I spent a good part of this morning texting with my sisters. Today is the 21st anniversary of our Mom’s death. Like most people who have lost loved ones, there are days when we feel her so close it’s hard to believe she’s not alive and present. We three, The Girls, experience that often individually, but on her anniversary there’s a collective connection.
In the course of our going back and forth the topic of Mom’s faith and spirituality came up. Mom was a pretty woman, but her beauty came from within. No matter what life threw at her – and she got hit with much – her eyes held a light that reflected a source of love and compassion that wasn’t of this world.
Both of my sisters and I have experienced reading books on Christianity or spirituality and came away thinking, ‘But I already knew this.’ It’s not because we’re know-it-alls, it’s because Mom embodied point the author was trying to make. As Trudy texted, “We were raised with a living, breathing, organic spirituality.” We weren’t raised memorizing Bible verses. We were raised witnessing the message. We’re aware of how blessed we are.
Mom and Dad were so intent on giving love that we girls wonder if they realized they were love.
One thing that amazes us is that Mom and Dad weren’t ‘public people’ – they didn’t sit on church or city councils or join clubs like the Elks – yet they still made this impact on so many. They knew and met people one-on-one and made each person feel as if they were important, because Mom and Dad truly believed each of them was important.
Thomas Merton’s Mystical experience in 1958 reminds me of them:
“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness . . . This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. .. I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
Mom was by no means a saint, but for the most part she saw everyone walking around shining like the sun.
Thank you Mom for your shining example.
Now it’s time to head to McD’s for my semi-annual cup of coffee and spend some time with my Mom.
A touching piece, Kim.