My mother always had cookies, brownies, western pound cake, or pineapple squares, available to us when we came home from school. We walked (yes, we really did) down our road to the irrigation ditch, then followed the ditch until it intersected the larger water ditch. Heading north we looked for more treasures marking their location in the dirt. When we reached the paved street we only had about a quarter of a mile to go crossing Griegos to the school grounds. I remember this path as if it were yesterday. Coming home was always the best part. We had time to explore, look for treasures, demonstrate our bravery and play a few games on the way home. Being the only girl in a neighborhood with seven boys had its rewards.
My mother passed away when I was only fifteen. Through the years of ups and downs and missing her presence the memories that rose to my thoughts were turned to negative bursts until I could no longer recall the hot cookies, fallen sponge cake, and a loving hug when it mattered.
When I was battling severe depression the therapist I was working with challenged me to come back the next week with one happy memory of my mother. It was a rough week with many ups and downs where even warm chocolate chip cookies had turned negative. The next session was full of fear, tears, regret, blame, until I cried out to Jesus to help me understand. There was a glimmer of understanding.
I went home with a glimmer of hope. I started journaling in a spiral note book filling it up at night when I couldn’t sleep as I discovered two sides of distant memories. Within a few more weeks I was able to stand in the positive memories. It was hard work. Not only was I able to reclaim the love of my mother lost fifty-two years ago but I also learned another valuable lesson in the process. The importance of looking at both sides of the coin for answers.
Now I am proud to say I can see and feel all the love my mother had for me and all of the pain she tried to hide from me.
Warm chocolate chip cookies, showed love.
Watching and helping me memorize poems, showed love.
Allowing me to be independent, showed love.
Handmade clothing, hours sitting at the sewing machine, showed love.
Piano lessons showed love.
When I spent hours in the top of the large cottonwood tree she would ask me, “What were you doing up there?” I would answer “Talking to God.” Her smile and silence showed love.
Love is action. The little things are sometimes more important than the big things. It is the little things that add up to that feeling of joy in your heart. Many of my friends have also shared how they never looked at both sides of the coin. Frequently we let what we perceive as a rejection by a parent cancel out the feeling of love.
My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love.
1 John 3:18 (VOICE)
My mother passed down to me a love of Jesus. Even when I stopped going to church I still tried to live by memorized scriptures and the things she taught me. I let the anger that she passed away at the time I needed her most take hold and cloud my memory. That anger blocked my view and allowed the evil one to present his lies.
Love wins! Because love is not an idea or a theory. It is all the little and big actions that point to the pattern of gracious love. Love is a warm cookie and a knowing smile. Love is action.
Even though I lost my Mom at fifteen I am lucky to still have my Dad at age ninety-seven. Did he make mistakes, yes. Every parent does. In the long run we all do. But love wins and every time he says, “I love you too baby doll.” I know it!