Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
TITLE: Enduring Faith
By Mary McLeary
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I stood on my front porch at the end of a warm August day and watched as Mother and Mike left for their home twenty minutes away. Mother leaned lightly on her cane. At eighty-five she is blessed with style, talent and fortitude. She followed my brother who lives with her. He was leaning heavily on the walker he uses since his second amputation. Walking now requires patience for both of them. They must take their time.
We had enjoyed a good meal. One of Mikeís friends had given him several deer steaks and I had offered to cook them. Since I had never prepared wild meat, I didnít realize the extra time it would require. Following a recipe I found on the internet, I began by marinating the steaks in water and vinegar for two hours. Next I let them sit for another 30 minutes in milk. I then added the barbeque sauce and other various ingredients and cooked them for and hour. Thatís a lot of time! The refrigerator rolls took three hours to rise and the butter beans had simmered for quite awhile. When we sat down to dinner all the flavors came together to make it a meal worth waiting for. This meal required patience in the doing and faith for the outcome. Life does too.
My precious mother has more faith and patience than anyone I know. For thirty years she has prayed and waited for God to be glorified in Mikeís life, but each year has brought a new set of challenges that she has endured. With serenity she has supported him while serving God in various other ways. Until two years ago she taught a Sunday school class at her church. For several months she would leave right after teaching and drive out to a small country church and play the piano for their worship service.
She is very independent of others but totally dependent on God. After she became a widow at sixty-one, her fierce independence served her well. She did her grieving privately and rebuilt her life. Mike once again found himself in a valley and asked for her help. The gray, two-story home she bought after daddy died had plenty of room and felt empty so she invited him to live with her. That is when their journey towards patience really started.
Mike was a gifted athlete in high school. He kept in top physical condition and was a Senior Class Favorite. In college he was a member of the touring choir, a national fraternity and had many friends. After graduation he started a football program at a local high school. In his mid twenties his life became a cycle of extreme highs and lows. He seemed to lose all direction. He developed diabetes, and he eventually lost his legs. Now he often talks about poor choices he made in his youth, but he never blames anyone else nor does he consider himself a victim. He talks of heaven with conviction. He has developed a patient faith that gives witness to all who know him. He doesnít seem to be aware of this.
After all these years, I believe God is being glorified in both their lives. I know when I go to see them there is a peace in that house that passes understanding, and the only explanation is their patient faith in Godís goodness. His ways are unfathomable. He provides for them daily. A Sunday school class painted her house last spring as a class project, a former neighbor bought her a new washer and dryer, some one brings food weekly. Many of Mikeís old friends call regularly.
The really good things in life take time. A beautiful sunset doesnít come until the end of the day. At eighty-five, my motherís patience has made her a master piece and Mike is becoming one too because of her enduring faith.
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