In Honor of my “Mother Dear” (1927-2013)
Today, I feel an obligation to offer a gift of encouragement and strength for a person or persons who, like me, are alone on this Thanksgiving Day. I’d like to do so from a religious position, in honor of my mother whose religious life demonstrated, among other things, how to be alone, but certainly not lonely.
NECESSARY INSERT> In a dumbfounding oration, that was called a sermon today (hat tip to “K”) a pulpit orator felt some silly need to promulgate about the gospel –but the orator should be embarrassed to not know that “religion” and “gospel” are not the same thing. Albeit, religion in the context of what this post only intends to refer to, is the practice of a person’s faith and beliefs (some people’s are sacred, as in godly values, but some people religiously mow their lawns). (From what I was informed, the pitiful orator seemed to take offense about me honoring my mother.)
Personally, I’ve never experienced meaningful encouragement that did not include something religious even when it was off the mark. I think you’ll like something from this article. Also, for people who are turned off by religion, please note that religion is not so much the problem, as is the source of people’s religious information and influence. In other words, often a little more diligence would/could prevent pitfalls. Also, motives for religion often have a lot to do with our effort for obtainment.
And what if this is an article from a Christian who thoroughly understands bona fide contentions about false teachers (inclusive of that misguided pulpit orator’s confusing religion and gospel) even if those contentions are raised by atheists? (I don’t mean religion bashers who are not even clear on what religion is.) The atheists I’m referring to are ones who admire people like the current Pope, and have a willingness for intelligent dialogue about Christianity. Note: for other people who feel some need to email me with ¡”why is the grass green” questions, or any religion debate questions, don’t waste either of our times. I know which Atheists, whose viewpoints I would discuss, when opportunity (inclusive of time and finance) arise.
Within a context of keeping it real, I’m sharing my little space of the world, as my holiday is spent not in presence of family and friends today.
I deeply miss my mother -my sister, my friend. Years ago as I pondered why I love her so much, I realized that it was because she taught me (she taught all her children) ¨by her demonstration, her conversation, and Bible verses training¨ what is real religion. She not only was instrumental in teaching me how true religion is ‘A Bridge Over Troubled Waters’, as I grew and continued being taught (I’ll always need to keep learning), I now know the evidence of Psalm 18:29, because of true religion.
My mother’s example, in the way that she lived, caused us to distinguish between religion’s use for purposes of social prominence and wealth, in (stark) contrast to being a blessing to others. Unlike today’s kind of religion, my mother did not use religion as a tool to curry advancement for her children through society, while calling connivance, “favor.”
Also, because my mother was a Christian servant and a soldier, I cannot help lamenting about efforts like hers and atrocious replicas of what is being called Christianity, and lack of edifying people (other than people in their circles) to be whole, strong ¨churchianity” that repels, instead of draws people to church.
Usually I travel to New Orleans to be with my mother and siblings. The remainder of my brothers and sisters who don’t make the journey communicate with us via telephone, throughout the day. We have such a good time, it is almost as if they are also with us.
There is something that can be said when family, or even friends are joined by means of the heart. It is not always necessary, nor expedient to be together in person. Therefore, for people who missed their trains, buses, flights -or decided to avoid the hassle of travel, don’t be disconcerted.
My two adult children and their families have celebrations in their homes. Of course, they travel when possible at some point in the day, to where we are with their grandmother, aunts, and uncles. And if not, it’s not a mortal sin if everyone can’t make it! We enjoy each other, take and share pictures, make noise, act silly, crowd the kitchen, eat too much, we get tired of ourselves ¨until the next time to do the same thing again. For the hosts, it is A LOT of work.
But, this is the first Thanksgiving we will have without our “Mother Dear.” She died not too long ago; and none of us even felt like talking about “the holidays.” Instead, because our love for each other is in tact, holiday celebrations will be limited to separate households (until we have reunions or something).
None of what I said is meant to imply religion has made me a person without faults, sin, and or depravity (the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked -Jeremiah 17:9). I am saying that what is good and right is more appealing to me because of religion. And, I dislike when situations take me off that path that I have come to admire, and benefit immeasurably; paths I really rather not be on (like this situation of unavoidable legal battle I’m in). Therefore, I cherish the people, and moreover God’s enablement that causes me to grow in the path of my interests and vocation.
Prior to my becoming displaced to this city due to Hurricane Katrina, when mother lived in a New Orleans housing project until we moved her in the early 1990’s ¨–and up till her death, my ”Mother Dear” lived what George Beverly Shea sang: I’d Rather Have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than have riches untold” (Other than Mr. Shea, my favorite artists to sing that song, is “The Crabb Family”). In my opinion, the best legacy that a parent can give her or his offspring, is the ability to know and to believe in God. That is what my mother did for me –only it took forty years of my life to get her point; and I have not mastered it. (Thank God, for excellent lifetime religion instructors!)
