The late Beatle, John Lennon, once said, 'Life is what happens to you as you are busy making your plans.' He may have stolen it, but it doesn’t matter. My plan was to write a blog post every week. It was a good plan. Then life happened… again. I had to have surgery; then there was a painful recuperation followed by even more painful physical therapy. It didn't help that a couple of weeks ago my last blog post got lost in an evil digital hyper-space vortex. Only a few could even find it. I'll try to do better. Enough excuses.
After 70 years of marriage, mission stints in Singapore and Russia and a lifetime of serving others, last week my 91-year-old mother moved to an independent living community. A friend and I went to Memphis to help the rest of my family move her to her new home. The experience was hard on all us for various reasons. For Mom, the letting go of so many things was almost unbearable. She was born at home on a golf course. It’s not as fancy as it sounds, trust me. My grandfather was the grounds keeper at the time. The ‘home’ was a shack. When the Great Depression hit mom’s family hardly noticed. She grew up abundant with love but pretty sparse on everything else. Hence, giving up all she had accumulated over the years had many mixed feelings attached. Plus, we sold her car at the same time. Yep, at ninety-one, she was still driving. I’m not sure she will ever forgive us of that one. But, it was time and where she now lives, a driver will take her anywhere she wants, even shopping at Dillard’s and Ikea, her two favorite places.
Breaking up a home is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as well. Not only helping my mom, but just a few years earlier, I had to do that for myself. When my husband died, I was left with a log house, three acres, a pond, a two-car garage, a potting shed, a barn, and a loft rec room over the barn. I stayed there for a year. Picture me on a John Deere mower. Picture me staining the logs, replacing deck stairs, cutting firewood, weeding several flower beds, snow shoveling the walks and long, long driveway. I loved that place. The Hubs and I made it home, an oasis, a retreat for us and our family. With him gone, I no longer could or wanted to stay there.
Hence, the selling off of things I held dear, odd things like an iron baby bed I made into a planter, a gift from the Hubs. The tire swing hanging in the tree, another gift from the Hubs. Walking away from the old fashion screened-in porch, yes, another gift from my Hubs, broke what was left of my heart in two. Turning off the four-ton chandelier the Hubs had made from one of our junk-run finds and closing the door almost buckled my knees.
What I had to remember is that it was just stuff. I wasn’t going to forget our life together if I didn’t have all that stuff around me. Plus, one of my biggest fears is that the stuff would begin to own me instead. If that happened I feared I would lose the most important thing the Hubs gave me, a true sense of myself and who I am. He loved that person. I needed to move out and on to stay that person. Does that make any sense? It did and still does to me.
So, today, I ask you for your prayers for my sweet mama as she adjusts to a life she never wanted but was given. Pray she will find the peace that passes understanding in the time left to her. Pray she will see that time as a gift as well. While you’re at it, I’d appreciate those same prayers as well.