What an incredible day. I know if my mother was watching…she was as proud as could be of her family today. The celebration of her promotion to heaven was without equal. I had the joy to share a tribute to her along with my sister, children, and grandchildren.
“For those of you who knew our mother, know that her worldview was one that often viewed the world as though the cup was half empty…maybe three quarters sometimes. Her presentation could leave you questioning the future.
She would very often begin a conversation or reply with the phrase, “You know, years ago”…and then proceed to share her viewpoint of life today through a prism of how things used to be and in her mind ought to be, regardless of the passage of time, the development of technology…things just aren’t the way it’s supposed to be…and mom would let you know.
In November of 1964 mom dropped me off at the door of a Grammar school gym not too far from our home. It was the first day of basketball season. I was nine years old. I raced into the gym eager with anticipation to plan on a real team, playing an actual game. I couldn’t wait. Ninety minutes later mom picked me up and asked “So, how did it go?”
“It was horrible” I said.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I am never going again and you can’t make me.”
Calmly again she asked, “What happened.”
“The men, the coaches…they kept yelling at me. They said words I didn’t understand and they were not nice. I’m not going again. “
I shared some of the words they said and mom didn’t respond to any of them. She simply said, Son we signed you up for a whole season and that’s what you will do.”
The next practice came. We parked in front of the gym. Mom turned off the car and accompanied me inside. At the door, I took off to get a ball and mom stood at the doorway. When the coaches saw her, they proceeded over to greet her. The conversation looked very congenial and after a few minutes mom smiled and waved at me and left the gym. That night I did not hear one of those words from either coach and they didn’t yell at me once. That night, mom protected from me what became a lifetime appreciation of a game that has had a lifelong influence on me and thousands of other. Many years later I asked her, “so mom, what was it you said to those guys that night?”
She smiled and said “You know Bill, those men needed to hear the way things are supposed to be.”
You know, years ago life revolved around family and our Lord. You know years ago respect for others was a virtue. You know, years ago, the things you had were just fine. You know, years ago, moms and dads gave their lives for their children. All those years ago, and those years since, mom modeled those years ago for us. She had one goal in her life. It was her children’s well being and she was dedicated to that cause…and never wavered. If you were outside the family you most likely heard about her family whether you wanted to or not. All these years she taught us what years ago meant. For mom, it meant family is all that matters, and Jesus is all you need. Sometimes blunt, sometimes annoying, sometimes hard headed…but never at a loss for love for every one of us. So this moment, years later there is Bill, and Judy…Jaimee, Jeff, Julee and Joree. Amy, and Kristen. Jacob, Jaylin, Payson, Lola, London, Max and just fourteen days old today, Noah.
Years from now everything mom dreamed about will live out in all of us. Years from now we will all be saying, “You know, years ago we had a special woman in our lives.” I know her delivery could have you shaking your head a bit. But today, you must marvel at the results. Her greatest wish was years from now we will all be together again. There is no greater tribute to a mother than to call her blessed. Mom we will all be with you very soon.