I love quotes. Words. Stories confined within a sentence. When I was in college, I wrote my favorites down in a little notebook I carried with me; today, it’s a Word document. Here are a few of my recent favorites (because I’m sure the Internet really wants to know).
“…[she] tried to make peace after the fashion of weak-minded persons, who would cover over the unpleasant sight of a sore, instead of trying to heal it.”
“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Why is there such a fury against religion now? Because religion is the one reliable force that stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. The one reliable force that forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law.”
“But what we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.”
A moment. This morning. Albus sits at my feet, calm (worn and wearied is perhaps more accurate) from an hour of frenzied tussling with the rug and a water bottle. Outside, I see workers below me, building a veranda on a nearby rooftop. The sound of hammering is persistent, the low thud of background noise. It’s cloudy, hazy, cool in the way peculiar to thick and humid days.
I linger over my coffee, trying to discern what is inside my heart. Truth be told, I’m not sure. We head home (what a loaded term that one is for us!) in 10 days, back to our mamas and doctor appointments and siblings and the brightly fierce sunshine of the South. I’m ready. My list of things to wrap up here is long, still. Good-byes to friends who, when school lets out in July, will be scattered across the globe. A party to celebrate the soon-arrival of two sweet babies. Presents for family. Next year’s rent to be paid and visas to be handled and plans for the fall to be set. Worries about our tickets and stress over my own forgetful hastiness in myriad tiny details and one last week of walks and cuddles with the pupster. (We can’t bring him home, but no worries, he’ll be waiting for us the moment we get back.)
Trying, in the midst of that, to just be here for a few more days. To stop, to feel the breeze, to be and not just to do. To remember Who my fortress is, and to rest there. To quiet my soul like a weaned child, to quell the anxious thoughts that rise up in my soul over the most quibbling of matters. Striving, this morning, to go out and accomplish what must be done with a heart that is still.
To let this day be simple and joyous.
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
Although I suppose my good fortune has not so much to do with luck as with grace, when it comes down to it. The point remains: I–we–have the best mothers around. (No offense, rest of the world. It’s true.) Beverly/Bebe (Michael’s mom) and my own dear Mama are truly treasures, and I’m beyond thankful to call them family.
My mother-in-law is kind and caring. From the moment that I met her (before Michael and I were officially dating, which helped with the nervousness on my part but perhaps made her a bit uncertain what the deal was), she made me feel at home and that she was so glad to have me in her (and her son’s!) life. She supports and encourages, never judging me for who I am and what I do (or don’t) do. She laughs with me, gently, when I’m ridiculous, in a way that makes me feel a loved member of the family. Much of Michael’s creative artistic and musical talents come directly from his mother. I’m grateful for the way she loves her sons, fiercely, yet is willing to let them fly where they may. Suzanne, one of my sisters-in-law, and I often say that we so admire Bebe for the way she raised her three sons. The prayer and love she poured into them is obvious. We ought to know: we reap the benefits every day. I’m so grateful to call her my mother-in-law.
My own mother is wise, strong, practical, and self-sacrificing. Selflessness, I suppose, is a character trait that comes with the territory of being a mother. I have nowhere seen this lived out as richly as in my own mother, from the years she spent raising the four of us girls to the way she supports our dad to the years she has spent caring for her own parents and aunt when they need her. She is always a listening ear, not just to me but to my sisters. (Heaven knows we don’t listen to her enough.) Whether it’s tiny details about my day, frustration, or heartbreak, she is there. And while she’s there to sympathize, she also tells us the truth that we need to hear to face life directly and honestly. She is the wisest woman I know. My sisters and I are very, very far from perfect, but I am proud of the independent women that we have grown up to be, and our mom is responsible for such a great deal of that. I hope that when I grow up, I am as wise, patient, calm, and most of all, self-forgetful as my mother. She’s just the best.
Happy Mother’s Day.
We love you both, dearly.