Proverbs 31: 25-30: Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Anonymous limerick titled "Parenthood", published many years ago in the Wall Street Journal:
When I took this job, / It causes me much ire, / They never told / me, I could not retire.
Having just celebrated Mothers' Day has left me thinking. Our mothers and fathers are so key in our lives that God inscribed a separate command for how to treat them - with honor. Our parents deserve a special place in our hearts. Their commitment to us is very strong. I was blessed with my mother and father being with me long into adult life. Dad is still here. Mom passed away 3 years ago at the age of 92. Many among us have parents still alive; others treasure memories or blessings of them or of someone else who stepped in to take on a parenting role.
How have our mothers made marks on our lives? My own mother was understated in some ways; she supported Dad in his career and did an amazing job in keeping the family going. But she taught me:
· To do a job well – she did hers at a level that got her invited to be head librarian at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.
· How a long (61 years), happy marriage works and how it makes life so much simpler – my parents were a wonderful unit that could work through issues well.
· Cooking is fun (a lesson plan happily continued since 1985 by my wife Linn).
· Music is a wonderful part of life at many levels - a long story with the choirs she directed, the solos she sang, and the piano she played.
· Dogs are great family members (ours have been joining us for worship on recent Sundays; hers visited her in the ICU in her last days.)
· Long conversations are important. I remember many dog walks here in Albuquerque with long phone conversations with Mom about books we were reading. She went deep with topics like The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (although I still wonder how the basic architecture of the human brain could have changed 3,000 years ago).
· Faith in our Lord is important. Things are less so (a lesson emphasized when we had no idea for days whether their house had burned during the Cerro Grande fire).
In her last week, she kept saying how thankful she was. On Christmas eve shortly before midnight, a gust of wind blew open the hospital window and awakened my brother who was with her. He went over to her bed and made the sign of the cross on her forehead, saying “God loves you.” She took a last shuddering breath and departed. In her birthplace in upstate NY, she had made it to her birthday – to Christmas. In the morning at their house, we had the entire family, her birthday cake, no Christmas decorations in sight, and an enormous red-tail hawk outside watching us for over an hour. Her Pollyanna heart, her low-key approach to many things, and her patience will always be in my heart. Thank you, Mom!
Prayer: Dear Lord, in this time of stay-at-home, help me to remember my parents or those others who have stepped into a special role in my life. Help me to see how I can reach out to the ones who are still with me today to brighten their day. Where You would have me, may my hands be yours in meeting their needs. Amen.
-- Mike Furnish, CLM