Tag Archives: mother

I had every intention …

of blogging about driving around today with the convertible top down, the music loud and the wind in my face; of blooming trees and budding flowers, puffy clouds in a blue, sun-drenched sky and the perfectness of a warm April day.

But I just hung up the phone after talking to my mom and the things I previously held up in importance faded into the background.

She is a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse, a safe haven.

She knows everything about me, the things that shamed me and, at one time or another, shamed her.

In my youth, I hurt her deeply and couldn’t find within myself the knowledge or ability to make it right.

She knows of my dreams and aspirations and is always the first one to encourage me even as she puts her own dreams and aspirations on hold.

It isn’t easy to explain to someone that thoughts, images, words, experiences, memories and a myriad of other flotsam runs through my head, in a constant stream, even when I’m sleeping.

And that is when I am at my baseline and not in manic mode.

She takes it in stride without judgement or condemnation and, I have come to realize, did so even when I felt I was being judged and condemned.

Nobody can condemn me any more than I condemn myself.  It is the nature of my world and I live with it.

She knows, though, simply by looking at my face or hearing my voice ,when I am in the throes of mania or, thankfully more rarely, the despondency of a depressive crash.

She understands that sometimes, I have to go away; from her, from myself, from everyone and just be dormant.

She knows these things and doesn’t hold them against me.

There is no “well, you did this or that or the other thing”.

She isn’t like that.

She is patient and kind.

She is, without doubt, the Proverbs 31 woman.

I would like to be like her, but that is an aspiration that will never come.  It isn’t that my cup is half empty, but that I live, as much as I can, in a reality-based existence.

She is a light in a dark place and I migrate to her when I need simply to know that someone loves me unconditionally.

I tell her I love her, but how do you describe to someone that  you cannot imagine a life without them.

Unless I die first by some freak event, by the natural order of things, I will lose her at some point in my life.

I cannot imagine a world without my mom.

So I will put that with other things I cannot imagine into a box that lives in the outer-regions of my heart.

When I am manic, the box will break open and I will have to face the possibility, but for now, when I am am simply on overdrive, it is secure in the  little locked box.

She inspires me with her acceptance and encouragement and that, without doubt or reservation, beats blooming trees in springtime seen from a back road drive with the convertible top down.

I love you, Mom .

A houseguest

 

My Mother's Mother's bleeding hearts

My Mother’s Mother’s bleeding hearts

 

This is how she makes me feel ... cherished

This is how she makes me feel … cherished

All of that being said about my mom, I want to extrapolate to another area and  extend prayers and encouragement to a friend that I have long lost touch with.  She lost her son, the light of her world and is now lying among the shattered pieces of her world.  Keep Pam Begley in your prayers when you pray.  I cannot fathom losing a child.

 

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My Mother’s Heart

Tonight, as I edited photographs from the last couple of days, I kept going back, time and again, to the same one.  It was like a hundred more I have taken over the years, with the same shapes and textures, but this time, I saw it in a different light.  I developed the photograph in black and white which brought out each line and crease, each flaw and each vein.  It showed that, although in color, it is nearly perfect, in a pure form, without distractions, my mother’s Bleeding Heart is imperfect and scarred.  My mind began to wander back in time and the years melted away as I saw my mother in a way I can’t ever remember seeing her… as the imperfect jewel that she is.  How her heart must have broken when mine did…  How she, like Mary, must have treasured a lot of things up in her heart.  She hid her hurt, cried when no one could see, and did what needed to be done, whatever it might be.  She cooked and cleaned and did all the motherly things that moms do, but her love is what made home a place I wanted to go.  Knowing she was there was like a balm to a burn… a kind of soothing that comes from a cool cloth on my head… there were special birthday dinners, roller skates, Journey records, leg warmers, ballgames, a huge Andy Gibb poster, a phone in my room, food in the fridge, clean clothes in the closet and a million other things that I took for granted… of course there were disagreements, tears, tantrums, hurt feelings, arguments and, my own signature contribution, plenty of stomping and slamming doors… but when all was said and done, I was me and she was my mom, always ready to run to me if I needed her… Looking back, I see what I’ve known all along… that her heart is beautiful… and so is she.

