After church, we’ll treat her to lunch at Cracker Barrel, one of her favorites. She’ll likely order the “Chicken N’ Dumplins” platter with three vegetables and open our present, three just right mystery books–not gory, but not too tame. Tomorrow night, we’re going to take her to see It’s a Wonderful Life, also a favorite, at the historic Alabama Theater downtown.
A simple way to celebrate 87 years of a life well lived.
One Person at a Time
Born in 1929, a child of the Great Depression, she was 12 when the United States entered WW II.
Her family didn’t have much, but she doesn’t describe it that way: they were fine. But she tells stories of “The Shack,” a structure fabricated from wooden sections bolted together so her father could move the family when needed. The Shack had two rooms, neither a bathroom. Since they moved a lot, she changed schools often, but she always did well and even skipped a grade.
Mom was raised in what many look back on as a simpler time in our history. An era when talking, at length and in depth, to family and friends was a major part of the day. And when caring for others was not something you did once a year in a service project, but in every conversation every day.
From sewing her own clothes, hanging out with her sisters on the porch, serving as homecoming queen, and being a great wife and mom, flash forward a few decades and she is as caring, smart, and beautiful as ever.
At the still-young age of 87, even in these more complex and fast-moving times, she is the same vibrant, upbeat, curious, interesting, attractive person she has always been.
And still today, when anyone–close family or store clerk–talks to Mom, they know they have been talked to by someone who truly cares about them. Multiply those simple everyday interactions by 52 weeks a year and 87 years, and it adds up to a life well lived, one person at a time.
Especially in these too-busy times, we can all learn something from that example.
More Than a Birthday Card
I don’t select greeting cards lightly. Even if someone else penned the words, you can pick a card that says what you want to say. Mom is the same way. A card from her means she spent the time to find just the right one. This is from the card we will give her:
We hope your birthday is a beautiful reflection of the light and goodness you share with the world.”
For a lifetime, Mom blessed, loved, and celebrated other people. That’s just the way she is. My birthday wish for her is that she will, in turn, feel blessed, loved, and celebrated. But, she probably won’t, because she is humble, even too humble to know she is humble.
Mom’s life has been a reflection of the light and goodness Jesus shared with the world. And, much of the time, she doesn’t even realize it. Hopefully, today is not one of those times.
A Life Well Lived
In the article “The Ripple Effects of a Life Well Lived,” I described the impact one person can make on family, friends, and even generations. Mom was that person, and I told how she has always and still continues to show unconditional support, love, and kindness to the people around her.
That sounds like a life well lived to me.
My own birthday was a week ago. Mom gave me a card, and here is one thing it said:
“And with every year, I realize all the more how I love you so.”
Therefore, I know Mom loves me, because it was in her card. But it was also in her life.
And because of the kind of person she is, someone who cares more for others than for herself, one of the best birthday gifts she can receive, in her eyes, is for her to know that I know she loves me.
Happy birthday, Mom.
Question: What is one thing you can do more of that will contribute to a life well lived?
Action: Today, for at least one conversation, interact with someone in a way so they know they have been talked to by someone who truly cares about them.