Today, I have a reading from the book of Titus to share, and lots of thoughts. The reading first. Titus 3:4-5a: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, …”
Today I am at home even though it is Wednesday and I should be in the office. We have a snowstorm that is reaching through both South and North Dakota and beyond. (pictures and information on lucindagardens) I was to do a service with communion at the Health Care Center today, but I have made a rule that when the schools are off, I stay home, and there is no school in Eureka and several other communities in our area. I made some calls to let others know that I would be home, and a few minutes ago, one of our church members called to let me know that another lady is in the hospital. She was admitted yesterday and they are running tests today.
For some reason, well not just some reason, this hit me hard. The three ladies: the one I called, the one who called me and the one in the hospital, have been like three mothers to me since I began this calling in Eureka. I broke down in sobs. Each of the three has been in the hospital in the past three months and I believe they are all over the age of 80, but I have no actual verification of that fact.
Today, I finally cried for the loss of my mother. Today I feel so alone, so abandon. Yesterday I was working on the family calendars for my daughters. Each year I find some cheap, this year free calendars from the local bank, and write in all of the family birthdays on both sides. This includes everyone from my parents and siblings down, and James’ parents and siblings down. It is fun to watch as the days fill in.
At one point I subtracted those who passed on. I now put those names inside parenthesis. All names include the year they were born, when I know that. I have a few to hunt down. Each time a baby is born or someone is added to the family via marriage, we get to fill in anther spot. The only time we subtract is if there is a divorce and the family member wants the spouse out. Ha! Not funny, but truth.
So, the issue with the calendar is that as I was doing it, I hit my mother’s birthday. She was a leap year baby and this would have been her 80th birthday. For some dumb reason, we are struggling this year to put together a time to be together on my side for Christmas. I really, really, want to have Christmas at her house. I have at least one sibling who struggles with that since we didn’t gather there when my mother was alive. Her choice mainly, but we didn’t push the issue, or offer to decorate or clean or cook for her. We were just so stinking busy with our own lives, and for what? Why?
It is like Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes, “it is all chasing after the wind, all is vanity.” We are so busy with our own families and careers and mostly chasing after the almighty dollar, and for what? It is all vanity. In the end, our time here on this earth is really only about a few things. It is mostly about laying up treasures where it counts, which is for sure not the local bank or the hard spot under our mattress. It is about accepting the grace of God and doing the will of God while on this earth. It is about caring for others and spreading the Joy and Love and Good News of Christ.
And it is even a little bit about family, being together not just for Christmas, but for always. And not just in physical proximity, though that means lots, but by staying in touch in all ways possible. It hit me today that some of the people in my church live with no family close by. They don’t see their children on a daily or weekly or even monthly basis. I began to think of how much time we really spent with our mother, and I will forever be grateful that we packed up and moved in beside her and had the times we had. There was absolutely nothing like getting together there over coffee and a visit or sharing a television show. Oh God I miss her today.
Stop, time out there is a knock on the door. I look outside and don’t see a car in the driveway, just some tracks. Who could it be? I walk to the door which does not lock and realize I don’t have my phone in my hand. Who could it be, why am I nervous? Good grief they will see that I have been crying. No one is there, I open the door and it is a little boy with a shovel asking about an address, which happens to be the house next door. I close the door and cry some more. A little boy out to make some cash shoveling some sidewalks.
I didn’t cry when my mother passed away because I kept telling myself she was in a better place. She was with her mother and aunts and uncles and grandfather who meant the world to her, and mostly she was reunited with our brother who left us when he was only four. She mourned him to the day she died. She spent over 50 years with me and nearly that long with some of my siblings, but only four years with that brother, now she finally could be with him. How can I deny that? How can I be sad? Today the gates just opened and the flood has erupted, and I thank you for hearing me.
I need to pull myself together and get some things accomplished. I called my lady in the hospital to find she is feeling much better today and should be home tomorrow after the tests are read and she is diagnosed. It is something gastric and should be treatable. James and Kathy will be home early as school is out at 2 p.m. Paulina finished her last final test of this semester and only has one web project to turn in tomorrow and she is free until sometime in January. Life will be better. But today, I had to mourn, and I guess that is how things go on occasion. I am still thinking that even if it is coffee and some brownies, a few of us will be gathering at grandma’s house on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 to toast the fact that a great lady was born 80 years ago in a little hotel in Hazelton, ND. Merry Christmas Mom. You are celebrating in style with the Savior this year.