Remembering my Mother
This is a reprint from a post I wrote the year my Mother journeyed through the Valley of Shadows in 2006.
This has been a very weird time for me and the rest of my family, especially, and obviously, for my Dad. They have been married for over 40 years. It is a very hard time for us.
It has been said, by more than one person, that my Mom was the glue that kept the extended family together. She was the cog for the wheel. She was the 'wheel within the wheel'. And it's so true. Even when she was sick and in the hospital, she urged me and my family to go visit my Grandmother's sister ('Great Aunt'?) and her husband while they were visiting from California. (He was a famous artist.) She was a lovely person. Someone whom I miss deeply.
My relationship with my Mom was good. Not good, but great. She loved me. I know this because it was customary in my house growing up to say it all the time. But, she not only said it, she showed it. Like most moms, she was always their for me. Even when things were out of control in my life, she was there for me. She stood by me. She corrected me when I was out of line (the details of that are for another time). She made me hot chocolate when I walked home from school in the cold and snow. She hugged me and told me that everything was going to be alright. She kissed me and told me she loved me.
And not just me, she was there for my Sister as well. When my Sister was going through a very hard time in her life, my Mom would pray for her. And I mean, pray. She actually prayed that God would bring a good, solid, Christian friend to my sister. And God did. They have been friends for over 15 years.
My Mom, like me, struggled with Christianity. Not the faith, but the praxis. She saw too much. She continued to search and seek God. She went from tradition to tradition (and by this I mean the different Christian expressions) trying to find that spot where she felt at peace, where she felt a good balance in the message and walk. She finally found this in the Episcopal tradition. Like me. Some of my fondest memories are from the last few years. We used to sit out on the porch at Dad and Mom's place in Stigler and talk about God. Not only did we talk about getting our thoughts and understanding straight, but how we could and should implement that in our daily lives. But, no matter how much we griped and complained, we were certain, are certain, about one thing -- no one has seen God, but Jesus of Nazareth has revealed God. That was a very big thing for me about my Mom. Her unwavering faith. Even when things were all out of sync, even when she doubted, she still had faith. For Mom, it was not a question of 'if' but 'why'. And even then she knew that 'God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to [God's] purpose for them' (Romans 8.28) even if she didn't understand them. And when she didn't understand, she knew that the problem was with her and not God. She knew that it was because she is mortal and God is not. And if she doubted, when she doubted, even then she seemed to echo the prayer of the disciples, 'Lord, increase my faith'.
My Mom longed for balance. Like so many of us, she longed for this dimension to be put to rights. She longed to see the day when the New Creation was fully implemented. Where tears would be wiped dry. Where mourning, crying, and pain would be no more. Where death itself would be done away with. She longed for that day when the dimension of God ('heaven') would be joined with our dimension ('earth') and the two would become one (Revelation 21). Part of that longing has now been fulfilled for her. She, like those that have gone to sleep before her, are awaiting the final consummation in God's dimension. When that day comes, we will be standing in our new bodies, our resurrected bodies, our 'spiritual bodies' holding each other, laughing, hugging, and talking. It will be a glorious day. I can hardly wait!
Until then, I only hope that I can live up to the examples that my Mom set before me. She exemplified the Christian walk. Everyone I know, everyone I have ever talked to, relates how my Mom put others first. How she gave of herself for others. How she would walk that next mile. How should would take the crap people where dishing out with dignity. How she would love us to the utmost. I think I can sum up my Mom with a passage from Scripture:
'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'
I believe . . . no . . . I saw my Mom live that. I only hope that I can do the same.
In the Love of the Three in One,