April 22, 2020–She went home
Lord, I wonder if it would be alright for me to go ahead and write to her. I’m trusting that you have her in your company, and that she’s in the presence of family and friends; celebrating you for eternity. So…this is for me…
Almost twenty years ago, I picked up an old tattered bible you had given to me, at a time when things in my life were looking pretty bad. I sat alone in my bedroom—in the dark—holding on to that bible; terrified of actually opening it. I remember speaking the words, before I ever believed.
“God, if you’re real, I don’t want to be afraid of this book anymore.”
That night, I started reading…and never really stopped. That date was June 26, 2000. If you’d never given me that bible, I might not be the man I am today.
The first time I heard you sing, was at Faith church, back when the building was small and the means were meager. You sang a solo, accompanied by a small radio playing a cassette recording of instrumental music. I remember how nervous and fidgety you were, gripping that small microphone for dear life. But, once you began to sing, it was like the fear melted away, and you suddenly found the strength to use the gift God gave you, to do precisely what it was made for. In that moment, I was blown away.
Ma, your obsession with collecting knickknacks was maddening, let me tell you. I don’t know how you were able to maintain such a collection and manage to keep everything clean over the years! But, where your knickknacks stressed me out, your cooking made me feel right at home. No one will ever be able to recreate the greenbean casserole that became a personal staple (for me) of our family holiday get-togethers. And, I’m convinced that over the years, you made it just for me; because you loved me so much.
In all the years you were a part of my life, you never once said an angry word, or expressed a disapproving sentiment to me, about my life. You always found a way to encourage me, no matter what my latest “thing” happened to be. When I wrote, you were one of my biggest fans. When the church voted me in as a deacon, you were so proud. And I took pride in knowing how proud you were of me. You always gave me positive encouragement on being a dad, and that really meant a lot, because it was something I never really received from my parents. You always made me feel worthy of being with your daughter. I needed that approval.
Ma, I wasn’t the best son. I should have visited more often. I was critical of your health at times. I was vocal, when I felt that you weren’t trying your best. And during those periods in your life when you were out of church, I was resentful. You knew me well enough to know that’s how I was and yet, you still loved me unconditionally. Instead of being bitter about my behavior, you kept on loving me.
I will miss your loving hugs. I’ll miss our deep conversations, even though they were few and far in between. I’ll miss your voice, telling me you love me after every visit. I’ll miss your birthday texts. Every year, you were always the first to get to me. Ma, I’m gonna miss your encouragement. My hope is that I never lose sight of the Lord, because I hope to see you as one of my first family greeters, when my time comes to join you in His presence.
Thanks Lord. Make sure she gets the message, please.