Tribute to Mother
Written by Rev. Ronald B. Watts

Friday, June 23rd was to be Mother's 88th birthday! None of us could have guessed it would be the same day as her funeral.

I can't believe how the years have flown by. To me she is frozen in time in my mind as that 40-year-old woman who mothered me as a child and youth. When I look at her I still see that woman smiling at me from those 88-year-old eyes.

Mother has always been an entertainer. In fact, I suspect if our preacher dad had not come along and later their four children, that Mom could have very well been entertaining me from the TV rather than my living room.

She used to travel as a young woman with her sisters from churches to camp meetings singing Gospel songs and playing their instruments. Momma sang bass in the quartet and played the guitar. Even though she had a beautiful soprano voice and played the piano by ear. In the quartet they needed a bass and a guitarist and she was the youngest.

She was a humorist, a storyteller, a mimic, a musician and a singer. I remember how she could make people laugh with the humor of her comments and her stories. I remember her impersonations of George Beverly Shea (Billy Graham's powerful soloist) and Mahalia Jackson (legendary Gospel singer). I remember how she could hold a congregation in the palm of her hand as she told a story or recited a poem or sang a song.

When mother sang a song she didn't just sing the song, she gave running commentary. She would pause where most people took a breath to interject a comment pertinent to the message of the song about life or the goodness of God or the power of faith, without interrupting the timing of the song or its natural flow.

I remember Mom sitting in the living room after working all day long cleaning house, making meals, doing laundry, and when the night came and dinner was over and the kids had all run on to other things, she would often go to the old upright piano and play and sing her faith.

I remember how she would lose herself in that music, throwing back her head as she played and sang with eyes closed swaying to the power of the song echoing from somewhere deep within her soul. And I would often slip into the room in silence and lay there on the floor and listen to the faith pouring out of this hard working woman, always sacrificing for her children and husband and I felt like I was sitting on Holy Ground.

I know that Mom could have been so much more than she was. Born in an era and a family culture that said her place was in the home as a mother and wife only, she learned at an early age to sacrifice. She surely sacrificed young girl dreams, though she never let on to us if she did. She surely sacrificed nice clothes and nice comfortable things so her children would have what they needed yet she never complained.

Mother has never had much in this world, ever. But she told me recently that the greatest joy she has had is to see her children grow up to love the Lord Jesus and Christ's Church and to be the best they can be.

One of the greatest joys in my life is to have had a mother who loved me for Christ and his church and whose life is a living witness of her faith. I wish I were a son who could give her the world and all the things she never had. But all I can give her is my deep love and undying gratitude and a life that reflects the touch of her hand and the power of her faith.

"I love you Mother! All that you gave up was not lost. It is locked up in the lives of the four kids you shepherded to adulthood. You did good Mom!"

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