Proverbs 31:25-31

How Great Is our God – a true story

Have you ever heard a story over and over through the years and realized one day that you hadn’t really heard the story at all and had no clue what may or may not have happened.  Well, as of today, I have.  There is a story that has been told in my family for many years about a woman who was caught in a flash flood.  I guess all the recent rain and flooding brought it up…  The way I understood it  was that there was this woman who was caught in a flash flood, grabbed her kid, jumped out of the car and ran to a neighbor’s house, just as the car was washed away.  My WHOLE life, I have thought this to be the WHOLE story.  A little scary, but nothing to get goosebumps over.  At least not until tonight.  I was talking to mom on the phone and after exclaiming over the rain and puddles and streams and… well, you get the picture – she mentioned this story.  I said, as I have many times in the past, “yeah”, or something else lame like that.  But this time, I said something about the lady getting wet wading through the  water…It was then that I found out that I didn’t know Jack… or Jill either for that matter… but she gave me the real scoop… There was this lady living with her husband and little girl  up on a ridge over near where we go to church.  Driving down the side of the ridge into the valley, she was heading to work and was taking the little one, about eighteen months old, as she did every weekday, to the babysitter’s house.  It was raining, but, as I understand it, it was April… and around here, it rains in April.  Now, if you’ve ever been over in these parts, (or if you are from Ireland or Scotland) you know what rolling hills are and that often, the valley between two hills, over time and necessity, becomes a road.  That’s the way it is when you live in the rolling hills.  It is beautiful to look at, but, as mom told me this story, I realized how incredibly dangerous it could be.  But, I digress… so she was in the car driving down one of these little valley roads, and i use the term road loosely, when it started to rain harder.  She was mildly concerned but didn’t really worry because she’d driven on this road in all kinds of weather without any real trouble.  There was a creek (or a crick, depending) on one side of the road and the hills, quite steep, were on both sides…Having driven that road thousands of times going to church, I can say that it is a bit like driving in a city where you can only see the sky above you, except that it isn’t buildings on either side of you, it’s creation, which is a whole ‘nother ballgame.  Again, I digress… ANYWAY… it began to rain harder and water, which had been trickling down the hills, began to fill the ditch on one side of the car and the creek on the other.  A little further on, the heavenly storehouses of rain burst open and dumped the rain as from a bucket onto the already saturated ground.  The water running off the steep banks quickly became a waterfall of mud, rocks and debris barreling onto and over the car from the creek side.  Now, if you notice, at no point did I mention that the lady or her baby got out of the car.  They didn’t. The water was coming over the hills and onto the road so hard and fast that it pushed the car backwards several feet.  The car began to slide and turn sickly in the road and she tried desperately to turn the wheel away from the creek.  This is where God steps in… I just love it when He does that and love it more when I get to hear about it…  the tire of the car caught in the ditch and became wedged there, keeping it from flipping over into the creek. The water, even muddier than before and now full of rocks and debris, was pounding onto, and over, the top of the car.  Fearing that they would both drown if the car flipped into the creek, she rolled her window down.  This let in a deluge of water through the window.  This is the moment when she realized she was in BIG trouble.  The river of muddy water wasn’t just going over the car, it was pushing against the car with such force that she couldn’t open her door.  She was trapped, with the baby, in a car that was rapidly filling up with water.  She sat the little girl, who had been sitting in the front seat, (remember, this was over 40 years ago so there were no car seats) on the back of the seat to try to keep her out of the water, and rolled down the window on that side.  The water was running in her window and out the other side.  Hoping to let more of the water out, she leaned over and cracked the door on the baby’s side so some of the accumulating water could go out.  By this tiime, the water in the car was up to her bra.  Outside, the world had gone wild.  Lightning slashed the sky like a blade… before one strike could vanish, another one would be there to slit the sky open.  The thunder rolled down the valley like a bellowing bull… and the water continued to rise.  Mom said that at that moment, and I can just hear her saying this, she told me that we would ask Jesus to take care of us.  Time has a way of fooling you when you’re scared, but not only did the rain have to stop, but the water had to stop flowing over the car before she could even consider getting out.  After a period of time, she was able to push her door open, and get out.  The water she stepped into was a river of mud and rocks that came to her knees.  She took me out of the car, (she said this was the only time I cried… and can you blame me for not wanting to get out in that) and carrying me, walked, WALKED, through the muddy water, unable to tell where the creek or the road or the ditch were.  The rocks and debris that she couldn’t even see were there, were hitting her legs. Even so, she didn’t fall… she didn’t even stumble… God at work!!  There were rocks in the road that were bigger than the car she had been driving… in the road, I might add, where we would have been if the car hadn’t slid backward.  Her dress, underwear and bra were full of mud as she carried me, who wasn’t wet except a bit on my feet, to the house of a woman named Acklin… now it is pronounced just like I spelled it, but I have no idea if it’s spelled like it sounds.  She got to Acklin’s house and called Mamaw Daphne and told her we were stranded.  Grandaddy said he’d come on the tractor to get us.  A while later, Mamaw called back and said he couldn’t make it because there were rocks in the road that were BIGGER THAN THE TRACTOR.  So, in the front and the back, there were rocks big enough to crush the car, there was creek full of rushing water and a waterfall coming down on top of the car.  There is no reason we should have lived through that.  God pushed that car in the ditch because He knew the rocks were going to fall.  He saved us, plain and simple.  Jesus protected us, just as a frightened young mother and her little girl asked Him to.  Now I ask you…… HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD???  As I said, I’ve heard that story a million times, but until tonight, I didn’t even know the half of it. (by the way, the babysitter was Granny Minton) My mom is, by far, the bravest woman I have ever known.  And because of what she told me tonight, I feel brave and empowered myself.  I feel like I can do anything… and with the help of the same Jesus who looked out for mom and me on that flooded country road, I can.