First of all, thank you for the many texts, emails, meals, offer for meals, cards, flowers, calls and thoughtful expressions of sympathy. As of yet, I’ve responded to only a handful, but please know that I’ll get there and that every one has been deeply appreciated.
At the funeral for my mom on Monday many wonderful things were shared. My brother and niece pointed out how very good she was at relationships, making each person feel special. My sister shared about what an intent listener my mom always was. Everyone talked about how fun and funny she was, how her faith, despite all her heartache, was rock solid.
But it was my nephew, Dane, who somewhat inadvertently summarized my mom in three little words. I don’t think he even knows how Spirit-inspired his words were. I doubt he knows the little story I’m about to tell you.
My mom, Judy, was three years younger than her sister, Janet. When they were little, like many young children, being first was a privilege. Coming in from playing outside, it was a race to use the bathroom. “First!” Janet would yell out. Washing hands for dinner? Again, Janet claimed first. She claimed being first so often that my darling little mom started automatically yelling out “Second!!” even when no one was there to be first. My grandparents delighted over their contented, adorable Judy, joyfully resigned to be second. They loved telling this story even when little Judy was in her sixties.
But back to Dane. He talked about how in high school his friends would be hanging out after baseball practice, but Dane chose instead to be with “the girl” he liked — his Gramma. He loved her company that much. At one point Dane held up his arm and explained, “I wear this little bracelet and I’ve been wearing it for a while, and it says, ‘I am second.’ It’s a reminder to put God above myself and family above myself.”
Choking back tears, Dane said, “My Gramma didn’t need to wear this, because she lived it. She always put herself second.”
Matthew 22:36-40 says this:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Praying today that I’ll have even a hint of that sweet contented, other-centeredness of my wonderful mama. No matter the circumstances, may my spirit joyfully cry out: “Second!!”
Love to you,
P.S. The “I am second” testimonies are amazing. You should click here and check them out. I used the Josh Hamilton one here on my blog many years ago and I still am moved to just think about it. Plus, you could easily order a bracelet like Dane’s.