A transparent Mother’s Day message
Don HinklePathway Editor
April 27, 2004
Mother’s Day can be disconcerting.
Like most people, I’ll send mom a card and phone her to reiterate the abiding love I have for her. Those things are easy to do. What I find more difficult as the years go by is trying to express in some way how much I’ve learned from her about life and how sorry I am for things I’ve done contrary to what she instructed.
I’m just not referring to disobedient acts like declining to remove my muddy sneakers at the back door or sassing her because I wanted to go outside – while it was pouring rain.
One summer day while still a mischievous tike, I scampered down the hill from our house to a neighbor’s down the street. There was a huge gully that ran alongside their house where my friend and I would play with dozens of miniature army men. I could stand in the gully, look up the hill and still see our house. It was easy to spot mom at the corner of our house from where she would routinely yell for me when it was time to come home. I can still hear her, “DOOOOONALD … COME HOOOOMMMMME.”
Being the often stubborn lad I was, I would always delay my departure just a few minutes – then just a few minutes more – and a few more. I always seemed to know just how many more minutes mom would tolerate because she told me if she had to call twice I would be grounded. So I would push the envelope – until one eventful day that changed our lives.
We were in the gully when I heard mom yell. I did not bother looking up and continued to play, figuring a few more minutes would not matter. Then I heard a different voice calling. It was my Aunt Hootie (her name was Ruth, but she got the nickname because of her infatuation with owls). Hootie’s holler got my attention and when my muddy face popped up over the gully’s edge and looked up the hill I saw my mom weeping uncontrollably. She was trying to yell, but couldn’t. Something was terribly wrong.
I headed up the hill as fast as my legs would carry me. When I got to the house all Aunt Hootie would say is, “Don, there has been an accident, get in the car.” I kept asking for details, but Hootie couldn’t answer as she helped mom into the car.
There are moments in all our lives that are frozen in our memories … the moment a child is born … when that child gets married … when death comes to a loved one. Seeing my young mother like that on that summer day falls into that category. Her tears were many, but her cry was from somewhere deeper than her lungs. It was coming from her soul.
Halfway to the hospital Hootie finally told me, “Don, a car has fallen on your daddy.”
Dad was a mechanic – one of the best, too. He was employed by the local Ford dealership and was hammering underneath a car when it slipped off the metal mounts. He was still alive when the ambulance took him to the hospital.
I remember sitting in the back seat of the car as I watched my mom suffer. I thought about how selfish I had been – lingering in that gully while my mom’s world fell apart. Then I wondered, “Will dad be dead by the time we get to the hospital?”
Upon our arrival, Hootie and mom ran straight for the emergency room. They had to leave me in the waiting room, where I sat – alone with my thoughts.
By a miracle of God, dad survived with only a concussion and several broken ribs. The car’s axle had come within a centimeter of cracking – or crushing – his skull. Dad recovered to live a normal life for another 20-plus years before the Lord called him home in 1989.
God certainly demonstrated His power, but he also taught me a personal lesson. He showed me how selfish I could be. As Proverbs 10:1 says, “A foolish son is a grief to his mother.” I won’t say in every case, but in most cases from that day forward, I came home the minute she called.
Mom has never spoken about my delayed arrival on the day the car fell on dad. I suppose dad’s well-being was – as always – foremost on her mind. I suspect we have not discussed it because it was so traumatic. She probably doesn’t even think about it the way I do.
She has always shown me how much she loves me. I know by the bountiful expressions of love she has shown me from the day she gave me life to the often difficult days as a newspaper editor (as you would expect, she does not like letters criticizing her son). She has often sacrificed for my benefit.
It reminds me of the ultimate sacrifice, the glorious provision, God made for me. His only Son sacrificed His life so that I have eternal life. When Jesus died on the cross, He gave sacrificially for my benefit.
So this Mother’s Day I am thankful that God sent Jesus to save me and that He sent my mom, Cecelia, to be my earthly mother. Some of the happiest days in my pilgrimage through this temporary world were spent as a child with my stay-at-home mom. I will forever be grateful to her and I love her very much. I hope this column will be accepted as a humble attempt to obey Exodus 20:12 and Matthew 19:19.
May 9 is Mother’s Day. Is there something you need to say to God? Is there something you need to do – like ask Jesus to come into your heart? Is there something you need to say to – or do for – your mom? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then I pray you act today.
Now I got to go call mom.