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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: Love is a Choice
By Tammy Bovee


The scenery whizzes by as I sit in the back seat of the car beside my husband. Dusk is settling in around us, hushing the city with the quiet hues of sunset. I’m trying to study a Sunday school lesson before daylight fades, but the radio is blaring. I plug my ears and quietly read aloud. Finally I ask the question I’ve been longing to ask for quite a while now, “Can we please turn the radio off?”

My mother turns her head toward me, creating her familiar silhouette. She grips the steering wheel, navigating through busy highway traffic as my dad sits beside her quietly.
“You know you can’t control everything in life”.

God was using my Mother to point her finger toward the lesson God was trying to teach me just the day before.

I had decided to give my dog kennel to the neighbor, after watching their dog wander our neighborhood streets for the umpteenth time; narrowly escaping death under the wheels of a car. The next day the dog was wandering again. I struggled with anger, until I remembered my desire to be a lifelong learner. My mind turned a 180. I thought about how God gave his precious son to die for us on a cross. I thought how millions upon millions reject him.

Slowly my mind releases bitterness, like the proverbial monkey must release the shiny object in the bottom of the bottle, to free its hand.

I look up from my book to answer my mother. “I’m helping my husband teach a large adult Sunday school class in the morning and I need to study,” I explain.

I have already dealt with hard feelings this week when Mother asked us to move up the out of state birthday celebration because she has to teach next Sunday night and doesn’t want to get in late Saturday night. I realize her health isn’t what it used to be, and that we’re young. “Life isn’t fair, life just is,” so said my high school algebra teacher. That equation is about all I learned in his class, but it has helped me once again.

Mother switches the radio off.

Finally able to concentrate, I finish my reading.

“So what was this chapter about?” Mother asks.

I resist the thought her real question is “were you really reading?” I choose to give her the benefit of the doubt, like I would want.

This is my mother, I remind myself, and I calmly summarize the chapter, discussing a point that my former church misinterpreted, and with which they hurt me deeply.

Mother has experienced many changes and traumas lately, Christians slandered her. My adult mind understands she is flirting with bitterness and maybe a tinge of unbelief. I’ve been there recently.

As I weigh my thoughts on God’s eternal scales, decades of expecting perfection from my parents disappear. I realize again my parents are human and have struggles just like me. I once again embrace my heavenly Father as the only perfect person in my life and release my parents from the obligation.

As I get ready to leave their home and travel back to my home, mother and I work in the kitchen for a moment. “You know,” I say as I look at the beautiful woman who brought me into this world, nurtured me, and led me to know Jesus at the age of three, “when I was little I used to think you and Daddy were perfect. In my teens I thought you were hard, but now I’m back to thinking you are pretty great.”

I can tell this impacts her.

My husband and I arrive home, we prepare for church and go to sleep. It’s late but we’re young.

The next day I notice the neighbor’s dog is in the kennel. I realize my gift was not in vain. I remember love is a choice. It’s the risk God takes with us; it’s the risk we take with each other.

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This article has been read 464 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Judy Bowers05/04/08
I especially like the last paragraph--love really is a choice in so many situations. Good writing!
Edmond Ng 05/04/08
I can understand the feeling what it means to expect a lot from others, simply because we expect a lot from ourselves. In understanding God is perfect, we must also learn Man is not. What we deem as a considerate thing to do may sometimes be seen as imposing by others, so we must always be sensitive to one another, not to expect perfection while on this earth. I am still learning this. A story well written. Thank you for sharing.
Tessy Fuller05/06/08
You had a good idea here, but I just didn't feel like it came across the way you intended. "former church misinterpreted, and with which they hurt me deeply." Was this needed if you were not going to explain it?

I could feel the friction and I liked the dialogue between mother/daughter but I just needed something to pull together that and your last few paragraphs which had such a valuable message. "my heavenly Father as the only perfect person in my life and release my parents from the obligation."
That part really made me think. Thanks for sharing and keep writing!!
Sara Harricharan 05/06/08
Love is indeed a choice! I like your last lines about it being a risk that God takes with us and that we take with each other. I especially liked how you showed the change of heart not just once, but twice, thrice throughout the story. It made it more real. ^_^
Marilyn Schnepp 05/08/08
Alot of good stuff in this entry; everything from dog kennels, giving, lesson studies, algebra class, youth, and feelings between mother and daughter. Alot to digest in a short time - but very well written and I learned a few, new lessons myself. Thanks for sharing this bumpy ride through life...I enjoyed it and learned from it. Nicely done.