Outside, the rain is falling. Its gentle tapping against the window pane is a familiar sound to my ears and I remember…
I remember being very eager to learn to read for myself that year I started school. After buying school clothes and supplies, you said, “You are going to learn to read this year and you’ll learn to read lots of books, but this is the best book you will ever read.” Then you handed me a Bible with my name imprinted on the front. I did not yet know that to be true about the Bible, but I knew I could trust you, Mother.
I remember wanting to learn to sew. You patiently taught me to gather the fabric into a simple skirt which I could actually wear. You also taught me to appliqué colorful butterflies, cut from scraps of cloth, onto plain muslin squares. Yet more important than learning to sew was knowing that I was worthy of your time and interest. As we shared the tedious work and laughed together, I knew you loved me. Incidentally, Mother, those muslin squares we made together were saved and became the quilt top for your first great-grandchild’s crib quilt.
I remember your humming or singing familiar hymns as you prepared food or washed dishes or ironed clothes or cleaned the house or struggled to pay the bills. You brought Christ into every task in our home and I learned that even mundane or unpleasant or difficult chores can sometimes be joyous and always holy events.
I remember how much fun you had accessorizing your clothes with scarves and costume jewelry and hats. You would laughingly declare, “Consider the lilies of the field*…even Solomon in all his glory had nothing finer!” I learned that life can be fun and there is no reason for anxiety, even on a budget. I also learned that it is not what we wear in life that is important; it is who we are or rather, knowing Whose we are.
I remember that day I accidentally disturbed a bumble bee’s nest and screamed as the mother bee chased me. You immediately came to my defense with the mat you were shaking. From a safe distance, I watched two Mothers defend their young and almost felt sorry for the unfortunate mother bee that had incurred my Mother’s wrath. I wonder if God gets that angry when evil threatens to harm one of His children…
I remember how you would catch my eye in a crowded room. Then you’d wink and smile at me, letting me know you were proud of me and glad we were there together. I hope God can feel the same way.
I remember how you cherished your turn in life to be a Grandmother. I especially remember each Christmas morning when I would awaken, after a late night of assembling various toys, to find you sitting on the floor in front of the tree. There you sat among the children and their toys from Santa. I have often wondered who was having the most fun—you or your grandchildren.
I remember all those years you stood alone after Dad died. For thirty years you faithfully fed those Cardinals you and Dad had enticed with bread crumbs and fresh water. Family after family of Cardinals graced your yard over the years. I learned that life is not always fair, yet amid broken dreams life is still beautiful and love is forever.
I remember standing near your coffin to receive the farewell of your many friends. The line seemed endless and each person wanted to share some fond memory. These were those you helped, befriended, visited. Listening to their memories of time spent with you left no doubt about the high value you had placed upon friendship. I felt enfolded in love by the friendship your friends extended to me and I knew that in this life you were truly a gracious lady.
I remember a verse of scripture that you often quoted within my hearing. “In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”* And so I know that you have returned to your real home with God where you are now surrounded with more love than any human can ever imagine.
*Matthew 6: 28 (KJV)
*John 14:2-3 (KJV)
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