Saturday, May 15, 2010

Loving my mom

“When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household” -John 19:26-27

I’ve been in Fort Worth this week spending time with my mom. I love her a lot. Her name is Mildred and she’s lived in Fort Worth by herself since my dad passed away 22 years ago. For 40 years, she’s lived in the same home where I was raised. Before this home, we moved a lot, but when my dad retired from the military, this became our home as he continued practicing medicine. She did move to Branson for 6 months a few years ago, where I live, but insisted on moving back to Fort Worth. So we moved her back to the same home. I come to see her several times a year and we speak on the phone a couple of times a week.

Rewind 28 years. I remember driving out to our “farm” one Friday with my dad. Truth is, the farm was really a small ranch in west Texas, but my dad grew up on a cotton farm in west Georgia and never lost his heritage. As we drove along that day, he asked me a very vulnerable and tough question, “Joey, I won't be around forever. When I’m not around, will you take care of your mother?” We both kept looking straight ahead and I answered “yes.” There was silence for a few minutes, then we switched the conversation to the coming dove season and how the Dallas Cowboys were doing.

We never had that conversation again. We didn't need to because his words were engrained on my heart. Like a dying soldier on the battlefield asking a buddy to take care of his family, I always knew that a part of God’s calling for my life was to care for my mom. Of course, my 3 older brothers care for her too, but somehow I became her unofficial “caretaker.” I love my Lord first and of course my family in Branson, but wherever the Lord leads me geographically, I will be true to my calling to love my mom. I’ll do whatever I have to do to love her.

My mom and I were watching TV the other night (she loves to watch TV) and during a commercial she said, “the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Thanks for listening to me.” With our moms or our teenagers, with anyone really, the most precious thing we can give them is our time and a listening ear. But I can be so impatient. Why is listening so difficult? Is it because life is busy and the “tyranny of the urgent” keeps us from loving those closest to us?

Love your mom. And remember, it’s not about geography. Wherever you are, you can show your mom you love her by talking to her, being with her when you can, and especially by listening to her. Remember, your teens are watching you like a hawk and the way you treat your mother might be just the way your kids treat you.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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