, but before long Levi found traction at work, and, left behind, I found myself staring at the government-issued rug—a dull yellow—and wondering how these children and I were supposed to pass our days in an empty apartment. Occasionally, I would muster strength and take initiative, but most mornings, I woke to find we were once again covered in a fine Saharan dust carried in by the Harmattan winds.

No problem. I've always known where to turn when things are hard. I prayed for strength and guidance and searched my scriptures. I listened to living prophets and threw my head back to receive anything heaven would send. And yet, heaven seemed oddly silent.