Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Memories Part III

The memory of the righteous is blessed…     Proverbs 10:7

I can’t get the images of that day out of my mind. Actually, I’m not sure that I want to even as painful as it was. I really hadn’t slept much the night before. But when I finally drifted off, the muffled sound of distant thunder awakened me. October rain, dreary and gentle would fall steadily throughout the day prompting a close Jewish friend to quote a Yiddish proverb to me, “Surely this was a righteous person. For when it rains like this on the day of a funeral the very heavens are weeping.”

I picked up the phone to check my voice mail and listened to the first message. It was a couple of days old. I had been so preoccupied recently that I hadn’t bothered to check it for some time. The message was from my mother. She was calling about nothing in particular – just wanted to give me some words of encouragement and tell me she loved me. I ended up saving that message for thirty days until the system automatically deleted it. I listened to it over and over every day. Then one day it was gone. Just like my mother. You see, those were the last words my mother ever spoke to me. She had been battling breast cancer for two years and earlier that morning she sat up in bed and reached out for what I can only assume were the visions of her next life. Then she gave up the ghost. Turns out, she had left quite a few people those messages. She even sent a card of encouragement to our pastor expressing her appreciation for his ministry just hours before her passing. He was astounded to receive a letter from her between the day of her death and the day of her funeral. But that’s who my mother was. Anyone who knew her had enormously potent memories of her. You see, making memories was her specialty. It was her job. It was her ministry.

I have priceless memories of the time I spent with my mother. As incredulous as it may sound, I can still hear the Mississippi bayou cradle songs she would sing when she would rock me to sleep. I had the great fortune of being able to sing those same songs to my babies. They’ve been passed down to at least five generations that I know of – perhaps more. My father often made happy home movies of my mother playing with me. She’d throw a baseball ball while I batted. She could even throw a football with a pretty good spiral. What beautiful memories those are. They are memories that speak of a life of dedication and love between a mother and her children.

But as significant as these memories are to me, the context of those memories is even more important. That’s because my mother was a walking biblical concordance and everything she did, I mean everything, was framed in the word of God. Thanks to my parents, the Word of God provided the backdrop of my entire life. Want to go to hang out with some friends mom wasn’t so comfortable with? She would quote 2 Corinthians 6:14. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” Listen to music with lyrics that were unedifying? Out would come Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” When I read these verses today, my heart dictates them to me in my mother’s voice and I ache with a desire to hear her quote those verses to me again. I miss her so. And that’s precisely the point here. We have so little time to make memories with each other we need to keep a couple of things in mind. First, I would encourage us to be intentional with an effort to live life knowing that each moment with our loved ones has the potential to be a memory, either positive or negative. Second, I pray that mothers and children alike would hide the Word of God in their hearts so that they can begin framing memories within the context of the Word of God. After all, the Word of God is the very essence of who we are as believers. As my mother would tell me while I was walking out the door to go hang out with my friends, “John, while you are away from this home, remember whose you are. You belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Submitted by John Dennie 

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