Stepping into the new year without my mom feels like entering a strange and unmapped land. Nothing feels familiar.
I am glad for the snow, pleased with the arctic frost that has descended, keeping me inside. As any farmer knows, winter is a time to rest, to re-gather ones strength and to prepare for what comes next.
It is ironic that after nearly two decades crisscrossing the Atlantic to live and work in some pretty perilous places, my mother took her last breath in a Connecticut nursing home.
“I am a small target,” she’d often say packing her bags on her way to the airport or phoning from her apartment in a Middle-Eastern city after a terrorist attack. “And I serve a big God.”
She was on a mission: to translate portions of scripture for a Central-Asian people who don’t yet have it in their own language. To do this, she sold our family home the year I left for college and enrolled in seminary, studying linguistics, theology, and Biblical languages. It was like having my own spiritual Dear Abby. Whenever I had a question about faith or doctrine, I called her up.
Several years ago, when Mom needed a place to rest, God led her to the Willimantic Camp Meeting Association – a historic Christian community in Connecticut – where friends helped renovate a snug cottage. It happened to be in the very town where her father and grandfather had lived and worked a century before.
There, over the six months of her illness, Mom was cared for by a cadre of compassionate neighbors and friends who picked up her groceries and washed her laundry and drove her to doctors before God called Mom to her ultimate home.
I knew my mom was creative. I knew she was artistic and clever and passionate. I knew she was in love with Jesus and wanted to share that love with those who’d never read about him in their own language. But until she died, I didn’t understand the obstacles she faced or her unwavering commitment.
“I know you’ll be okay.” She hugged me in her kitchen last summer after finding she had cancer. “But what about my people?”
She wept. Not because of her illness, but because of how much work remained. Later in a hospital bed, when a friend assured Mom that someone else would take up the work, she tapped her head and said, “How? It’s all in here.”
Saying goodbye to my mom, I promised that my brother and I would make sure her work got finished.
Where will that promise lead? I don’t know.
But I do know that the book she spent her life studying is often taken for granted in a place where all one has to do is pick up a Bible from a shelf. I’m as guilty as anyone of overlooking this treasure. This year, I invite you to take a closer look with me at the book that not only has changed history more than any other, but has changed lives – like my mom’s.
A beautiful tribute to your amazing Mom! No matter how old we are, we still miss her when she is gone.
Thank you, Mary, it means so much to hear from those who knew Mom so long! It is such a huge loss, but huge love makes it bearable.
Your words paint a beautiful picture, Meadow. You have inspired me with your story since the day we first met and I will continue to pray for you and for your Mom’s legacy to be continued. Love and blessings, Vicki
Thanks, Vicki. Praying for you today!!!
You may or may not remember me. Lenore is my mom, and you and your Mom would pop in to Portland Street to visit a long time ago.
I remember your Mom’s face always shone with the love of Christ and she was happy to learn how God was working in our family and in our personal lives.
Until recently, I didn’t even realize she had a pilot’s license or that she was doing translation in the middle east. We lived there a few years when I was a child, so I know that is such a unique cultural experience.
Your mom’s time on earth was cut short far too soon. The pain we feel, especially your pain, is only temporary.
I’m grateful I knew your Mom and as I read the comments I can’t help but see her smiling face in my mind and rejoice about the fact that her smile will be seen
again by those of us who know Christ our Savior. Love, Mike