Monday, January 26, 2015
Live now and live it in the joy of the LORD
Decades ago, after my baby sister married, my parents began visiting the Smoky Mountains every autumn. It became a special tradition for them. One year my mother expressed to me that, "the next time we go", she wanted to stop at a roadside quilt sale, and that is just what she did. She purchased a lovely "Wedding Ring" quilt in muted pinks, greens, and cream colors, with the woman's name embroidered on the back. She loved that quilt.
It wasn't until I helped my father clean out the house after she died that I found her lovely quilt carefully folded by her bed, never used. She loved it but "from afar".
That next Christmas my grieving father visited every one of his children's homes that week, making a big circle in the mid-west. As he drove up to our home, I ran outside to hug him and welcome him. In his arms was my mother's lovely quilt and the rack she kept it on. He gave this thing which was precious to my mother for me to enjoy.
What an honor for him to give me this beautiful hand-made quilt! I dutifully folded it and displayed it in our living room. How could I use it? My mother loved this quilt and she never used it. So this treasure was there for almost a year reminding me of my precious mom and how my father had given it to me.
I love how the LORD works in our lives. Quietly, inside of me, I was remembering my mom and things she often spoke about. She shared this one when I was to be a newlywed. She spoke of when she was first married, and eventually had two little boys, and they moved far from home to a location where my father's new job was, and then I was born soon after.
The housing in this "Air Force" town was slim, so at first they ended up living in tiny military quarters off base---although my father was a civilian working for the Air Force. All the other "Air Force" wives were her friends with just as many little ones to raise, and everyone was busy.
The main difference in these other wives and my mother was that my mother would be staying in the area - for this would be my father's career - the other women were Air Force wives and would eventually be transferred, often to other bases perhaps all over the world.
My mother would describe the housing which had been torn down long before I was grown. Every living unit had a little place for a garden by the front door; one of the first things my mother did was plant flower seeds in this spot. Other women would come and go as their husbands were transferred, but no one would plant their gardens because they may only be there for a short time.
The other women would openly love my mother's little garden, but lament to her that they could never plant a garden, not knowing how long they would be at each base.
Soon enough my sweet mother began to encourage the other wives to plant seeds no matter if they would ever see it to fruition. If they never saw the results, the next woman who moved in would enjoy and appreciate them. If other wives would begin to plant seeds perhaps they would end up at a vacant home whose former tenant chose to plant seeds even though she may never see the flowers.
What a beautiful "picture" I still have of the "seeds" my mother "sowed" into the friends she made at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base housing in the '50s. She never told me if anyone listened to her encouragements, but she shared with my sister and I the encouragements of enjoying your life in the "moment". Plant your flower or vegetable seeds in season even if you may not be there at the end. Enjoy your life now; do not wait for the "someday" where you have "this or that" to be what makes you happy. Live now!
I now say, live now in the joy of the LORD!
For almost a year my mother's quilt sat prettily displayed in our living room. I feel it was the LORD reminding me of my mother's encouragement to live now. I went over and took the quilt to our bed and began to enjoy her precious quilt.
Almost 20 years later I still use it, trading off to another quilt for a change. Last night I began fixing the spots which have been worn on my mother's quilt. It has been used, it has been loved, and you can see the wear---but I have lived and loved in the "now" in the joy of the LORD, and I wouldn't change this for anything.