Although I have spent more years of my life without my mother than I did with her, I’m amazed by how much I still miss her! It’s also amazing to me the differences in how fathers and mothers are treated. I’m mean, for example, when was the last time you saw an NFL player—tight camera shot—say, “Hi, DAD!” 😊
However, both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day provide each of us with a marvelous opportunity for reflection. After all, each of us had both—or we wouldn’t exist!
To be sure, there are those whose parents were not in the picture at all. Perhaps you were adopted, and never knew either of your biological parents. Some individuals knew one parent or the other, but for whatever reason, one parent was missing from the picture of your life.
It’s also a reality in life that not all parents are or were good parents. Over the last nearly five decades of ministry, I’ve known many children, teenagers, and adults who came from less-than-favorable homes. Often, it was either an abusive or missing father, sadly.
For more reasons than I can begin to enumerate, I am thankful for the godly parents and upbringing that my siblings and I experienced. (Notice that I didn’t say “Enjoyed,” because I did not always enjoy it. In fact, as a teenager, I rebelled against much of what my parents endeavored to instill in me.
As I contemplate yet another Mother’s Day without my mother—Hazel Margaret (Summers) Peterson, there are at least three things for which I am eternally grateful.
First, I am grateful for a godly mother. While both parents were active in church, that is not the demonstration of godliness to which I refer, but rather their daily lives—wherever they were—but especially at home. Godliness was not something mother pulled out of the closet for Sundays in church; she (and dad) lived a godly life seven days per week.
Second, I am thankful for a polite mother. While dad demonstrated politeness, it was mother who taught it, at least to my recollection. My brother, sister, and I were taught common courtesy and good manners. Just a few days ago, I said to a friend who had greeted someone walking by him, but was ignored by the passerby, “Sometimes I think that being taught good manners as a child has ruined me for life!”
What I meant by that was this—knowing and practicing good manners in a world filled with rude, unmannerly people, is almost a curse. However, the other person’s ill-mannered behavior is about them, not me. I still greet people as I pass them. I intend to open doors and hold doors for others, whether they say, “Thank you,” or not. (But you can expect me to say, “YOU’RE WELCOME!” quite loudly as they pass by silently!
Finally, I am appreciative of a thoughtful mother. She was thoughtful of her family and was industrious in her care of her family. In the early days of my life, she bought patterns and sewed her own dresses. The shirt I wore for my first-grade picture, mother had made. Quilting in the winter months was more than a hobby to her! (And I think I could still quilt using the tiny stitches that she taught me to make, but don’t tell the men!)
Mom was thoughtful of others beyond our home.
Whether she was baking, canning, cooking, she made more than enough for our family. There was usually some for others in the community and church. I’ve often wondered if she did those things by design or if it was just second nature. Perhaps if it was by design in the early years, it became a natural extension of who she was until the end.
Even in death, she was thoughtful. I’ll never forget the Friday morning when life support was removed. Once the medical team had removed everything but the leads to a heart monitor, they exited the intensive care unit, leaving mother and me alone. Her heart rate gradually slowed until there remained only a flat line. She was gone.
Wiping my own tears away before entering the ICU where dad was, I stood by his bedside for a few seconds, then looked him in the eyes and quietly said, “She’s gone, dad.” We both spent several minutes silently crying. Finally, I softly said, “I suppose you want me to call Bud.” Bud Coomer and dad had grown up together and Bud was the head mortician at Mynatt’s Funeral Home in Fountain City (TN).
Dad looked me in the eyes and answered. “Your mother and I discussed the details last Friday. Look in her closet and you’ll find a garment bag. Take that garment bag to Bud. Everything he will need is there.” She assumed that she would die from breast cancer, not from a car crash caused by a drunk driver. Either way, she was thoughtful. She had prepared every detail.
BTW, are you prepared? The Good Book says, “It’s appointed unto man once to die.” There’s a date on the calendar at some point in your future that has your name written on it—your appointment with death. Have you made preparation?
I don’t mean the clothes and jewelry that you’ll be buried in, but rather the preparation here on earth that determines your destination for eternity. If you haven’t, there is no better time than today to repent of your sin and accept the payment that Jesus Christ made in your behalf over 2000 years ago on Calvary.