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“Mommaday”

mommaday largeThe beach always makes me feel pensive. Maybe it's the massiveness of the ocean, and the expanse of beach, littered with people from all walks of life. I dragged my chair, water, towel and book down to the beach for a small window of "mommy time".

All kids accounted for and occupied. Check.

Husband chillin' inside. Check.

Tides turn and as unexpected as last week's hurricane, emerging from the beach house came three generations... my sister, my daughter and my mother, who her grandchildren affectionately call Mommaday. Suddenly, there we sat. Three generations, in the late afternoon fading sun, and I slid my book down between the chair and my leg... recognizing a precious moment in time.

Now, I come from a long line of storytellers. My mom always says, "If a story is worth tellin', it's worth stretch'." So late afternoons on the beach in South Carolina just BEG for stories of days gone by. As I dug my toes into the sand, I listened as my mom regaled my 16 year old daughter with the "proper" ways of Southerners. As crazy as it sounds, the stories eased from southern pot luck suppers, to southern family traditions, to southern ancestry (note the emphasis on Southern).

Nobody weaves a story, stretches a story, or embellishes a story quite like my mother. And nobody loves all likes of people like she does. Growing up, it was as natural as rain for me to see my mom befriend, laugh with and bring Christmas presents to...

the man who pumped our gas

the banker who dad worked with

the dear "Eba" who watched over us

businessmen crafting plans for futures of Charlotte.

People are people and mom sees them from the inside out.

Today I watch mom talking to my daughter, and she is shifting in her beach chair. Mom hurts when she sits. Actually, she hurts most all of the time. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have claimed her once uniquely graceful ballet ability and subdued her nights of late night shag dancing with my dad.

And I see in her eyes that her inability to "do" makes her feel less than. She is more left these days with the simple ability to "be"... the rich knowledge, living history and humor that echoes in our lives. And yet she mourns. She mourns the ability to "do". Oh... and do not be misled... I miss her ability to "do". All the shopping, buying the perfect gifts, thinking of the last details, making all holidays memorable and birthdays unique.

But mom has the precious opportunity to model "being" to us now. We would all attest to the fact that she can "do" better than almost anyone I have known. And yet, the stubborn test of age says,"yes, but it is good to simply "be"."

Thank you, God, that you in the end do not call us to always "do". Rather, you call us to "be" who you have uniquely called us each to be. You call us to "be" open to your vicious love pouring through us to those around us. Jesus modeled the ability to stop and just "be".

To stop in the midst of teaching a crowd of people, in order to touch or notice a hurting soul.

To stop to pray and to be with the Father when crowds were clamoring for his attention.

To stop using His gifts in one town and move to the next because he felt the Spirit's leading, not because all were healed.

Jesus modeled for us the need to not always be "doing", but to often rejoice in just "being", with Him. Easier said than done. At least that is what my first 49 years have shown. My inertia is towards "doing". It seems that when I stop to just "be", I am confronted with all manner of truths about my heart and life. And yet, faithfully, that is where He graciously meets me, ministers to me, and changes me... to become more like Him.

As I watched mom weave her larger than life tale for my 20 year old daughter... I silently whispered to God, "thank you". Thank you that mom can imprint her rich colorful crazy ways upon my impressionable wise daughter. Thank you for generational love.

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