Friday, December 2, 2016

I See... Lighting the World with my Mother's Love

The church has been challenging the world to “light the world” by following the Savior's example for the next 24 days leading up to Christmas. Today we were asked to honor our parents as the Savior honored his. The Mormon Third Eye will honor his mother, who passed away approximately two years ago last Easter, with excerpts from her eulogy. How will you honor your parents today?

"Her life, however, was so much more than the record. She was a wonderful, caring, hardworking, humble, faithful, fun-loving, diligent, and non-judgmental daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver, and friend to countless family and friends. She opened her heart and home to everyone, and we all have been blessed by her care.   

She led a life full of hard work, endurance, humility, service, and sacrifice for all who crossed her path, but especially for her family, friends, and coworkers.  Expressions of love, dedication, and devotion to her family were not trapped in the crucible of words- we always knew she loved us by her actions; by how she sacrificed for us.

“Mom suffereth long, and is kind; Mom envieth not, Mom vaunteth not herself, is not puffed up; doth behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  beareth all things, beleiveth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Mom never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall pass away. And now abideth faith, hope, and Mom; but the greatest of these is Mom.”

Mom was Charity. How did she do it all? We honestly don’t know. She was always laboring with us and for us, often long before we woke in the mornings and long after we went to bed.  How did she toil all night taking care of other people’s babies in the maternity ward, then come home to take care of her own sick husband and her own babies? 

We all have tender and deep memories of her charity and devotion to family, all of which will certainly transform into legends as they are passed down through generations. Just as we now movingly recreate ancestors crossing the plains as handcart pioneers 150 years ago, our great-grandchildren will be sharing unbelievable stories of Mom taking care of six young children alone in a home in Concord for six weeks without a phone to talk to her husband working on the other side of the country, or working as a nurse struggling to pay the bills of six even younger children while her husband survived a heart attack to graduate from college in Logan. She always lost herself in taking care of others.  Even after Dad passed away and all her kids left town for browner pastures, she filled her home with missionaries and her “summer sons-“ a parade of homeless BYU students, usually referred by her children, who needed a place to stay while they earned money to finance their next semester. 

Mom was not a brain surgeon, a rocket scientist, a seasoned orator, an educated scriptorian, nor a master crafter. She was not a superhero that saved the world, but a supermom who, together with an honorable Dad, saved a family of seven children.  Later in life, as she witnessed her children go on missions, marry in temples, become successful doctors, analysts, executives, and most of all, mothers, she described it as “the big payoff.”  And maybe that is true. But she probably did not realize that as she became wrapped up in the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years of loaded diapers, clogged toilets, pre-teen bicycle accidents and teenage car accidents running into one continuous blur, she was actually fulfilling the scriptural invitation to bring souls unto Christ.

Perhaps Mom’s greatest gift to her children, her most lasting legacy, was her example. Growing up, there was never any question as to what was right and what was wrong. We were raised under a clear morality, which we pass on to our own children. Another great gift was the example of enduring, eternal love she had for Dad. We learned how to love and sacrifice for our spouses as we grew up watching how deeply she cared for and took care of her husband who was sick for much of his adult life. 

We honor the dead in the way that we live.  She made those around her better, regardless of their age and station in life. For Mom, love is an action, not just a feeling or an emotion of deep concern. To truly honor her, to ensure that she did not live and die in vain, God expects us to be better people because we knew her. In this vein, she would want us to resolve today to love deeper, live stronger, care longer and serve others with more heart and soul. This can be our gift to her, and perhaps the only one we can give her now that she can still enjoy where she is now; for I have no doubt that there is a way for her to observe us somehow and know that we are serving and loving others more because she once served and loved us."

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