Altar Call Ė Opelika-Auburn News
May 11, 2008
Three women who are in my Mothers Hall of Fame
††††† Three women are on the front row in my personal Mothers Hall of Fame. The first is my own mother, Caroline Johnson Albritton. The second is Sarah Danford Brown, my wifeís mother. The third is my own dear wife, Dean, the mother of our five sons. †
††††††††† Growing up many of us hanker to get away from our motherís control. We get tired of being told what to do, when to be home, and to clean up our room one more time. We are in a hurry to become adults, get married, and do what we please.
†††††††† At age twenty we donít think much about dying and going to heaven. Heaven will be having our own home with no fastidious parents to boss us around anymore. We think, "Man, wonít it be great not to have somebody standing over you telling you to make up your bed, pick up your clothes, and take the garbage out!"
†††††††† That is how
it was with me. So at age twenty I persuaded my childhood sweetheart to get married.
How foolish we were back then. We had hardly two hundred dollars between us.
But we found an apartment for fifty dollars a month in
†††††††† Then I began to discover that freedom is not all it is cracked up to be. There was still a woman in the house who expected me to make up my bed, pick up my dirty clothes, and take out the garbage. There was still a woman who wanted to know where I had been, where I was going, and what time I would be home. There was still a woman with me who wanted me to dress neatly, behave myself, and do my best. Some things did not change.
††††††† †Slowly it dawned on me that a man does not do well without a woman in his life. From infancy it had been my mother who helped me. From now on the helper would be my wife. She would take over where my mother left off. My job was to figure out how to be her helper too, without sounding like her mother. Like me she needed someone to take the place of her mother in her life.
†††††††† Tension took
its toll during the early years of our marriage. We struggled to learn our
roles in this strange thing called matrimony. I had to understand what she
meant when she said heatedly, "I am your wife, not your mother!"
Likewise she had to learn what I meant when I told her in no uncertain terms,
"I am your husband, not your father!" Gradually we learned the hard
way how to live together.†
†††††††† Adjustments are never easy. I had never dreamed that within a few years I would be living with two women. Deanís mother came to live with us and except for the time she stayed with Deanís sister Dot, she was with us until she passed away at age 99. I reckon I needed more help than some men.
†††††††† As I look back on my life I realize I was blessed with two mothers. She was a good woman who helped me more than twice as many years as my own mother. She was not a career woman; her life was her children and her grandchildren. Her greatest joy was doing something to help her family.
†††††††† Sarah hated dirt more than anyone I have ever known. A thousand times I watched her go on a rampage against a dirty floor or a dirty refrigerator, and she always won. Our lives were better because of the tireless labor of the woman who earned the title, "Mrs. Clean."
†††††††† For many years we did not get along very well. I thought it was her fault. She was simply impossible to live with. Years later I realized that I was more difficult to live with than she was. After many wars and rumors of wars we found a way to live together. That only happened after I was able to admit that it was contending with me that made Sarah cantankerous at times. At long last I realized how indebted I was to her for allowing me to marry her daughter, and for helping us to raise our children.
†††††††† On this Motherís Day I know that I am a blessed man. I had the good fortune of having two mothers to whom I am indebted beyond my capacity to repay. One helped me for 18 years to grow up and become a responsible husband and father. The other helped me for almost 50 years to raise a family and pursue my calling as a pastor.
†††††††† Those two women played a powerful role in my life. My greatest regret is that I did not fully express my gratitude to them while they were living. My greatest joy is remembering that they both loved me beyond my deserving.
†††††††† The third woman in my Mothers Hall of Fame is the gracious lady who has helped me the most, my dear wife of 56 years come June first. Today I will express my gratitude not with flowers or diamonds but with the love and respect she deserves. Though words cannot adequately convey the affection I have for her, I will tell her again how much I love her for being my wonderful wife and the mother of our children. I am one blessed man. †+ + +