It’s a living book, this life;
it folds out in a million settings,
cast with a billion beautiful characters,
and it is almost over for you.
It doesn’t matter how old you are;
it is coming to a close quickly,
and soon the credits will roll
and all your friends will fold
out of your funeral and
drive back to their homes
in cold and still and silence.
And they will make a fire
and pour some wine and
think about how you once were . . .
and feel a kind of sickness
at the idea you never again will be . . .
. . . And so my prayer is that
your story will have involved
some leaving and some coming home,
some summer and some winter,
some roses blooming out
like children in a play.
My hope is your story will be about changing,
about getting something beautiful born inside of you,
about learning to love a woman or a man,
about learning to love a child,
about moving yourself around water,
around mountains, around friends,
about learning to love others
more than we love ourselves,
about learning oneness as a way
of understanding God.
We get one story,
you and I,
and one story alone.
God has established
the elements, the setting
and the climax and the resolution.
It would be a crime not to venture out,
The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.
– Elain Heffner
The above drawing was created by my father and depicts my mother and me, when I was approx. 5 years old. I’m grateful to have this original piece framed and hanging in my bedroom.
I wrote the following piece in honor of my mom’s 60th Birthday. I’m posting it here, several years later, to say Happy Mother’s Day.
Mom, you may be far away traveling right now, but you are never far from my heart.
Mom, here are some invaluable things you’ve taught me about living:
- If you’re cold, you should put your hands between your knees.
- Always put on lipstick before you go into the shopping mall. You never know who you might run into.
- You will feel better if you take a walk every day. Even if the wind is blowing and it gets on your nerves.
- Knee socks look good with jean skirts if you have thin legs.
- If you’re crabby, you might need to eat something. Preferably, something with protein in it.
- It’s important to balance your checkbook every month and to know what you are spending your money on.
- Typos are not ok. Stores named “Kleen Sweep” need to go buy some paint and get busy.
- Having dirty or flat hair is a crushing blow to any day, even if you are camping.
- Always use moisturizer on your hands so that you can offer a soft, cool touch to a feverish forehead.
- Being hospitable and creating a warm atmosphere in a home is an underappreciated talent. But it means the world to people.
- Being able to communicate in writing opens doors, especially if you can do it well.
- A good meal paves the way to closer relationships.
- It’s good to have a barrette and socks that match your sweater.
- If you are going to go on TV, it is important to have a special smile prepared for that purpose.
- If you are going out for the day, always pack a well-balanced lunch. If possible, include a few chips, a tuna sandwich and a chocolate chip square in it.
- You will feel better if you have a nap every day. Even 20 minutes of quiet time can give the restoration you need to get through the rest of the day.
- Sometimes it’s just plain better to have a dishwasher than to have an ocean view.
- Say “I love you” many times a day.
- If you love someone, it’s ok to call them silly names like “baby boo,” “lover,” or “monkey face pretty boy sweetness.”
- Constancy and reliability mean a lot to children.
- My mom may appear unassuming, but she is not to be pushed too far. (Just ask one of her kids!)
- Fulfill your responsibilities. Keep your promises.
- Always do your best work.
- Think before you speak. Kindness can soothe a world of wounds.
- It’s a good idea to push the envelope a little bit and be spontaneous sometimes. (Go ahead, have that extra bowl of popcorn! Stay up an hour late!)
- Going along with one of your husband’s crazy schemes when he least expects it keeps the romance in your marriage. Putting him in the doghouse temporarily and then flirting with him does the same thing.
- Get tough when you need to stand up for what is right, or defend someone who is helpless. At those times, be immovable.
- Giggling when someone falls down or bangs into something isn’t a sign of a lack of compassion.
- It really is ok to ask for help.
- What you give in life comes back to you ten-fold.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to pray with somebody over the phone.
- The Bible read aloud over inspirational music is one of the most comforting things in the world.
- No matter how low I might feel, I know that things will improve soon, because my mother is somewhere praying for me. God really pays attention when my mother prays.
- Psychology and faith are not mutually exclusive.
- Contributions which are “behind the scenes” are just as important in God’s eyes as those which are high-profile.
- A successful home makes room for family meals, prayer, humor and sharing stories.
- Fostering your faith and caring for those you love are the two most important things in life.
I recall a gentle voice and hand in a hospital room, a lovely smell as I walked in the door at home, a pile of fresh laundry folded neatly on my bed, hand-written letters and care packages, proud and affirming looks for my accomplishments, and conversations which make the hours fly by.
I love you.