Saturday, January 05, 2008

Things I learned from my Mom

My Mom slipped away peacefully on the morning of December 26th—I suspect her last act of will was hanging on until Christmas was over. She was 83.

A few of the things I learned from my Mom:

  • A summer long ago, when I was 5 or 6 a big snake crawled into our back yard. You couldn't see the end of its tail, but it sure looked like a rattlesnake. My Dad wasn't around—so my Mom went into the house, came out with the shotgun, and dispatched the snake. We were impressed. From her I learned to have a bias for action.

  • One evening, when my younger sister Glynette was an infant my Mom asked me if I had brushed my teeth. I lied and told her that I had. She immediately called me on it—I was shocked at how quickly my lie was found out. From my Mom I learned the importance of honesty. She had a great ability to see through the fog of situations and see the truth of what was going on.

  • We used to have a black and white TV set that sat on a stand that could roll around. For reasons that don't seem obvious now I was holding our hamster in one hand while rolling the TV towards the downward steps into the game room. Somehow I lost control of things and needed to make the split second decision to drop the hamster and stop the TV or protect the rodent and the let the TV go down the stairs. I made the humanitarian (hamsterian?) choice and the TV tumbled. Mom made me pay to have the TV fixed. Now I am more careful when juggling things.

  • The same TV was a player in another episode. Dad and I wanted to watch two different shows at the same time. Mine was broadcast in color, and his in black & white (must have been the mid-60's—way before VCRs had been invented). The new color set was in the kitchen, and the black and white in the back bedroom. Dad decided that I should watch my show in the back while he watched the black and white program on the color TV. What can you say? I knew I wasn't going to win that battle so I adjourned to the bedroom. A few minutes later a chastised father came in and suggested we switch. Mom had had a "discussion" with him on who was being the more mature person. I learned that it's possible for justice to triumph over hierarchy.

  • I remember a time when I was a young teenager that I snapped at Mom and she began to cry. I learned that even with adults, words can hurt.

  • Much more recently, when faced with the diagnosis of cancer, she was not angry at God. She accepted the situation and handled it with amazing grace. God had given her a verse for her situation:

    "The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him." (Gal 3:12 The Message)

    From her, I learned the importance of accepting and obeying what God calls us to do.


Heidi said...

You were very fortunate to have such a beautiful woman (in so many ways) for your mom.

I like very much that you organized this by some things that you carry with you from her.

A very touching tribute, Vance.


Mike Beidler said...


My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. May God's Spirit comfort you and yours.



Vance said...

Thanks Heidi & Mike. I appreciate your notes.
-- Vance

Scooper said...

My condolences, Vance. But wow, what a great eulogy! And what a blessing to have had your life so enriched!

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

VanceH said...

Thanks Scooper, Not only did she give me life, but she provided a path to follow too--I really am thankful.