Time to meet my mom, Clara.
Um, Mom? Moooo-oooom! Where are you? Oh, there you are.
It's taken me a long time to write this post because it was very difficult to decide what to write about. There are so many many things that I could say here. I mean, just look at me: what DIDN'T I get from my mom?
There is such a list I could give you, but I'm going to try to hold to a reasonable number.
#1. A sense of humor.
Mom's a punny lady. Very very punny. This American Gothic photo was her idea, and nothing will get a good laughter-induced-asthma-attack going like a good pun. Getting together with Mom's family always involves funny stories, jokes, wordplay, etc. This was one of her father's coffee cups:A joke in your honor, Mom (one that earned me a follower, no less!):
Three guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducks.
#2. Acceptance of all.
I grew up in a white home town. Let's call it Super-White, even. I think it would be safe to say that I only encountered non-white people if I was watching TV or listening to missionary stories; that's how white my early childhood was. I think it would also be fairly safe to say that the population of this home town of mine was occasionally racist in nature as well. Unfortunately, so were some of the members of my own family. But my mother? She was not, and she went out of her way to protect me from the poison of racism. The thought of judging others based on ethnicity, skin color, or demographic of any kind was simply not entertained.
I am so grateful for this gift. It has allowed me to make so many friends from so many countries (check out the countries represented in our church, for example.). It has opened doors at work. It has strengthened me as a student, broadening my interests. It helps me connect with the high schoolers I teach. It has made me a better person.
No one's perfect. Mom taught me the beauty of a forgiving God. She encouraged me to explore the Scriptures on my own and not just accept the Bible stories and pulpit messages as all there was to know. For example, instead of letting me stop with the traditional John 3:16, she also taught me John 3:17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
She was willing to call me on my mistakes and own up to her own. She taught me songs and hymns and spiritual psalms.
She's also the one who gave me the first half of the verses I posted as my anthem today on the Stuff Christians Like blog.
- Micah 7:19 .. and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
- Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
I always liked the visual of God creating a new heaven and earth for us, and the verse from Micah came to Mom's mind. That was easily 15+ years ago, but the connection implied will always stick with me.
So thanks, Mom, for being who you are and for helping me be who I am.