We buried my mom 10 years ago today. It is amazing to think it has been that long. I'm joyful in ever good memory of her. Mom was a fascinating woman. Her dad died when she was a child. She was the youngest of 13 children. They grew up poor but I never heard her say that or say anything bad about her family or childhood. She was always very open and honest about her efforts and struggles to understand the Bible. Her family was the pride of her life. She loved and protected and defended dad. She was so proud of him and his work. She was happiest when standing beside him and seeing others joy at his teaching and preaching and service. To this day I believe that may be the biggest thing that led me to preach - how much she revered, respected and spoke of what “your daddy” is doing. Dad was always busy preaching, teaching, helping the church grow, conducting Bible studies and missed a lot of our events and lives but mom never complained to us - she would say “your daddy would want to be here but he is doing the most important work in all the world.”
Naturally, she has been on my mind a lot this week so I thought I’d share with you some of what Mom taught me.
- To sing in the midst of tears…Mom did not live an easy life. She grew up picking cotton and without a lot. She had a number of health issues. She had two open heart surgeries in her 50’s and needed a third. She raised four children much without the presence of dad. BUT mom loved to sing. I have a hard time thinking of her without thinking about singing. She sang in the car all the time. Silly songs, songs of worship. Of course in a child’s mind every mom has a beautiful voice. But she really did.
- To be a little silly sometimes…Mom loved to laugh and to be silly. I often think that is what drew dad to her. She loved comedies at the movies. I wish I could hear her laugh again or try to tell a story and get to where she couldn’t even tell it she was so “tickled.” That side of me that loves to laugh and to help others laugh - that's from mom.
- That to be proud of someone gives them energy to move forward better…Her most famous line was “momma’s proud of you.” I don’t know how many times I have heard that and she wrote it in ever note she would send too. In a selfish manner that is what I miss most about her. I loved to share with her good things that were happening in my life for I knew she would rejoice with me in them. She was proud when her kids or grandkids did anything right regardless of if it was big or very small!
- To follow through on your commitments…She and dad started dating in high school when she was 16 and for the rest of her life he was her only love. But that is not all she was committed to and if mom was committed to something it was for life: Her Braves, the Tide, her friends, Woodlawn/Roebuck Parkway. If she loved something she was committed to it completely. And she expected her children not to be quitters either.
- To stand your ground…I suppose this goes along with the previous one. She would study a matter but once she believed something to be true she stood her ground and wouldn’t give an inch. I remember her calling me several times with Bible questions she was concerned about. And she would not put up with something that could not be backed up by the Bible. I imagine she helped keep dad straight. She wasn’t nearly as educated or “smart” as dad BUT she was so committed to the scriptures. If she heard a preacher and he didn’t use enough Bible she didn’t like him. She would look and listen to people but she did not agree with but you better come equipped if you think you were going to change her mind.
- To tell the truth even if it hurts…Mom wouldn’t put up with lying and when/if she ever caught us in a lie - watch out! She was famous for certain lines. One was: “You tell a lie when the truth would be better.”
- That there are some people you do not want to disappoint...Mom loved the underdog and was generous beyond her capacity to be generous. She was supportive of so many and so much. BUT you did not want to disappoint her. NOT because of repercussions but because it hurt her so much when someone didn't do right.
There are many other things I learned from mom but I felt the need to share these with you. And as “the Bear” (someone else mom loved) would say “have you called your mama today, I sure wish I could call mine.”
Thanks for listening.