Now this Thanksgiving, it was my preference to remain where I am. I couldn’t bear traveling to New Orleans, or anywhere to celebrate the holiday without “Mother Dear”. I feel certain next year I’ll accept invitations, holiday or not. Besides, staying where I can reflect on memories ¨–not merely of her, but what she taught me, is more triumphantly fitting. Oh how I regret, I did not grant her wish, as she told me she looked forward to reading, “More Than A Conqueror,¡± the book I told her I was writing. What neither she nor I realized, was that, her life probably should have been the subject. But time will tell, as far as the book is concerned, since many changes in my life events make my memoir very different from what I planned.
Regarding holiday invitations and parties, people who know me, genuinely like me –probably because (like Pope Francis –in moderation) I like to have fun (why go if I am not going to put forth effort to enjoy myself?); and I am not at all inhibited about what people might think about my enjoying being me. For that reason, I thoroughly disfavor being in the presence of snobbish people (murderers, virtually) who are too full of themselves to participate in revelry. Yet, they gawk and whisper ¨–like any busy Pharisee or stupid Jezebel teams, while taking notes about people, so that in the privacy of their gossip tables they can run people down. As for me, I don’t care what holiday it is, I wouldn’t be caught dead amidst church-going folk who talk about, rather than talk to people.
Is there any wonder why people are alone, homeless, addicted, violent, emotionally and mentally distressed, and so on? It baffles me how the people who have run people off from church don’t recognize that their private conversations are manifest in their public demeanor.
For my sweet mother, it is inconceivable that she would be in the same environment where people are enjoying backbiting and swapping ugly information and gossip about people (murder by mouth) – even if she didn’t know the people being talked about! “Mother Dear” would interrupt salacious talk, and risk getting her feelings hurt because she deliberately interrupted “evil reports” to say something like: Well, did you pray for that person?
Everybody knew “Mother Dear” for standing by Kraus’s Department Store, and other places on Canal Street (in New Orleans), passing out tracks and telling people about Jesus ¨–even in December. Back in those days, I’d be so embarrassed, but now, for more than a decade, I’ve done something similar. (And Mother Dear refused wearing pants to keep warm -until after Hurricane Katrina.)
Nowadays, the Social Club church people congratulate themselves for serving God with the size of offerings they put in the plate (some of it from unjust contracts, injuring people, taking bribes, etc.), and by idolizing of preachers’ ‘feather-their-nests’ families. In turn, for some offerings, their rewards are church positions or business ties -quid pro quo. Such is why back-biting, throwing bricks and hiding hands work well in churches.
Evangelizing is practically a foreign word (or the so-called evangelism preacher gets a salary!), and the preachers’ kids work the family church-business; thus they don’t have time for evangelizing. Nor obviously have they been taught to do anything other than what gratifies them. (By the way, types of people who invite people to their feasts who invite them back (Luke 14:12), remain limited while thinking the problem lies with anybody unlike them. Who can have a good time around gawkers and snobs? Certainly not poor people. According to Pharisees, poor people don’t have income enough to be happy!. . . Incidentally thank you, Pope Francis for calling attention to how churches prioritize dogma instead of love!!! http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/pope-bluntly-faults-churchs-focus-on-gays-and-abortion.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
If I didn’t make it clear at the beginning of this article, I’d like to make it plain now. I’m not writing this post because I feel sorry for myself. I’m writing because I have thankfulness in my heart, and it is irrelevant I’m not among loved ones. Most importantly, my happiness and identity have absolutely nothing to do with what I have, who I know, having a husband (yes, I even have one of those who resides in New Orleans), who I’m acquainted with, or what I possess. (I can state what is intolerable to me is oppression, something I’m not created to enjoy. Further, it is hard to swallow how religion is being used to enrich certain people while destroying so many people’s lives! The statistics of people turning away from organized religion ¨–and their horror stories are heart breaking!)
Turning my attention away from my personal battlefield (see the posts below if you want to see my troubles), I owe it to the ONE who bestows to me peace amidst extremely painful and arduous adversities, to make HIM known. >And this is life eternal, that they may know Thee ¨–John 17:3< I owe it to God, to attest to the fact that the problem with religion does not lie with God.
As I was saying my prayers on Tuesday, after accomplishing -with only God’s help, a major feat, through the strength and intellect (Daniel 5:12; Isaiah 11:3) God gave to me, my Thanksgiving celebration actually began then. Yet, every day is a day for thanksgiving, if I simply consider the many rivers I’ve crossed.
*THANKS proof readers! I always count on you to email me any typos, errors, . . . *_*