from the breach

Isaiah 58:12

Momma’s Boy — May 10, 2015

Momma’s Boy

You can’t tell your story without talking about your mom. That doesn’t mean that the story will be a pleasant one. Thankfully, mine is.

I am proud to be known as a Momma’s Boy. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Men are what their mothers made them.” That is true in my case. I know my dad played a big role as well but since its Mother’s Day I am going to focus on her. Sorry, Dad.

Of course, we had our problems. I was far from the perfect child. I honestly think that the term “terrible twos” was first uttered by my mom. My list of terrible transgressions included:

  • Drinking paint thinner. It had brown paint in it, and I assumed it was chocolate milk. This, of course, resulted in a trip to the emergency room.
  • Shoving a model plane propeller up my nose. Another trip to the emergency room.
  • Swallowing a quarter. Emergency room.
  • Pulling a pot of hot coffee on top of myself. Emergency room, followed by several weeks in the hospital and a couple of surgeries.

I am sure my mom and dad could add more items to this list.

I wish I could say that it was better once I “matured”. As I got older, the infractions just intensified:

  • Burning down the field behind our house.
  • Stealing candy from the gas station and then selling it to other kids in my 5th-grade class.
  • Releasing a jar full of fire ants in the girls bathroom.

I will leave my teenage years to your imagination. I am sure you get the picture.

My mother was just a kid herself when I was born. She could have shirked her responsibilities and focused on enjoying the remainder of her teenage years. She did not do that. She got a job and focused on taking care of me.

She is truly one of the hardest working people I know. She is one of those employees that companies dream about and wish they could clone. My parents taught me and my brothers the value of hard work at a very young age. We watched as they struggled from paycheck to paycheck just to keep food on the table for three growing boys.

For over 30 years, she has worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home. Anyone that knows anything about this field will tell you that this is one of the toughest jobs around. A nurse once told me that a CNA does the work that no one else wants to do (cleaning, changing, etc.). My mother has spent a majority of her time as a CNA working with those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

I remember her often coming home from work with bruises and scratches. Sometimes the patients feel confused and afraid. Sometimes they feel angry and do not understand what is happening to them. Sometimes they act out. My mother lovingly and patiently cared for them regardless.

Never getting angry.

Never taking it personally.

Anyone that knows my mother can tell you how deeply she loves the residents at her nursing home. They are her second family. I know that they feel the same way about her. I know because I have met many of them myself. I witnessed their eyes light up when she walked into the room. They feel safe with my mother. They feel dignity. They feel love.

Recently she was offered a promotion. It was a position with more responsibility and better pay. I was very proud of her, but I could tell that she was nervous about the change. She took the job. It was not long before gave up that position and was back “on the floor” as she calls it. The new position meant that she would spend less time with residents. She could not handle being away. She needed to know that they were being taken care of properly and did not feel she could do that from behind a desk.

My mother has taught me a lot about the true nature of God over the years.

There have been many times in my journey that I have felt confused. Many times that I felt angry and could not understand what was happening. I wanted to act out. I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and just give up.

God never left. He lovingly and patiently cares for me. I feel safe with Him. I feel dignity. I feel love.

God is right there “on the floor” with us.  God meets us right where we are. There are no prerequisites. No disclaimers. No special requirements.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. (Matthew 11:28 ESV)

My mom often apologizes for the mistakes she made as a parent. I don’t think she realizes that it doesn’t matter. The good will always outweigh the bad in my eyes. She taught me about love and acceptance. About compassion and grace.

My prayer is that I will treat others with the same dignity, respect and compassion that my mother shows to her residents. My hope is that I am always known as a Momma’s Boy.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.