Saturday, February 13, 2010
In Memory of my Mother
My mother went to heaven in October, 2004. If she were with us today, this would be her 80th birthday. I find myself feeling bitter-sweet as I reminisce about her life today. I feel nostalgic and sad about her absence but feel a sweet comfort in thinking of her and the person she was.
It's interesting to note the things that remain foremost in our minds after a person has left this world. I remember my Mom's sincere love for Christ. She regularly assured me of the fact that our Father is in control and encouraged my faith toward him all my life.
I learned how to show affection from my Mom. I never grew too old that when I sat down beside her she would reach out to hold my hand. She hugged and patted those she loved. I remember as a small child that she sang songs to me, the first I remember being, "Catch a Falling Star" by Perry Como. She would reach out and pretend to be catching the star and then pretend to put it in my pocket. My mother was a whistler. I remember her whistling tunes as she cleaned house when I was a small child.
She was a Sunday School teacher when she was younger and able to attend church, something she couldn't do anymore as the years passed and her health continued to deteriorate. She taught the young married couples at church and loved it.
I remember her reading the Bible and praying when my Dad as in Viet-nam. She never learned to drive so it was quite a challenge for her to have him across the world while she was back home with two young children.
I think of the many discussions I had with her about grace. She struggled with what I teach because of the influence of her own church background during the time she grew up. I still have negative feelings toward that denomination because of what I saw it did to my mother's sense of confidence over the Father's unconditional acceptance of her, independent of what she had done or not done in life.
One of the funniest moments I remember happened shortly before she died. She said to me, "The lady who cleans my house was over this past week. She's having such a hard time." My mother then began to tell me about the lady's troubles and about what she (my mother) had told the house cleaner to encourage her.
"I told her what you wrote in your book about . . ." My mother proceeded to explain to me how she had shared unconditional acceptance and pure grace with the woman. Then she paused, looked at me and said, "And I don't even believe that stuff!" I started laughing.
"Then why did you tell her all that, Mom?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said as she laughed too.
"I'll tell you why you told her that, Mom," I said. "It's because you do believe it! In your heart you know it's true, but you just can't get your (church denominational background) head around it!"
"You think so?" she said.
"I know so!" I answered.
My Mom went to heaven with confidence that she was a Christian but with hopes that there wouldn't be answering to do about her shortcomings. I like to imagine what it must have been like when her Father embraced her and never mentioned anything about shortcomings in this life.
I miss my mother today, but live in the confident assurance that one day I'll again sit by her side and she will pat me on the leg, then hold my hand, and maybe even sing a Perry Como song to me.