One year. 365 days. So many memories. So many curiosities. One year ago today my mom, Bonnie VerWay, finished her race having kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).
The year without her has provided brief moments of thought and long periods of deep reflection. A song, a signpost, a cartoon, or a current event often brings her to mind, providing a nearly always happy moment. Yard work, shoveling snow, long drives, hours awake in the darkness, or alone on a boat allow for solitude to consider the fullness of her life and the expanse of God’s grace. I will need many more years to grasp his grace to her and, by extension, to me.
My own life seems so much shorter now. In a little more than seventeen years, I will be as old as she was when she left this earth and entered into the presence of her savior and mine. How long before my heart fails like hers did? How long before my eyes dim and my voice weakens? I am much more aware of my own mortality now that both my dad and mom have put on immortality (1 Corinthians) leaving me the oldest in the family.
As a child, some mocked me as a “momma’s boy.” They were right, of course, but they didn’t know why. They knew nothing of her unplanned pregnancy, nothing of her teenage motherhood, nothing of her impoverished and abusive shotgun marriage. They just saw her fight for a young boy to give me every opportunity both eternal and temporal.
She was over protective. Many adventures my friends with older parents were allowed to pursue I could not. She meant well but didn’t understand her acts only contributed to my reputation. I was rarely in trouble with other young boys or teenage guys because I was rarely out of her sight.
When Brenda and I married before she was forty-years-old, she cried so much every time we left Chicago to return to our ministry home. I understand her tears now that Brenda and I say goodbye after only a few days with our all grown up kids.
There is much to tell of God’s grace in her life - from unwed, expectant mother to faithful wife to mature Christian woman to lonely widow. Moment by moment, day by day, pain after pain, God’s grace carried her, provided for her, protected her, filled her with joy, strengthened her for labor and sustained her faith until the end.
Still, her most intimate moments revealed a penchant to fear what lay ahead. She hid her fright behind a hard shell and a wide smile. Later, she would lament her lack of confidence in God’s care for her citing a psalm or a text from one of the prophets where God’s provision was on display. I miss the hand written letters exhibiting the careful and beautiful strokes of a seasoned teacher. Inside the envelope was a specific reference to one of God’s limitless characteristics she found so comforting on a given day. Grace.
So, the year has passed as it has for all who have escorted someone loved beyond description to heaven’s gate. We look around and wonder how long until he opens paradise to us. How long, Lord? How long?
Until then we wait expectantly, serve joyfully, live faithfully resting peacefully in God’s grace.
As always, I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.
Note: I wrote this LM on Monday, January 23, the anniversary of my mom's death.