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Arise and call her blessed

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

From Psalm 34
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.

When I spend time with Mom at her house in Lincoln, she smiles, kisses me, welcomes me, and then we spend the day together. We work on jigsaw puzzles, go out to lunch, look at the books weíve read the last two weeks, share whatever treats Iíve brought and talk a bit.

Mom hears what I say, at times. We rarely have an important agenda. The sun comes up, and the sun goes down. She will be 97 at the end of June this year. I am pretty sure she is healthier than I am.

But yesterday we went to Springfield, to an eye clinic, for her every-six-weeks-shot. Not a shot in the arm, this is a shot in the eye. Using a very thin needle the doctor injects a miracle drug into each of her pupils, thereby protecting her from further macular degeneration. Consequently, the shadows, dark spots, and virtual blindness experienced by earlier generations, passes her by. She still reads every day.

Look at him that you may be radiant with joy.

She wants to have lunch before these appointments, because her eyes are sore afterward. Oh, really, sore? Actually, Iím amazed at how quickly she recovers. We were Outbackís first customers, and we devoured bowls of each of their three soups. She had some grilled shrimp and coffee. She might have been nervous, but her appetite was terrific.

In the old days (she was born in 1922), her memory was wonderful. She has always been a history buff, those names and dates stayed in her head forever. Not so much now. If I asked her to memorize the serenity prayer, she couldnít do it. But Ö it doesnít matter. She lives the serenity prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Mom is a little frail. She huffs and puffs when she climbs a stair or two. She is very happy to get home and sit back down in her chair after an outing. But she walks on her own or with a walker. The wheelchair we bought several years ago sits mostly unused in a corner. Most of the time she gets around the house without help. I was sleepy coming home today from Springfield and she offered to drive. I turned her down.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.

The days of doing everything in a hurry are over for her. Count that as blessing! She began teaching elementary school when she was 17. She graduated with an education degree from the University of Illinois a decade later. She taught grade school kids for many years, she taught P.E., she taught inmates at the Logan Correctional Center, and later she got a masters degree in counseling.

Her family - her husband, her children, her parents, her sister, and countless friends all benefited from Momís unrealized desire to be a nurse. She taught me to read when I was four. When I joined anti-war demonstrations in 1968 and then got slammed after describing them in the local daily paper, she defended me. She has been a helper all her life.

Mom brims over with gratitude for her three kids: Mary Kay her nurse, John her helper, Dave her entertainment. We donít say enough about our gratitude for her. In our different ways, we love her to pieces. And have for a very long time.

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to his will, that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

Spending time with Mom yesterday, I heard echoes of Lutheran churches from my childhood. We sang the old hymns alongside each other, sitting in wooden pews. I surely had little interest in following the sermon, but I sat there every Sunday, we all did, together.

I recalled the words of Proverbs 31:

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done.

Driving home with Mom, feeling a little sleepy in the warm spring sun, I thought about these things and touched her hand.

You always tell me, Lord, to let you lead. Thereís no hurry. The urgency I feel to Get Things Done is unnecessary. Thank you for infusing that wisdom into my mother over all these years, and giving her children time to learn that kind of quiet peace from her.

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