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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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A WOMAN OF THE 90'S

In many ways, my mother was a typical mom.  She knew nothing, and I knew everything.  How could anyone live so long and know so little? After all, don't you know all there is to know about everything in the first 14 years of life?

My mother was beautiful.  Actually, she was gorgeous.  She was also bright, articulate, creative, and personable, but she never knew it.  She would have made a successful businesswoman, but she was ahead of her time.  Her "career" was raising children and following my dad around the world.

She and I didn't often agree on much.  We sparred my whole childhood.  To say we were "dysfunctional" is an understatement.  The one thing she could count on me to do was the exact opposite of anything she valued or thought was best for me.

  • She thought I should major in Home Economics.  I majored in communications (definitely a degree you can starve to death with).
  • She thought I should get married.  I got a master's degree.
  • She still thought I should get married.  I got a Ph.D.  (She told me if I wanted a doctorate to marry one.)
  • She told me I should spend money on a car.  I spent it climbing mountains with Outward Bound.
  • She thought I should get a job in our hometown.  I took a job in New York City.
  • She kept people at a distance.  I hug everyone.
  • She talked about having plastic surgery (but couldn't spend money on herself).  I had it.
  • She talked of trips she'd never take.  I took them.
  • She kept out of the spotlight.  I became a speaker.

How could two people be such opposites? Why was she so conservative, and why was I so rebellious? How many times I wished we could have an amicable mother/daughter relationship, but it was clearly not to be.

As my mother aged, she became frail and ill, and my visits to Florida became more frequent.  One night I walked into her kitchen.  The lights were off, but the streetlights silhouetted her face.  I could see tears trickling down her cheeks.  I asked why she was crying.  She responded, "I'm not crying because I'm going to die.  I'm crying because I never lived.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  Hadn't she tried endlessly to try to make me like her - to live like her? It was then I realized what a gift she had given me.  She prepared me to be a woman of the 90's.  She taught me to be determined, to live my dreams, to have the courage to risk.  She helped me develop self-confidence.

Could it be that we weren't dysfunctional after all? Perhaps she knew what she was doing all along.  Perhaps she was a great teacher, for only she knew how to get me to learn and do the things in my life that she didn't do in hers.

Recently I was driving home from work with my teenage son.  Engaged in casual conversation, I asked him a question.  He prefaced his response with, "If you knew anything about anything, you would know...."

I smiled to myself.  A man of the 21st Century is under development!
Diane Hodges