Monday, February 8, 2010

An 85 Year Old Blessing

85 years ago today, my mom was born.

I don't know why, but this milestone for her has become significant for me. I think back to so many years ago, and it occurs to me that my present is so wrapped up in her past.
She was raised by Leslie and Mary Bushey in East St. Louis before it was named the most crime-ridden city in America.
She has told me stories of dances with young soldiers, cross-country trips as a young woman, dates with my daddy, farm life as a city girl and teaming with dad to raise a family with very little money.

Growing up in the Jeffers home left me with memories of a stay-at-home mom, lots of free play time, being cared for when I was sick, visitors coming in and out almost every single day, observations of parents who were madly in love, open displays of physical affection, dancing in the kitchen, moral absolutes, devotion to the local church and most of all love, fear and reverence for the Lord.

Mom buried an infant son between David and Bobby. We often wondered what impact this brother of mine would have had in our family. I miss his presence, but not, I'm sure, as much as mom does.

I observed her 45 year-long-distance care for her weaker older sister in Dallas, Texas.
Another aunt of mine, daddy's sister, was brought into our home for recuperation after the ravages of a stroke and alcoholism.
For years.
Then there was dad. His stroke was the one thing he feared the most and mom faced it as if it had happened to her.

She told me once before that losing her mother was the hardest day of her life. To this day, she still expresses regret that she was not at her side during those final moments. That was decades ago and it still pains her.

She also is tormented with dad's final hours. She left his side at the insistence of all of us as well as the ICU staff. Thankfully, we were called back in time and she was able to hold his hand as he entered into Heaven.

I'll always remember one time after I gave a series of lessons at church on "Finding our purpose in Life" that she mused to me ..."I don't know what my purpose is. I just don't know." Besides the fact that my wise mom was asking my opinion about her spiritual life, I was struck by her train of thought that she considered her life as one with very little impact.
Her life-time of caring for others and taking such wonderful care of daddy after his stroke had limited her Independence and maybe in her mind removed her opportunities for service?

Our culture today places importance on making a difference on a large scale. Touch thousands of people and then you are "successful"....touch only a few and you are only "average".

Mom has an intelligent alert mind that is limited by an aging body. I can only imagine how frustrating that must be.

In this world, my 85 year old mom has probably touched several hundred people directly, but though her husband, children, friends and students of her Sunday school classes her influence reaches well into the thousands. She has not won any awards or prizes to speak of here, but she knows that her real reward is not of this world. She told me just the other day, that living with an eternal perspective makes living here more meaningful.
I see it.

My mom is a living testament to agape love.
Isn't that exactly what God wants us to do with our lives?
I have not always been the best daughter,..but she has certainly been the best mom.
I am rising up today to call her Blessed!

Happy Birthday mom!
I will write you another letter on this blog when you reach 100!

1 comment:

Shana said...

What a blessing to your mom! Your posts challenge and encourage me so much. Thank you! :)