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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Life Transformed, Memoir by Sana Edoja.

I (Lorilyn Roberts) have known Sana Edoja for several years and am glad she wrote her memoir to help others. Memoirs are powerful, and I look forward to reading hers.  I hope you enjoy this short excerpt.


Going through tunnels,
I can’t see the light.
Surrounded by darkness,
who will save me?
Who will say,
This is the way; walk in it?
Who will hold my hand
to tame my fear?
Who will even say?
It’s over. I am here,
to be your guide.

From beginning to end,
Earth to Heaven.
I will never leave you, nor forsake you!
Island of plenitude,
Encounter with the light
is what I desire
most in my life.
The fields are white to be ripe.
My Savior has come.
My struggles are over.

I was born into a modest family in France. My dad is French. He is a non-practicing Catholic. He was baptized as a baby and received his First Holy Communion. Catholicism was practiced as my grandfather was Protestant, and my grandmother was a non-practicing Catholic. My grandmother was very strict; when her children misbehaved she used a whip. They lived in the countryside near a small village called “Saint-L├ęger.” My dad and his siblings dropped out of school at the age of 12 to work in the fields to earn wages for the family.

A few years later, my dad travelled to Morocco where he met my mum; they married and moved to France. They lived in Toulouse, the south of France where my dad worked as a builder. Later on, he trained to become a quantity surveyor to provide for our family. My dad was exhausted when he came home from work and barely spent time with us.

I was the eldest of five children (three girls and two boys). He always wanted to watch the news in silence on TV before going to bed. He would only intervene in our upbringing if we needed to be disciplined. He rarely asked us questions about school or life. On a few occasions, he would take us on bike rides and to the fair, but he usually only played with us on Christmas Day. He never had time to develop a proper relationship with his children. I saw him just as a disciplinarian. My parents usually sent us to summer camps on holidays.

My mum had been a primary school teacher in Morocco who taught nine and ten year olds. She had four brothers. Her dad worked in a factory, and her mum raised the kids at home. Her father was also a disciplinarian. Her younger brother used to misbehave. One day, her dad hit him on the arm so strongly causing him to bleed. The wound became infected, and he died at a very young age.

My mum’s uncle controlled the family’s decisions. Children had to financially support their family. My mum’s wages were shared between family members. She wanted to work in research labs, but her family forced her to become a teacher. Her uncle was a tailor; he made the uniforms for the Moroccan army. He made my grandma sew a few uniforms, but he hardly paid her. My mum had to dress poorly because she had to give most of her wages to her family.

This caused strife in the family. Her father performed a lot of Moslem rituals in order to please his Moslem god. My mum described a family environment of strife, poverty, violence, oppression, greed, stinginess, and unhappiness due to money issues. My mum’s dad used to beat his children when they misbehaved.

I concluded that there was a lot of unhappiness, poverty, and violence in my dad’s and my mum’s families. I now understand why my siblings and I had a harsh upbringing.
From a very young age, I longed for a better world, one filled with angels, peace, and love. Deep inside, I always knew that Heaven might be somewhere, and I wondered how to reach it. I believed in a better life after death, free from oppression, fear and suffering.

Disappointed by the world around me, I desperately needed to find meaning and decided to search for the truth. I tried all sorts of things to make my life better. I went as far as doing things like making a wish when losing an eyelash, reading my horoscope, and visiting fortune-tellers. The predictions turned out to be all lies—not one of them has come to pass. The most amazing thing is that none of these practices were able to tell me that I would one day have a personal encounter with the God, who would give meaning to my life.

I remember coming back from school, completely depressed. I had enough of my family and the cruelty at the hands of my classmates. I lay on my bed, crying and thinking about going to a better world with angels. I wanted my life to end on that day. I managed to pull myself together when my sisters came home from school.

I enjoyed scaring my sisters and brothers by hiding in their cupboard. One day I even scared my dad by hiding in the dark as he came back from work. He didn’t find it very funny and scolded me by telling me it was very dangerous, and that I could cause somebody to have a heart attack. Scaring my family was a way to bring a bit of fun in my life, to forget my own problems.

One day, I hid in my bedroom cupboard for a game of hide and seek. Unfortunately, my dad saw the door of the cupboard wasn’t locked properly, and turned the key to lock it. I’m grateful that my sisters came home. As I shouted for help, my sisters heard me and opened the door. Maybe I was looking for help and didn’t really want to die.

I enrolled at a university in France in business administration, which I found extremely boring and a waste of time. I chose this path for the sake of achieving something, but did not really know what I wanted. Most of the things I had wished for, such as a career, a boyfriend, a loving home, and friends, had not happened. I was so unhappy that I often thought about committing suicide. Life at home was very tense because my parents were always arguing. I had to find a way to get away from my depressing life.

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