When I started this blog I didn’t expect to focus so much on my mother, her life, her passing, and her influence on my life, but to this common man my mother was a giant among women. For you see, I was born with a cleft palate and lip and my mother had to not only deal with my facial disfigurement, but my feeding & care had special requirements that she alone had to do. This forged a bond between my mother and I that was deep and lifelong. And with her passing less than a year in progress, I can’t help but focus on all of the firsts within this year.
You see, tomorrow (02/10) is her birthday, and she would have been 81 years young. On Friday when I was getting ready to shut my computer down I did my usual scan of my upcoming weekly schedule. The Sunday schedule duly noted that it was Mom’s birthday, and not that I ever needed a reminder, I always marked my calendar accordingly. And as I pondered the upcoming day I realized it was another first, her first birthday that we would celebrate without her. I knew it would be another difficult first but figured I would be able to tough my way thru it as I have all of the other previous firsts without her.
Well, color me stupid, but I decided to go thru some of her clothes and belongings tonight that we needed to donate to charity. My wife had stacked everything in a corner of the family room weeks ago for me to sort thru and give my final approval to.
Most of the items were her clothes, and I picked up her red Spring jacket and held it close to my face hoping to catch one last wift of her fragrance, of her being, but I’m afraid that had all faded since her passing on May 10th. So I neatly folded her jacket and placed it along with all of her other clothes, towels and household soft items in a bag and moved on to the box that was waiting for me.
The box contained her old phone and I held the receiver to my ear as if to hear her voice one more time, but was met with deafening silence. My mother was a talker, and she could, and did, spend hours on the phone. It felt as though I was discarding her social lifeline, but a lifeline whose time had come to a close. Knowing that the goodwill will not accept old electronics, I set the phone aside for recycling, smiling ever so slightly at the thought that with all of the hours on this phone that there was probably not much left to recycle.
I reached into the box and pulled out a leather bound book titled “Daily Inspiration For The Purpose Driven Life”. There was a red ribbon bookmark and I opened the book to the marked page. The Chapter was titled Day 6 – Life is a Temporary Assignment. There was a drawing on the page of a country scene with a tree, field, creek, and a bridge over the creek. My mother was often drawn to such pictures as they reminded her of her time growing up on the farm.
There were a number of passages from the Bible that referenced in some way the title of the chapter. The opening passage was from Psalm 39:4 NLT – Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away.
Mom however placed a small x next to the passage that best spoke to her – Philippians 3:18-20 NLT – There are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ…All they think about is this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.
On the next page Mom also placed a small x next to the following passage from 1 Corinthians 7:31 NLT – Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away.
As I thumbed thru the pages of the book I could see where Mom marked numerous passages that spoke to her, but the bookmark was placed where it talks about and references how short our time on this earth really is. I think Mom would periodically refer back to these passages to help keep her focused on her remaining time and how to best use it, and appreciate it.
Mom never pretended to be something that she wasn’t, but she tried her best in her later years to keep her faith strong while her health steadily declined, and her love of God front and center. She did not wear her Christianity on her sleeve, but she was never afraid to give God all of the credit for the blessings in her life.
Mom started giving away many of her material possessions much earlier than most parents, and I remember telling her that she should hold on to and enjoy her things for a while longer, but she realized what I did not, that “Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away.”
So, after reading the passages that my mother had marked, and with tears in my eyes, I finished packing up the belongings that my wife had set aside for me to go thru, placed them in the car, and drove them to the Rescue Mission and dropped them off. Hopefully they will bring someone else comfort, warmth and security. For me, it was one in many steps of letting go.
And the book you ask, did I place that back in the box in the hopes that it would bring inspiration and comfort to someone else? To that I answer, no I did not, as I feel that I have much to learn yet from the passages that my mother placed her small x’s next to. However, when the time comes, and I have passed from this world, I hope the book will be passed on to someone who will “make good use of ” its words and my mother’s x marks as much as she did, and hopefully I will as well.
Happy birthday Mom, and thank you for giving me such a gift as “Daily Inspiration For The Purpose Driven Life”. I think you saved the best gift for last, which doesn’t surprise me in the least.
And every night since her passing I say the following prayer – “Lord, please forgive my mother for her sins, please welcome her into the Kingdom of Heaven and grant her life everlasting. Thank you Lord, Amen.”
Love and missing you Mom, and may God bless you for all of eternity!