Mom's World Class Example on How to Survive through Tough Times.
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
I think we can all admit that times today are challenging. We are being tossed around like a lost ship at sea by the news. Even the daily routine of the entire country has been impacted …coffee shops are closed for inside seating, restaurants not being fully open, social gatherings limited, no concerts, …everything that touches our lives on a daily basis is in upheaval We all want NORMAL to come back!
Me? I’m not afraid to admit I want my mother. No matter how old a person gets, there is just something about a mother that brings a level of comfort. Even if she does not have magic words, her voice takes you back when she could kiss all the boo-boos away. Hearing the voice that comforted you as a small child, will still bring comfort decades later.
Every family dynamic is different. If it wasn’t your mom that brought comfort, it was a grandmother, grandfather, sibling, step-father, uncle, or someone. If I reached an obstacle, it has been my dad who could help me rearrange myself mentally so I could continue on my future direction with a new vigor. It was my mother who would help me rearrange myself at that particular moment to muster up the strength I needed for that day. Every good mom has a way of helping you rearrange your heart so you could turn the hurt around into a new goal and direction. Once I had the direction, my dad took over and helped me to wrap my brain around what was next.
Today, I am stretched almost beyond my ability. I just want things to go back to normal! I'm weary of viruses, riots, political mudslinging and hate groups. I want businesses to open back up, kids to go back to school. A part of me is heart broken by what I'm witnessing on the news. And when my heart aches? I want to call my mom. .
But my mom passed away 10 months ago.
Now, I could go down that road and get really upset because she isn't here any longer. But I remember a conversation the two of us had decades ago. She was pretty insistent that her memory never brought a tear, but instead caused me to smile. In all her life, she never intentionally let me down, so she deserves the same…I don’t want to let her down. I owe her that.
Now grown, I look back at my small childhood home located on Lilac Lane. Somehow everything stayed so calm and stable. How did our family avoid unnecessary drama? How did everyone remain calm when all around us may be losing their head? How did my parents keep that hedge of protection around them for 54 solid years? I know God was there, sure. But what else was it?
Times were simple, not complicated, and no drama. We respected each other, never raised our voices at one another, and remembered that we loved each other. Every day.
I let my mind skip ahead and recall the times when I was raising my son. I would “go home” to see my parents, it was like time never changed. The same meals were being prepared the same way, the same type of programs were still on the TV, and everything seemed to have a little hedge of protection around it. Somehow it would leave me flabbergasted that it appeared my parents had no idea what was going on in the world. It seemed they were so far from the reality I was somehow thrust into as a single mom. Somehow, when I would be distraught, there would be a trip to the ice cream parlor, a chocolate cake, or chocolate chip cookies.
Now that I'm over 50 years old, I see that it was intentional. My parents maintained that outlook on purpose. They made sure life never changed them, their lives, or their priorities.
Mom had health concerns, and welcomed each day with a smile and refreshed energy for the new daily gift God had given her. Each day was a gift she was not promised. She only took time to concern herself with things that were within her realm of control. She woke up that day, handled the things God had assigned to her for that day, said her evening prayers, and did it again the next day.
She only focused on what she could control on her own. While she could not control her health, she could watch what she ate. She couldn’t control foreign policy, but she could vote. She couldn’t control financial distress, but she could shop when things were on sale, hit up the clearance racks, and mend a ripped pair of jeans. She concerned herself for the things that she believed God would hold her accountable for, and prayed for the rest. She knew that God would either provide a way through, or grant her the strength to stand still and weather the storm.
The part we remember most? While she couldn’t take away the hurts of those around her, but she could make their favorite foods…chocolate chip cookies, her special macaroni and cheese, or chocolate cake.
Dad said that Mom had a type of doorway, and she monitored what and who was allowed through it. Not everyone and everything made it through. If not, she said a prayer and went on. She was selective about what (and who) she cared and worried about. For those people she let pass the doorway those people were the only ones worthy of her love, concern, and assistance. Cross her, and you were in danger of being permanently locked out. But once you made it through, you got her very best.
I’m learning to be “intentional”. I’m learning to intentionally monitor that little “hedge of protection”, and watching who comes through that little doorway. I’m discerning what actions I will be held accountable for, and what I have no control over (in example: I personally can’t control the future of the US Government, but I can vote). I’m focusing on respecting others, and learning the difference from when I need to talk and when I need to listen. I’m focusing on letting God do His job, and me doing mine - and remembering God never ask me to be a consultant and doesn't really need my help.
I miss my mother, but I do have her DNA. The traits I miss in her, I can rely on her DNA to carry me through. Mom wouldn't want me to cry because she is gone, but smile because she was here.
Another thing my mother did, on the days she didn’t really enjoy? She would sometimes make her favorite dinner…a pot of beans. And yes, I made some myself. It’s what I’m having for dinner. Black-eyed-peas to be exact…
Sure, times are still tough, the newscasts are horrible, and it still causes my heart to ache. I wished I could maintain that little hedge of protection we had on Lilac Lane. And I wished I could go grab an ice cream cone and my day would be better. I’m learning how to do that like my parents (and my mom) did. I’m learning what to allow inside, and beyond my little hedge of protection.
My instinct is still to call my mom when my heart aches. In the years before she unexpectedly passed, she shared her secrets on how she maintained her outlook and faith. I may not have her, but I have the things that made her strong…and I have her DNA.
God that granted her the insight and strength? Well...He is the same yesterday, today and always.
The rest is up to me.