Tag Archives: mom

THE VOICE BEHIND ME

vintage-sheet-music-the-exodus-song-pat-boone-ernest-gold-paul-newman-60c-89bac1663aac6d751984b7935a006499“This land is mine,
God gave this land to me
This brave and ancient land to me
And when the morning sun
Reveals her hills and plains
Then I see a land
where children can run free.”

Long ago, I would sit at the piano,  mom standing behind me as she said, “Brynie, play this for me”. Generally, I would play the song, she would sing it a few times and off we would go in our different directions. But somewhere, buried deep in the creases of my brain, that familiar voice is still behind me just as loud and clear as ever.

“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’~Ez 11:17

Mom didn’t play piano well. It was something she tried to teach herself, but her digits never found the right path easily, and as her fingers became more arthritic mom 1990sand deformed, it became even harder. She didn’t take well to things that she couldn’t do well, so she would ask me to play for her. Sometimes it was for some performance she was working on – a Republican gathering, a minstrel, a choir performance somewhere. Sometimes it was just a song she found and wanted to try out. Most of the time, especially in my teen years, it was a space where our souls met. A place where we stopped arguing or butting heads over principles and found the love and peace that brought us together as mother and daughter.

“So take my hand
And walk this land with me
And walk this lovely land with me
Tho’ I am just a man
When you are by my side
With the help of God
I know I can be strong.”

If I learned anything from my mother, it was watching her adhere to her principles. It didn’t matter if it put her family on the opposite side of her stance. It didn’t matter if it put her on the opposite side of those whom she admired because they went to college and she hadn’t. It didn’t matter if they made more money or had more “stuff”. She stuck to what she believed. That can be pretty daunting to the rebellious teen who got a lot of her own stubbornness from the one she was watching.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these .”~ Phil 4:8

img700 - CopyI have been thinking about principles and our country all day. After all – it is Super Tuesday. It is – perhaps – the reason I heard her voice behind me singing this particular song. I can still see the picture on the front of the sheet music as I would open it up on our old, dark upright piano and begin to play. Later, I sang this song as well with my singing buddy/sister. The intricate harmonies circling a prayer around us just like it circled around my mother and I when we would made music together.

“…To make this land our home
If I must fight
I’ll fight to make this land our own.
Until I die this land is mine!” ~ Pat Boone, “Exodus”

Known as the “second national anthem of Israel”, the words and melody of this song still circle easily in my head. A blessing from God on this night of clashes between principles and politics. I’m wondering if I still have the sheet music tucked somewhere in the crates of music sitting by my Clavinova. Hmmmmm….if not, I guess I will be getting on Amazon and seeking out a new copy. My fingers, although slower and not so “piano-fluent” as they once were, still manage to make music. And for a moment – a tiny moment in time, I am back on Riverside Drive on a warm spring night. My mommy pulling me away from the telephone or the latest book find, and hearing her say, “Brynie, I need you to play this for me…”

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, That we would be called the children of God; and such we are.”~1 Jn 3:1

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STUFF

clutter

I love productive days. I’ve had this box of loose “stuff” that I started gathering when we moved my mom out of my childhood home. Needless to say, those were busy years for me…teenagers in the house, grandchildren being born in MI, Mama needing lots of time, husband trying to start a business, so I added more “stuff” to that box. Today, I got through the top assortment of “stuff”, and I feel as if the back room has a new lightness to it.

“… keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” 1 Peter 2:11

“Stuff” does get in the way we see things and sometimes clouds our judgement. After I returned to my home town, I made the mistake of cleaning up an area around my mom’s chair. Mom threatened to disown me if I every touched one of her magazines or books again. She was right. It was her stuff to get rid of – not mine. Mom collected and kept most everything; she was a card carrying member of the original re-cycle crowd. Depression babies are like that. We re-used everything until it fell apart in our hands. When my brother and I finally had permission to clean out her house (without the threat of being disowned), it took pretty close to a year (or at least – it seemed like it). As for Mom, after she moved, she often wondered why she kept all that “stuff” because she said she didn’t miss it at all.

“You will be ashamed of your idol worship in groves of sacred oaks.” Is 1:29

SOS5We tend to really like our “stuff”. We want this or that – and usually multiples of the “this and that”. Between books, Barbies, pictures on the wall, and a few sundry of other things, I have done my fair share of collecting. My husband collects “manly toys” – you know – boats, motorcyles, tools, etc. “Stuff” adds up quickly and clutters up our lives pretty fast. Don’t get me wrong, I still love having “stuff”. But as I dug through all the “stuff” Mom had collected, I boy clutterrealized how there were very little of that “stuff” that meant anything to me or my brother. One day I sat in the middle of what used to be our dining room – surrounded by “stuff” – and was overwhelmed by the sheer uselessness of it.

“…The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” Rm 10:8

I got a clearer message a few years later, when we had our house fire, I got another nudge about “stuff”. After emptying several large dumpsters of “stuff”, my husband and I made a new rule, if it couldn’t fit in our pocket, we wouldn’t buy it. Obviously, we did not stick to that rule very long, but we have stopped “collecting” a lot stuff. Our smaller home is still full, but most of it (I’m happy to say) are things that weren’t damaged by the fire.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ep 2:8-10

“Stuff” doesn’t get us to heaven…we can’t take it with us. It clutters the corners and builds walls around us. (In my mind’s eye, I can still see my mother’s chair sitting amid piles of “stuff” on every side of it.) It can even cloud our vision as we lose sight of what truly matters. This is where my day became truly productive. It wasn’t about cleaning out the “stuff”. It wasn’t even about initiating a chore that I had wanted to start for years. It was this: Jesus said: “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Lk 18;22 Looking around my room, I began to wonder: If the Messiah said this to me today, would I sell everything…or would I be like the certain ruler who just walked away…