“Do you remember, as a little girl, how I’d point out the tunnel the trees made on our walks downtown?” My mom posed this question on our recent social distanced visit. The pandemic has created a new environment for our weekly visits. This return to simpler times, simpler activities seems to be a recurring theme in my conversation with others recently. With nowhere to go and activities at a standstill, the front porch conversations are unlocking a gift we almost forgot about – face to face communication.
“I remember walking with you, but not the conversations.” My heart sinks a little knowing there are many things I don’t recall and long to remember. “Tell me more”, I press her.
Although I did not recall the conversation, as she talked, my mind wandered to a recent hike I took. I admired how the trees tunneled the path that weaved through the woods and a sense of awe and comfort that came from it. At that moment, I knew that God unlocked a gift. My deep passion for the outdoors came from my mom. I realized with each word she spoke, how she helped to form my imagination using the simple gift of God’s creation. Growing up, my daydreams always involved the outdoors. Castles made atop rock formations, rooms inside of clustered tree trunks – these were the makings of my childhood.
I recalled her love for her garden and her pruning the roses that sprawled along the fence that divided our yard from our neighbors. There was a little metal kitchen in our childhood backyard and there is where mom taught me how to gather pebbles and grass, dirt, and water. After mixing them all together, I’d have to be patient and allow that muddy mix to harden in the sun. Later, I’d feed my handiwork to my baby dolls that gathered around me. Looking back, it appears a lot like the life I crafted over the years; the great outdoors, a little plot of land to work, and those I love around my table. Although my mother and I have completely different personalities and ways of expressing ourselves, the things I hold most dear in my life were sown and nurtured by her. Seeing this for the first time was such a gift. Thank you, mom.
For years I’ve wondered why my mom and I cannot hear one another. Why we are so different. I’m an extrovert by nature, my mom an introvert. She’s quiet and content and I am, let’s say, more free-spirited and adventurous. She pulls and I push; this dance has happened ever since I can remember. As a mom that has now watched three decades of my own children’s lives pass before me, the eyes of my heart can see things in a way I couldn’t years ago. I’m now afforded the quiet time to dig deeper in prayer and contemplation of the person I’ve evolved into over the years.
I think the greatest gift we can give another human being is the gift of unconditional love. I love how the Message Bible speaks Psalm 103:8-11
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear him.
Mom, you gave me the best of your heart, a heart that was deeply connected to God’s example of unconditional love. Mothering a child who was the complete opposite of you wasn’t easy, I see that now. I want you to know I hear you. Thank you for never walking away and always waiting patiently, as God does, for us to come home. The greatest gift you’ve ever given me is unconditional love. I hope and pray I can grow to love like you do. Happy Mothers Day! I dedicate this song to you.
With all my love, Linda