The last few weeks have been a whirlwind that even now is still just settling down. John & Cathy’s wedding planning had been filled with challenges – both logistical and egotistical – that had threatened at many points to drive us to exasperation. The path had been anything but smooth, and there was certainly more than one neck I had felt the urge to throttle. But time and again, I swallowed my anger and chose to respond with a smile, meeting bad attitude with courteousness. Our objective was clear – help John & Cathy put together as wonderful a wedding day as possible, and to put our hearts into it. Doesn’t matter if we have crosses that come our way… we try to embrace them anyway. It all paid off in the end.
In challenging and difficult times, people show their mettle. As it was with my wedding last year, my mother was the ultimate heroine behind the wedding scene. I won’t enumerate the things she did here for it is pointless to do so. Those who know my mother would be able to understand. Throughout the wedding preparations, in every single possible thing, my mother was there with her generous spirit and heart of service. Whenever there was potential conflict, my mother would willingly take the lower place. As long as it did not compromise her principles, she always chose to ‘break her body’ for others and exhorted us to do the same.
She cannot understand someone who asked her why she was toiling so hard for her son’s wedding. For in my mother’s book, a wedding in the family is a family affair. That means that everyone pours out our hearts in celebration and service together because we love each other. That’s my mom. Seeing her example, how could I not also be inspired to volunteer as much as I can so that John & Cathy would have an easier time?
The other day, my mom thanked me for helping John & Cathy. I think it was the most selfless behaviour on my part that she has seen in a long time. Still, I felt rather abashed, because SHE who did infinitely more than I did, was thanking ME. As we looked at each other over my dining table, with eyes shining with love for each other, I felt my heart swell with gratitude.
My mom is the ultimate servant and teacher. Her hands never stop serving and I truly believe that for as long as she has breath in her body, she will still serve everyone around her. She teaches everyone around her through example. “Love until it hurts,” her favourite quote from Mother Teresa, is her life motto. “Take the lower place”… “break your body for others”… “compete to be of service to others, not to be served by them”… those are phrases she frequently says and which she faithfully lives by.
That is my mom, a mother who can understand her children’s resentment at times and our struggle to be independent and free… and who chooses to let us go free and welcome us back with open arms when we run back. She does not give righteous sermons about filial piety or duty to family to guilt us, but in her own life she models everything we need to learn.
Over the past few weeks, different people have expressed surprise and envy at the close and friendly relationship John and I have with our mom. I feel like telling them that with a mother like her, it would be impossible for the children not to be this close to her! Even so, we always take her for granted.
My mom was the first precious gift that God gave me in this world. And what a gift it has been! I did nothing to deserve such an amazing guardian that embodies so much of what God wants me to learn. Please Lord, help me to treat my mom better, to be as much of a blessing to her as she has been to me!