Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Love and Grace (09/11/14)
- TITLE: Happy Birthday, Mom
By Carolyn Ancell
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Happy Birthday! I love you.
I hope you like the flowers. I chose red this year to honor the fiery beauty of your personality and your stubborn (but smiling) stick-to-it-ness every time you've had an opinion you felt strongly about. Like my name.
I remember you told me Dad wanted to name me Beatrice, after his mother. You wanted to name me Grace, after no one! You just liked the name, and insisted on it, perhaps secretly harboring the thought that your daughter might turn out to be a little princess, delicate, coordinated, and--well--graceful!
Despite your heroic efforts to guide the course of my development, I grew up awkward, uncoordinated, and accident-prone. You and Dad put me in ballet classes. At recitals, instead of dancing in the front row in a pink tutu, I got to be a tree, and wave green fronds in the back row. I was always the last one picked in our neighborhood games of softball and Red Rover. I sported permanently scraped knees and shins from falling off my push scooter. I was the only one in my class who could not stand on one foot. (I still can't.)
When in 4th grade I found that birthday card at Isaacson's Drugs, I could hardly believe it. It was blue and pink and yellow, and read "TO MUMSY, FROM CLUMSY." I bought it straightaway, blessed by the miracle of someone having made the perfect card for me to give to you. You hugged me, called me your favorite nickname for me, "Miss Grace," and told me you loved the card. I believed it, and still do.
Mom, you named me Grace; and graceful, I wasn't. Yet I always felt grace-d and grace-filled and grace-surrounded in your presence. You loved me. You took my childhood questions seriously, never belittling them or me. You supported my fledgling spirituality, and encouraged me to think and inquire and find my own way to God. (I now realize that that was because someone had done the same for you, and you trusted God would lead me.) When I did find my path to God, it was not identical to yours. But you defended my choice and my path with the same fire and strength you showed when you blessed me with my name. For decades then, our spiritual conversations continued, inquiring, challenging, always seeking truth, always enjoying and honoring each other's hearts, always knowing God was present with us.
How I wish I could share with you today the joy, the discovery, the amazing spiritual adventures God has been leading me on. How I wish we could share another cup of coffee over prayerful spiritual conversation. How I wish I could hug you and thank you again and again for giving me my life and leading me to faith. I am so grateful for YOUR life, and the grace you have been, and always will be, in mine. I shall look forward, in God's time, to seeing you again. For now, I bless God for you, and pray God is granting you a blessed birthday in heaven.
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