Tonight I am in Cambridge, Ontario, staying at a hotel, sharing a small suite with my dear sister Brenda. In characteristic unselfish form, she is taking the foldout couch and leaving the bed for me. She doesn't want to waken me when she wakes up early for her Sacred Hour. I will be having my own sacred hour before I sleep tonight. (God and I have this deal, you see. I don't talk to him before my first coffee of the day, and he doesn't talk to me! :) Don't worry. He knows I'm not a morning person and I think he's pretty okay with that!)
Our brother Dave, and his wife Heather, are in a room two floors above us. It is our dad's birthday today - it would have been his 85th (on March 6th). We decided to celebrate together, and I'm really glad we did. We went out to The Keg for dinner, and afterwards, while Heather went shopping, the three of us siblings came back to our hotel room just to hang out.
A short time before my dad passed away, he had a special talk with Dave. I'm not sure what transpired in those private moments, but I know my brother is a different man. Not only did he drive all the way to Cambridge from Windsor to meet with us weekend, but he spent the entire evening talking and sharing with us. Deep sharing, not just small talk. I think I heard more words come out of Dave's mouth, and feelings from his heart this evening than in the last 20 years all put together. A father's blessing is a powerful thing and the evidence is all over our dear brother. I'm so incredibly grateful that Dad did that! And yes, it's better late than never.
We talked about a lot of different things tonight, including, of course, memories of our parents. At one point, after a few funny and light-hearted reminisinces, I asked a question that turned the conversation to a more thoughtful and serious tone.
"What is the legacy that Mom left you?" The room went quiet for a few moments as the question was carefully pondered.
We all agreed, even my burly brother, that if you knew Mom, you knew you were loved. She had friends from all classes of society, and her love was fiercely loyal, faithful to the end. We all three knew she believed in us, that her love was unconditional, that she would always be there for us - no matter what. She may not have been a perfect mother, but she was perfect in that regard.
My thoughts, of course, turn to England, and Belinda's dear Mum. Belinda and Brenda will have arrived there and settled in by now, having left Toronto together Thursday evening. Belinda's son Peter will join them on Sunday if his passport gets there on time! :)
Belinda's Mum and my Mom, had a lot in common, especially as far as that love thing goes. The first time I met Mum, I was getting into my car to leave Belinda's house, after having had tea together. She and Belinda stood on the front porch waving goodbye to me. I saw my friend turn slightly toward her mum. I didn't hear her question, but I heard her mother's response in her lovely Dutch accent. "She's very special..." She was talking about ME! Belinda's mum had no idea that the wind would catch what she said and deliver it straight to my heart, but I heard every word, and I am so glad I did.
I thought, as I drove away that day, how many things are said about people when they think others can't hear. She could have said a thousand different things like, "I didn't think she was ever going to leave..." or "she talks too much". But there was none of that. No wonder Belinda had been so eager for me to meet her mum. What I was left with, and which has stuck in my heart these many years since are the powerful words, "she's very special".
And so I think of Mum tonight. I pray that with the same measure her love has been poured out over the years, God would give back in multiplied measure.
Oh, God, bless dear Mum, and every moment she has with her children and grandchildren. Let the love she has poured out over the years come back to her in full measure! Let her know it's healing and restorative power, even as she has ministered it to others out of the great and loving, forgiving, accepting heart you put into her. Father, bless Belinda too as she is there. Help her to rest and to know that You have everything under perfect control. Take care of her, Lord, and her little family, too. In Jesus Name... Amen!