“Pat, please pick up your socks,” my wife reminded me the other evening as I prepared for bed.
“My mom always picked up my socks when I took them off,” I half-jokingly responded against my better judgment.
I knew in my soul the response that was coming next. “Well, I am not your mother,” she said, smiling at me.
After picking up my socks and putting them in the clothes hamper, I walked downstairs and placed a pair of headphones on my head. As the soothing music began to enter my mind, I thought about Brenda’s words, “Well, I am not your mother.”
Those are true words. It couldn’t be any other way, and we don’t expect it to be. There is a special bond between mothers and their children that can never be broken or duplicated. Our moms freely give us the gift of unconditional love from the time she carries us inside the womb, until the time one of us takes our last breath.
Of all the gifts my mom gave me in her lifetime, there is one gift I am most grateful for, and have come to appreciate more with each passing year of my life.
Mom prayed untiringly for me. Not just once in a while, but each and every day. Although I was only 6 years old and in the first grade at the time, I remember my mother picking me up after school and comforting me after an unpleasant experience had occurred. “Let’s say a prayer to Jesus. He will help you,” she said.
When I was troubled my mom prayed for me. When I sought a new career opportunity she prayed for me. She prayed for my safety every day, and for me to have the good sense to behave and to do the right things in life.
She made a pilgrimage of several hundred miles a couple of times a year for special intentions for our family. She prayed for good marriages, good health, strong faith, quick healings, and satisfying employment. She also always remembered others, praying for those battling illness, domestic issues, addictions or depression. It was very common to see a votive light lit in our home in times of distress and storms.
All through high school and college I noticed that things always seemed to “work out” for me. As I married and started a family, my career goals seemed to fall into place effortlessly. Satisfying and fulfilling jobs came my way and promotions were never too far behind. I thought I was lucky.
It never occurred to me that doors were being opened because of my mom’s faithful prayers. I am sure her prayers protected me from myself, as I made my share of wrong and regrettable decisions within my life.
One evening in 1985, I was called to Clinton Memorial Hospital. I was met by my dad who told me Mom was extremely ill and the prognosis was grim. Sadly, within an hour she was gone.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I went to the hospital chapel and randomly opened the Bible. I found a bookmark on a page and read a scripture. Amazingly, on the back of the bookmark someone had scribbled, “When my mother died she met God. He said, “I have heard my Son speak of you. Come in.”
I was immediately comforted because I knew my mom frequently spoke to God’s Son, usually on behalf of others.
Death is never easy, but when it’s your mother it is much harder. It’s harder because I knew the sweet notes and cards, or the thoughtful gifts she would send at Christmas, would no longer be coming in the mail.
As time went on and life came full force, I wondered what I would do without my mom, her love, support and prayers. I soon found out. It seems one door after another continued to mysteriously unlock for me, often in spite of myself. Some might call it “coincidence” or “luck,” but deep in my heart I know it is mom’s prayers from above that still guide me.
This is not to say my life has been easy. It hasn’t. Life has not coddled me, but has pushed my boundaries, and brought discipline, and toughness when I needed them.
But on those quiet days, like today, I think of a friend my mother knows well. I can picture her quietly whispering in His ear and saying, “Please, assist my son Pat. He needs your help.”
And most of the time He does.
The other evening walking through Kroger’s, I didn’t hear what the young husband had said, but I did hear his wife’s response. “Well, I am not your mother.”
I smiled and thought, “I hope he is as lucky as me.”
Pat Haley is a Clinton County commissioner.