Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
May 13, 2012
A good day to give thanks for your Mama’s sacrifices
Mother’s Day for most people is an enjoyable day. Florists enjoy it. So do restaurant owners and merchants. A lot of money has changed hands this week because children want to do something nice for Mom.
Pastors like Mother’s Day also. Many people like to dress up and take Mom to church. It is a good way to let Mom know how special she is to her family. Many pastors will preach on the value of a mother’s godly influence on her children. Congregations will be invited to salute mothers by thanking them for the sacrifices they have made out of love for their children.
But Mother’s Day is not a happy day for everyone. It is actually a day of sadness for some women, like the women who remained childless despite wanting to birth a child. Sad also are the women who have outlived their own children. There will be no one around to say, “I love you Mom.”
Some moms will nurse a broken heart because their children ignore them even on Mother’s Day. No phone call, card, gift, or visit will brighten their day. They may cry themselves to sleep tonight, wondering why their children never called.
Some children may be depressed trying to decide which mom to recognize – the one who gave them birth or the one who has been Dad’s wife lately. Both should be honored, of course, though it is likely one may receive greater affection than the other. Despite the hollow hope that “the children will not be damaged by divorce,” most children do suffer emotional injury from the divorce of their parents. Children often are more the victims of divorce than their parents. And the scars do not heal quickly.
We shall be wise to sit down in a quiet place today and reflect on the sacrifices our mothers made for us. I know it blesses me to remember and give thanks for both the mothers who had a profound influence on my life. Mama was married to Dad for 67 years. He died at age 93. Mama soon joined him, departing this life at age 95.
Mama and Daddy never spoke of being happily married but it never occurred to me they were not. In so many ways the two of them were one. They worked together, raised a family of five children, and never wished to be anywhere but on their beloved farm. When they “went out,” it was usually to the garden to gather vegetables. These they canned, side by side, neither complaining but proudly announcing the number of quarts of green beans, squash and tomatoes they had added to the pantry.
Mama was a survivor. This quality distinguished her entire life. She married a man who had nothing to offer her but himself and his love. Her union with him was a marriage to hard work during the Great Depression. Together they survived the hardships of the era and emerged stronger people. They had each other, faith in God and a strong desire to give their children a better life than they had.
Over the years Mama had at least 30 surgeries. She overcame them all, even an 11-hour cancer operation which left her with a permanent colostomy. Without complaining she endured that inconvenience for 35 years. We were inspired by her remarkable fortitude. She taught us all a valuable lesson none of us will ever forget.
I owe Mama so much. She introduced me to books and inspired me to read them. She gave me my first Bible and now I possess and cherish her last Bible. Mom insisted that I learn how to memorize poetry, how to express myself, how to speak, and how to sing. There was no stopping her. Only once did she permit me to beg off her plan for me. I convinced her to let me stop taking piano lessons; that mistake I have regretted deeply. I wish she had not given in to my pleading.
Mama and Daddy did not “talk” their faith very much. They simply lived it and their love of God and Christian values rubbed off on their children. Growing up, we never doubted that ours was a family whose foundation was faith in God, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Scriptures. Mama never used the phrase, “family values,” but we were blessed by them simply by being her children.
The other Mom to whom I am indebted is Sarah Brown, my wife’s mother. She was also a survivor and one of the most unselfish women I have ever known. She lived not for herself but for others – her family. Wounded by grief in the death of her husband when she barely 40, she struggled with sorrow for the rest of her 99 years.
Yet, despite the weight of her sadness and loneliness, she endured for one purpose only – to do whatever she could to make life easier for her family. I lived only 18 years in the home of my birth mother. Sarah, however, lived in my home twice as long, always caring more for others than for herself.
On Mother’s Day, as I reflect on the past, I think of things I wish I had said both to Mama and to Sarah. I regret not having told each how thankful I am for the sacrifices they made for me and for my children. Hopefully in heaven there will be a chance to say to our loved ones what we wished we had said before they died.
If, dear reader, your mother is still living, you know what you need to do before the sun goes down. Forget your Mama’s flaws and hope your children will forget yours. Tell her how grateful you are for the sacrifices she made for you. Do that and you just might make someone glad to be alive on this Mother’s Day. + + +