Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tribute to my Mom

My experience with motherhood was different from many people. I was given up for adoption as a baby. I was adopted at three months old by Al and Ida Faustin. I have always been thankful that abortion was not common in my birth year like it is today. If it had been, I probably would not have survived.

My mother Ida could not have children. She always had various medical problems and as a result lost the ability to give birth herself. Yet, she desperately wanted to be a mother. My dad and she adopted three children. I was in the middle. An interesting thing is that the earliest memory I have is being at the orphanage when we got my sister. I would have been about three years old. I have several snapshots in my mind from that time. One was going through the orphanage looking at different kids; one was sitting in a courtroom and another of my new sister in the front seat between my mom and dad looking back at my brother and me when we took her home. She had a huge smile on her face.

My mother was sick a lot. She had rheumatic fever as a child and many other health problems. From what I heard, there were many surgeries and hospitalizations. As a child, I remember many of those. It seemed that even when she was home, much of the time she wasn’t very well. I’m sure that made it very hard to be the mother she always wanted to be.

My mom died when I was 15. That changed things dramatically around our house. It made the job harder for my dad but I know he did everything he could to provide structure and care for us. I am absolutely thankful for the parents God provided for me. They were devoted to God and to their family.

Here is a line from a poem that many of us have heard: The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. Here is the rest of it:

They say that man is mighty,
He governs land and sea,
He wields a mighty scepter
O'er lesser powers than he.
But a mighty power and stronger
Man from his throne has hurled:
For the hand that rocks the cradle
is the hand that rules the world.
-William Wallace
What truth! Be thankful for a good mother. And something so important for today is for us to recognize and support motherhood. It’s value has been diminished both in and out of the church. We need to bring it back.

Even Mother’s Day has been diluted in the church. Something that bugs me is that it is not the big deal it used to be. There may be a mention but then we get on to other things. Or, it is broadened to cover all woman because we don’t want to exclude the infertile, the childless-by-choice, the single, etc. Sorry, it’s Mother’s Day and there is a reason for that.

So I give tribute to my mother and to the mother of my children. The world is a different and better place because of the job they have done.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Help Someone Live

Recently Barry Fey said to a reporter friend: "I really don't have anything to live for." A week later suicide came. Yet there were four sons and grandchildren. What about that?

Darkness comes and our vision is severely decreased. Life closes in and we see little good.

I see why encouragement is so powerful and needed. Most of us who have an honest view of our life feel pretty crappy about it especially in the dark times.

We can help other people have a reason to live and live better by giving them a little encouragement. We can bring some light to the dark place. Our words can help them see that they are better than they think.

But here is what I know for sure. I want to make sure people know they are crappy. I fear my good words may empower them to keep on going in their bad ways so I may withhold the encouragement that would help.

The truth is that most of us are our own worst critic. We know what we are doing wrong and feel helpless to do anything about it because our best efforts fall short. That is where encouragement can make a big difference. Someone from the outside can show us where we have changed and those sweet words will help us move beyond the dark place when we feel stuck and wonder why we should even try – again.

Think about this: If you treat a man as he is, he will stay as he is.  But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become the bigger and better man.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe