Today is Mother’s Day, and for the first time I am not able to call, visit, or even send flowers to my mom. She died in January following a two week battle with COVID-19. I am sad that she suffered, and sad that her family could not be at her bedside to provide comfort and care. But I am thankful that she is not lost, for I know exactly where she is. She is in heaven, reunited with her parents, her brothers, and her husband. Most of all, she is in the presence of her Lord, who she faithfully served her entire life.
Today I reflect on her life and influence. Many of these remembrances bring a smile to my face. I remember the pace and tempo of her life…church attendance on Sunday…laundry on Monday…ironing on Tuesday…church again on Wednesday…beauty shop on Friday…grocery store and lunch at her parents on Saturday…EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. Each day was organized around an inflexible meal schedule. Breakfast, dinner and supper times were established in stone and never varied, eliminating the question, “When do we eat?” The food was always good, thanks in part to the folgers can of bacon grease on the stove. She made all of her desserts from scratch. Annual seasons were defined by planting, harvesting and canning fresh vegetables from the garden, all according to The Farmer’s Almanac. During the winter months she made hand made quilts, twelve stitches per inch. Life was simple and structured.
My fondest memory today is the memory of my mother’s encouragement for me to read. Her education never surpassed her high school diploma, but she was an avid reader. We didn’t have money for “extras,” but some how she found the money to buy books for me to read. She taught me to read books, love books, and care for books. Because of her (and Amazon) I continue to be a buyer and reader of books. Lots and lots of them! No e-reader for me!
But the best book she ever purchased for me was a Bible, given to me for Christmas in 1982. I still have it, and from time to time read the fly leaf which bore the admonition, “always keep Jesus in your life.” This particular Bible was instrumental in my call to vocational ministry. It was the first Bible that I read seriously as I went to Bible college. It was the Bible I preached my first sermon from, titled, “The Master Prayer of the Christian,” based on Matthew 6:10. Appropriately, it is the Bible I used to deliver her funeral sermon. It’s hard to believe I’ve had that Bible for nearly 40 years. One might assume that I associate my love for the Bible with my father, who served as a pastor for 60 plus years. But I don’t. When I think of the Bible and its influence, I readily attribute it to her.
My mom wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But what she did, she did well and to the best of her ability. Most importantly, she taught me to be Jesus centric. And that’s not nothing.