And So We’re Back To Love
Love is an overused word in many situations. I’ve written about love in earlier TranSpirations, providing context from the old Beatles song, All You Need Is Love. Henri Nouwen has some wisdom on the topic that I find poignant. He writes that when we feel disempowered, we often fight to take outward action. What is truly needed, however, is inward reflection. Stopping and pondering the love we have in our lives gives us the strength to move forward.
Hard to argue that.
Although Mom was in hospice and her life was clearly fading, she kept “hanging on.” My non-medical explanation was that her whole life long, she was “easy to love,” and all that love was keeping her with us. I prize Daniel Hays’ words in his memoir My Old Man and the Sea.
“Mom’s–what a thing!… You start out inside them so helpless that they breathe for you. You come out and they do practically nothing else but love you so much that the rest of your life seems like hard work.”
If that’s not the best description of my Mom, then I don’t know what is. Maybe yours too.
The following quotes from people who wrote my Mom when she was in hospice provide a wonderful testimony to her love.
“Every time I saw H.A. I felt her love and interest in my life. I felt special and am sure my cousins did also as is evidenced by your gathering here in her honor.”
“Your Mom’s “sparkle” is what I remember most about her. I will always remember your Mom as one who could lighten up a room merely by her presence.”
“Mom was an inspiration by putting everyone else- her parents, dad, her children, neighbors, and relatives, first in her life. She never expected anything in return for all the things she did for us. She was such a giving person, and we should all learn from this.”
“I love to remember how good and safe I felt coming to see you, even though I had grown up so far away. Helen Ann, you have been a loving, steady presence throughout my life.”
“Chuck talks about how welcome you always make him feel– he appreciates your warmth and kindness and loves to come visit you. I am so glad that Chuck can get to know Grandpa B through your stories. It’s the next best thing to Chuck actually having met him.”
“I also feel privileged for the time I’ve been able to spend with you, Grandma B…You’re a good woman Grandma B, and you’re a good mother who raised loving sons. You did your best, and that says a lot.”
Love, love, love…say it over and over; visualize it; twist it around and view it from many sides. Where is love in your life—both received and given? How can you describe it? What are examples? In a sentence, how does it strengthen you?
What’s your biggest difficulty in this transition? How can giving or receiving love help you?
How do you define God’s love? How can it find a more prominent place in your life and in your transition?
A mother gazes into her baby’s eyes
her love courses through him like a river
She nourishes him –
he grows strong
She comforts him –
he grows secure
She releases him –
he gains himself.
His life, too, flows like a river
deepening here, widening there,
nurturing new life along its length.
Meanwhile, Time – unyielding –
wears down all creation
Finally the mother looks one last time into her child’s eyes –
the child sighs
and knowing the river is nearly dry,
releases a torrent of tears
vainly wishing to fill its banks
He comforts her –
she grows calm
He caresses her –
she gains acceptance
He releases her –
she floats briefly on the surface of life
and empties peacefully into the everlasting sea
By Mark Allen Budnik
Illustration by Angie Tornes