Monday, December 30, 2013

My Mother's Gift

As we all celebrate the holidays this year, please take a few minutes to think about those who have nothing to celebrate. Those that are less fortunate and have no place to call home.

I know you have heard this time and time again and you always intend to help...but someone else's sorrow is not always on the forefront of our minds. If you truly want to change your life this coming year, then make it a point to help others who have nothing.

Look for opportunities everyday and everywhere you go. I mean really set a goal to help one person anyway you can at least once a week. Your life will change for the better. The joy that comes from helping others is unlike any other emotion. All my young life I was taught to give and I am a better person because of it. I thank my Mom for that. It is one of the greatest lessons of my life.

My Mother's Gift

My first lesson came when I was only 7 years old and a drunk driver going 80 miles an hour on a local street struck and killed my Dad in front of me as I ran to greet him. It was pretty traumatic for a little girl. It was devastating to a young mother of two children who was left alone without any way of supporting us until she met my Step father three years later. But she managed on her own and we had food on the table, a roof over our heads and she made all our clothes.

One night, just a few days after my Dad's death, we went to visit the wife of the man who killed him. I can remember walking a short way to this old house and my Mom telling me to hold on to the hem of her skirt as her arms were carrying a big heavy box. With my other hand I was pulling my old red wagon behind us which had another box. When we reached the house, my Mom sat the box down and knocked on the door as I hid behind her still holding on tight to her skirt.

A woman answered the door and instantly buried her face in her hands and began to sob. My Mom reached in and hugged her and told her not to cry and asked if we could come in. She then struggled to pick up the heavy boxes and we went inside. The woman told my Mom that she was so ashamed of what her drunken husband had done and wished she could do anything to change the circumstances. She apologized for having nothing to offer us to drink and for the house being so cold that February night.

Even at 7 years old I knew that these people were poor....there was an infant with just a diaper on and the house was so cold you could see your breath. There were homemade beds made of old rags and worn blankets on the floor where the bedrooms were. There was a little girl about my age, hiding behind the curtains, her face was dirty and her clothes were ragged and torn.

I stayed right next to my Mom as she opened the box and told the woman that we wanted to give her a token of love and friendship. She reached into the box that was filled with my old baby clothes and clothes that might fit the little girl my age. She had packed some of her things too for the woman to wear. In the other box she had packed canned food and blankets and household goods. She even thought to pack a hair brush and some ribbons for the little girl's hair.

And the woman cried. Her little girl came from behind the curtains and tears also rolled down her cheeks as she saw a doll my Mom had packed in the box. She picked up the brush and asked her mom if she would brush her hair. Then she went into the other room and she brought out a small toy from a box of Cracker Jacks and handed it to me. My Mom reminded me to say thank you and I hugged the little girl.

Now keep in mind we didn't have much when my father was alive and now we were facing even less, but I watched my Mom's face as she handed this woman our things and I could see the joy that it brought. I knew it made my Mother so happy. Later, when I was old enough to understand the message that night, I knew that I wanted to feel that same joy of giving and to this day I have never stopped.

Oh what a wonderful and generous human being my Mother was. Instead of feeling hatred and anger for these people who took her husband away from our family, she reached out to them to ease their pain. In my mind there has never been or never will be a woman like my Mom and I thank God she was the Mother he chose for me. I strive everyday to be just like her.

Please make a pledge to help those that have no one and very little of their own. And tell yourself that from this day forward you will try to make a difference. It will make a difference in your life. I promise.

My Prayer

"Oh, God, when I have food
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;

While I am in my warm home,
help me to remember the cold and the homeless;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer.

And in remembering,
please help me to destroy my complacency;
please stir my compassion,
so that I am concerned enough to help;
By word and by deed,
those who cry out for the very things I might
take for granted.
Amen.

By the way, for those of you who are new to my page, I always choose a pink rose when I write about my Mom. Pink roses were her favorite.

~Marty

4 comments :

  1. I have no words for how this story moved me. What an amazing woman your mother must have been.

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  2. What a beautiful story......it truly touched my heart. What a glorious Mother you had, how blessed you are! I have copied the prayer to put by my computer to remind me to be a better person. May God Bless you with a Happy and Healthy New Year. Thank you.

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  3. I am a newbie to your site, and am so impressed . . . Not only with your wonderful recipes, but with your insight on life itself. Your Mom was an amazing woman . . . One that all of us can learn from. Thank you for sharing this most inspirational story of her compassion.

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  4. Today is my first visit to your blog and I am so happy I have spent the last several hours just reading. After reading this post, I feel I better know the source of the compassion and empathy I sense in you. How blessed you were to have in your life the compassionate and caring woman who is your Mom. How wonderful that she passed on her life lessons to you. I am so so sorry to hear about the way your lost your Dad. Too much tragedy for one so young, but I am convinced that in that horrific loss, and in the manner in which your beloved Mom responded to it, God shaped in you the caring person that is you, that is so evident in these posts. Bless you for your caring heart.

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