I am not my mother. I didn’t have Catholic parents, didn’t need to run away to go to a Christian school. Didn’t meet and marry the love of my life in college. Didn’t marry a teacher who became a pastor, I never would. I didn’t let this man take me to his country to share living spaces with snakes, jaguars and other assorted, unfamiliar creatures, just because I promised like Ruth, to make his people my people. I won’t be caught barefoot and pregnant with the closest midwife over the rapids, around the hill and through the woods three days away.
Her love for Jesus was deep and intensely sincere. It was evident in her kindness, generosity and hospitality. Sometimes if they asked, she would take in the stranger off the street, bring them home, offer them a bath and give them food or otherwise. She loved people and gave more second chances than I ever could, and believed with faith the size of a mango seed that the worst in anyone could metamorphose into a blossom of beauty, blessing everyone relevantly juxtaposed. She was infused with trust in God’s ability to transform the impossible.
Sometimes like her, I talk about the elephant in the room, and find myself humming as I complete chores. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or window doing a complex task my mouth is fixed just so and my face has an expression I’ve seen a thousand times. I look eagerly forward to the Sabbath and have been known to get caught in the Friday circus, juggling sweet-bread in the oven, food on the stove, a kitchen floor to mop and sinks and bathrooms to clean. Unlike my mom, I ignore the opportunity to practice calligraphy on the furniture and focus instead on replacing the sheets and towels with “Ocean Breeze”-scented ones.
She taught me about occupying while waiting on Jesus’ soon return. About telling everyone I meet that they should be ready. And now I can’t wait to see her and Daddy and so many other people I love. So I guess, though I’m not like her, it’s still the way to go.