Mama’s Job

My Mama was an angel. Not a real one, but the kind of person that just oozes kindness. In my Christian faith, I would say, “Jesus was ALL over her!” You could just see His light in her eyes and feel His love in her touch. Mama and I shared one of those rare mother-daughter relationships where she wasn’t just my mom, but my best friend…my kindred spirit.

Two years ago, when I was 25, and she was 61, my mama died. Her name is Sue, and now she lives in heaven. My mama was so good with kids. She didn’t brush them off or act annoyed with them. On occasion I worked in the church nursery with her and can still see her taking a distraught child in her arms, carrying him to the window, and in her soft, slow voice, pointing out the birds in the air, the flowers in the yard and the trucks passing by, animating the road noises, “bum, bum, bum.” She connected with children. With her big eyes and southern drawl, she knelt to their world and captured their hearts.

I know you’re thinking—that lady couldn’t have been a human mother with 5 kids and a pastor husband! You’re making this up! But ask anyone, and they’ll tell you I’m underselling her if anything. Ask the little girl who missed her play rehearsal to attend Sue Howell’s visitation. Mama taught this girl in the children’s Bible program, and as Mama treated this child with love, respect even, she was treated with the same value in return. You’re just going to have to take my word for it, because I’m running out of room. She was awesome, okay?!

So today, I went to work (I’m a Labor & Delivery nurse) and was assigned a patient who just found out yesterday that her baby has died. Such a strong woman, this lady. I was with her as she got her epidural and her induction process began, I rummaged through the closet of donated items to find a baby blanket and tiny hat to fit her baby when she delivers, and I asked for input from well-seasoned co-workers on how to navigate this delicate nurse-patient relationship.

And all day long, I grieved with her. Sometimes, I ignored it, but other times it would come to the surface like one of those annoying red and white fishing bobbers. I was somber all day. I took care of her. I hung more IV fluid, monitored her contractions, changed her bed pads and established a relationship. Towards the end of the shift, I had to ask her some really hard questions like: Do you want to hold your baby when she is born? Do you want an autopsy, and do you want to contact a funeral home? She was open to these hard, necessary questions, and at the end of the day, I left feeling like I really did take CARE of her. That felt good.

So now here I sit on my couch, trying to process this grief, trying to understand where all the connections meet up and what the deep loss is that I feel inside. And…I get a feeling it has something to do with my Mama. As I sit here, letting Jesus sift through my thought stream, I realize that yesterday, or sometime last week, that baby went to heaven. And…wait a minute—Mama lives there! Maybe they are together! And I see that as this woman misses her baby and grieves for a life that will never be lived, I am missing my Mama and grieving that this baby will never have an earth-life with her mother.

And somehow, I think I’ve discovered what Mama’s job is in heaven. Maybe she’s chosen to welcome all those babies who don’t make it on earth. And just maybe, when they first get there, they’re a little sad missing their mamas back on earth. I can see it now—Mama walks over, scoops the little one up, takes them to the window and makes the “bum, bum, bum” sound as the trucks go by.

And somehow, here in this scene, my grief makes sense. I feel connected to the woman who is suffering the loss of her baby. And amidst my tears, I am comforted.

I love you, Mama.

Thank You, Jesus

Mama Memories: Driving

Mama taught me how to drive. We didn’t do Driver’s Ed, so when I was a bit past 15 1/2, we went to Lebanon and got my learner’s permit. Mama drove with me til I was 18. I remember the day Mama finally fell asleep while I was driving–I felt so happy! I had reached a milestone–Mama trusted me! After that, Mama enjoyed me driving her around–I didn’t have to beg! I had come a long way from asking her if I could lean over and steer on Dakota Run.

Mama gave me lots of good driving advice. In parking lots, she would repeat to me what her Uncle had always told her–you’ve got to have a rubber neck–parking lots are tricky. You never know which way a car will be coming. She also taught me to turn and look at my blind spot before changing lanes–can’t aways trust the mirror. That’s saved my bacon so many times. She taught me the difference between a green light and a left turn arrow, granted, in a slightly distressed voice.

I remember on our first road trip to Florida, Mama was taking a turn driving when we came upon a giant bridge in Jacksonville. Looming on the horizon, Mama got a little nervous at the site of such an elevation–she really didn’t like heights. So she pulled over and let me drive. We had such a great time on that trip listening to music, snacking and chatting away–just being together. I remember growing up, we would take lots of family road trips–Mama would often read books aloud to us. I loved that. It made the miles so much sweeter.

Two Thoughts

There have been two thoughts that really hit home with me this week. The first came from a book I’m reading called Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning. A few chapters back, he describes the responses of Christ’s followers to His presence. He describes how they weren’t afraid of Jesus. Even after making huge blunders and grave mistakes, their response was always to run toward Jesus. Then this week I came upon this statement: “The release from chronic egocentricity starts with letting Christ love them where they are.” That really struck a chord with me because I have been feeling like a loser in the Seeking-the-Lord department. And it was just a solid reminder to me of Christ’s call to me to just come to Him as I am, instead of fruitlessly trying to make myself perfect before just being honest and running home.

And then the second thought was on Monday. A friend had invited me to go to a spin class with her. I’ve been a handful of times but am definitely still very new to this kind of workout. I was really tired and didn’t feel like working out. If my friend hadn’t been able to go, I probably would have ended up on the couch for the evening, which has been the theme of my workout routines recently. So we get into this class, and there’s a different instructor. She introduces herself by saying that some people call her intense. As it turns out, she was really motivating. It was a tough workout, but her encouragement helped me work out much harder than I had planned. And right in the middle of it, she says, “IT’S OKAY TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE!” I was like: “WOW!!! #LightBulbMoment!!!” That’s SO true. In my mind it fit perfectly with what Brennan Manning said earlier—letting Jesus love me where I am.

Not that I stop trying or excuse my laziness or forever give up on being more like Christ, but to remember, to realize that I am still in process, and Jesus loves me where I’m at, and that’s okay! It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be a struggle, I will fall, and Christ will help me get back up again, and His love is my constant. It’s OKAY to be uncomfortable.

Bibliography

-Abba’s Child. Brennan Manning. Pp128-129, 156

-The Awesome Spin Instructor

Check out this awesome song from All Sons & Daughters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTYeEtXIODg

A Fish Not Out of Water

I am inspired.

When the grayed woman walks into the Hip local coffee shop bedecked with her comfy pants and multi-colored, striped socks and confidently asks the hot 20 something young man if the seat next to him is taken.

She pulls out her newspaper as he types away on his laptop, earbuds plugged into his head. Nonchalantly she walks to the counter, ordering her hand-crafted specialty coffee. The playlist singer croons overhead, and her toe taps to the catchy tune as her rimless frames rest on her nose, and little hair clips secure her whitening strands.

And I am proud of her.

I think I want to be like her.

This woman who has lived thru so many ages doesn’t let the tides of time keep her out of the current stream.

She embraces life peacefully, and looks around to see who she’s currently sharing it with. She doesn’t separate herself from those not sharing her decade.

No! She goes where they go, and comfortably enjoys the things they do. Though her accessories may be a bit different.

Yes, Dear Woman, I want to be like you.

Thank you for coming into the coffee shop today.

 

 

Enjoying life, sharing mine with yours