November 17 was my Mom’s ninety-fifth birthday.
I had the privilege of talking to her on the phone that day.
Communication is difficult.
And although I believe God may still heal her further, the stroke has left her speech impaired, and many of her memories (it seems ) have been tragically lost.
So, just to hear her say, "I love you," is enough to spread a rainbow over my day.
My Mom, has always been my greatest living example of patience, faith and unconditional love.
Back in the 70’s, while I was studying for my music diploma, my teacher entered me for an advanced piano competition. I diligently practised for many months. Then finally, 30 minutes before I was due to leave for the great event, I stood up, closed the piano on Hayden, Mozart and Bela Bartok and declared the mission aborted! "It’s hopeless - forget the competition!" There had been music teachers’ strike for the past couple of months. So I had been, basically, teaching myself, and in my excitement, I think I had over practised.
But my indefatigable Mom optimistically climbed the stairs, got dressed and called a taxi, in the hope that I just might change my mind. The taxi whisked us off to the gray building on Lower Abbey Street, Dublin. I nervously posed myself in front of the magnificent grand piano, so resplendent I could almost see my apprehensive face trembling in time to the music! But with God’s help, I had made it! The beginning of a dream ...
And to my surprise I was awarded second place in the competition!
I would never have had this experience only for my Mom’s persistent loving encouragement.
She has always had the kind of faith that prays for the impossible.
In September 1990, my family and I landed at Tinker Air Force Base , Oklahoma, eager to move right into a house assigned to us by the Air Force. But we were shocked to discover that there was no house for us, and no sign of a house . The waiting list was eleven months long, and we only has a ten month assignment. For specific reasons, not least of which was the fact that we had four young children and only one car, it was very important that we live on Base. In my next long distance phone conversation, I told my Mom the predicament, and her immediate reply was "Well, I’m going to pray for a house on the Base anyway!"
Now, that is faith - "Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."(Hebrews 11:1)
But needless to say, our faith was not as strong as my Mom’s. So we started searching for a house in the local area. Well, a couple of weeks later, just as we were about to sign the papers for a small house outside the Base (one that would never have never have worked out for us) ,we got a phone call, informing us that there was a house with our name on it on the Air Force Base! And not just any old house, but a spacious two-storey house, with schools, church, commissary, BX and swimming pool all "right on our doorstep!"
This was God, once again, "doing exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."(Ephesians 3:20)
As a child, my Mom taught me to appreciate the beauty of nature and everyday things -
Butterflies on the purple Buddleia;
The sound of the Silverbirch leaves rustling in the wind;
Wild flowers rambling between the rocks along the coast road;
The value of walking on the sunny side of the street;
A cat curled up in the sun.
"I thank my God every time I remember you... "(Phil.1:3)