Sunday, October 5, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom!

With a lot of my writings - and daily thoughts - being about my dad, I said before that someone else deserves as much credit for shaping me. I must never forget (and I certainly haven't) the importance the role of my mom has played in my life and what a blessing she was and is for me and my family.

With so many broken families, I am so fortunate to have never been a part of that. Not in the sense of separation or divorce. Having a husband that's taken away from you has to be one the most difficult trials of life. But I thank you for your strength and grace through dad's sickness that robbed all of us of something special.
I thank you for the little life lessons along the way that were mostly by example. It's sometimes easy to say or live by the "do as I say not as I do" motto. What you said is what you did making for a great role model.
The shape you and dad created in me went through it's natural crumbling as I became my own person, my own parent and spouse. But at the center of it all, in the core, was the heart of my childhood that still is with me today.
We were a church-going family. That was our commitment each week. My girls are blessed as I was then. Each week, it's what our family does. It's what our family wants to do. No questions asked.
In that child's heart that's inside of me, even though it seems far away sometimes, is the memory of you always talking with me, or letting me talk, at bedtime after saying the Lord's Prayer. What a powerful moment. Not just for the time that you dedicated to hearing what was on my heart and mind, but to teach me that very important and powerful prayer. Some people think you shouldn't say the same prayer over and over again. Obviously they don't get what Jesus was telling us through that prayer - that lesson.
I'll close with a memory that I shared with you before, but it's impact on me was profound. I was about 5 - give or take a year - I don't remember anyone else being home at the time. You were standing in front of the sink in our kitchen in Kinzers washing dishes or maybe just your hands. Out the window that set right over the sink you could see our hedge running parallel to our driveway, the neighbor's house and the busy Route 30. It was quiet in the house and I was probably just wandering into kitchen to observe what you were doing. Something I believe I did quite often. With the water from the faucet providing the only sound, an ambulance, outside on the highway -sirens wailing - broke the silence. I distinctly remember the sound as it quickly faded only to be replaced by another. It wasn't another ambulance speeding by, but rather the sounds of crying. "What's the matter, Mommy?" I asked. To which you replied, "Somebody's hurt." "Who?" I asked. "I don't know," you said.
You cried over someone that you didn't know, never met and probably never did meet. You cried because someone was hurt. It didn't matter who. Right then and there, a new heart within me was formed. Created by sensitivity and grace that only a mother could give. Now with a family of my own, when we're in the car, we often see an ambulance wailing by. "Someone's hurt," I tell the girls. "Say a prayer for them." I can only hope I can show them the heart you have shown me.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

"...the darkness just lets us see who we are...I've got your life inside of me" - Bono (From the song Iris. A song about his mother who died when he was only 14, but also had a profound effect on his life.)

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