One time I got a haircut then went home and looked in the mirror. The first, unbidden word that popped into my mind was, “Mother.” It surprised me. I didn’t expect to see my mother in my own reflection.
There is so much of our mothers in us. At different stages of life we may fight that truth, deny it, or even embrace it.
- As a small child, I longed to be like Mother. Compared to me, she seemed powerful, persuasive and capable. I craved the ability to play the piano as she did. I wanted to be liked by people, listened to, and considered “the life of the party” as she was. I wanted a man to adore me as my father adored her.
- As a teen, my view of Mother changed. Her flaws and foibles grew large in my eyes. I was critical of her. I didn’t always appreciate her advice. I did not think I wanted to be like her.
- As a young mother, I found myself saying the same words to my children that she used to say to me and my sister. As my children grew, I saw more and more that she had been right in most of her advice; and her foibles began to look more like strengths. I began to appreciate how she had overcome so much.
- In my middle age, I have wished she was still here so I could ask for her advice and learn more about “how she did it.” I have many times sensed her cheering me on as part of the “great cloud of witnesses” described in Hebrews 12:1.
- In old age, I think I’m going to feel more and more that Mother and I are kindred spirits, sisters in the Lord. I’ll be filled with hope as I think of seeing her again, and as I recall how she overcame that last earthly challenge and our final enemy – death.
For a few years after Mother died, I was overwhelmed with memories of the suffering she endured from cancer, and with my own feelings of loss. So much grieving! Many years later it’s wonderful to be able to think of Mother as a fellow traveler who has reached the goal ahead of me, is expecting me to arrive in God’s time, and through her words lingering in my mind, her example and her prayers, is encouraging me on the last stretch of my upward climb.
When my mother passed from this life to the next (lying in a hospital bed), she was looking straight upward, fixedly, and with a look of wonder exclaiming, “Oh, it’s so beautiful.”
I want to live the way she died—looking upward, with my eyes fixed on Jesus, focusing on beauty, truth, and the goodness of God.