"Theology Askew?" Column
A RARE PRIVILEGE, WITH SOME REGRETS
She was my mother from 1953 until her early (age 70) passing in September 1994 at the hands of carcinoid cancer. She taught me God's quality of unconditional love by her personal, sacrificing and enduring example.
In a similarly Godly fashion, she loved me even when I sometimes failed to know how to return it with equal eagerness, depth or selflessness.
I was dearly blessed to have her as my mother. The world would be a much better place if more were like her.
Life As Freedom to Serve. Perhaps the first of the 24/7/365 customer-service careers is that of mother. Mine gave up a lot to devote not just "quality time," but her life, to raising a family. In making that choice, she gave up much of what today's world values: personal opportunity among them.
She would have graduated Valedictorian from the now-defunct Central High School in 1942. Would have, save for a foreign-language teacher who stated from day one: "God speaks this language better than me, so He gets an A; I speak it better than you, so I hold a B, and the best you can hope for is a C."
Still, Mom's college prospects were bright until her indigent, immigrant German mother beckoned for her care. College would have to wait; on the shelf of wishful future options it would also remain indefinitely.
Post-War "Prosperity" and Polio "Pandemonium." I was begotten the first-born of Margaret and Maynard, the gentle Norwegian WWII armed-service veteran Mom wed in El Paso, Texas, on VJ Day in 1945.
I arrived eight years hence, with little opportunity to appreciate how my mom felt the need to withdraw from the public arena during my gestation. Polio was epidemic in its outbreak and she felt that no social or public life was worth exposing me to that risk, even though she was both outgoing and insatiable in her quest for knowledge.
So I was born "normal" (no one who knows me would apply that term) and healthy, left to pursue becoming weird and idiosyncratic on my own terms, spared congenital or epidemiological contributors to the cause.
Nearly four years later, my sister, Jean would follow. We grew up in what I would consider "comfortable surroundings" but, in fact, lived many years in what was probably a lower-middle class discipline, as the culture then didn't tolerate the unfathomable levels of domestic debt we embrace today. Similarly, the thought of a mother working full-time outside the home was only assumed normative for the widowed or divorced mother of the day. You just did by with less, and appreciated what you did have all the more. Even if it was only each other.
SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH,
THE MEMORY AND TRIBUTE CONTINUES
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