That I Might Have Life

I know a woman, who suffered unspeakable brutality,

in a time when women were but chattel,

at the hands of one who took an oath before God to love, protect and cherish her.

I know a woman, who suffered in silence,

Momma 3 LR

the indignities caused by a philandering husband

who chose to flaunt rather than hide his indiscretions with different women,

I know a woman who raised five children

all alone

on an income of less than $7000 a year.

I know a woman, who worked three jobs at a time,

who slept on the front porch so her boys and girls could have the two bedrooms.

I know a woman who had a heart large enough to embrace

two more motherless children

when she did not know how she was going to feed her own.

How many of your dreams died daily?

How did you endure the loneliness when it came late at night?

How many times was your hope scattered as disappointment came?

How many prayers did you offer up that seemingly went unanswered?

Where was your peace?

Where was your piece of the American Dream?

I cannot count the cost of my high school graduation party

or my prom dress.

How many shirts and pants did you have to iron?

How many tubes of lipstick did you sell?

How many bottoms did you have to wipe?

For me.

For me.

How do I begin to count the cost of your sacrifice

that I might have life?

How do I begin to say thank you?

Will words do?

For you.

For you.

Momma 2 LR

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We Need the Gift that She Is

Today while in the swimming pool, I met an 87-year-old woman.  If you can believe a woman can be beautiful at that age, believe that she was beautiful.  Snow white hair, a rosy almost wrinkle free complexion, and when she smiled, you just couldn’t help but smile with her. How her face lit up and her eyes danced with joy when she smiled.

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We talked for over an hour. Although both of us came to exercise, she to stimulate legs that refuse to walk without a walker and I to simply enjoy the rejuvenation water always seem to bring to me, we did not.  We talked; rather, she talked, I listened.

She told me about her lovely neighbor who had moved next door to her a few months back and how she cooks dinner for her one or two times a week. She told me about her deceased abusive alcoholic husband that she had married and divorced two times. She told me about the men that had sought her affections since his death and how she resisted their attentions out of fear. She told me about her only grandson that she raised since the age of two when her son and first daughter in law divorced and discarded the child. She spoke with pride of him for he is now a professor of geology in a major university. Then sadly, she told me that for all his achievements and through all the love she gave him, and all the years that has passed; he still suffers from bouts of depression resulting from being abandoned by his parents as a child.

She also told me something else.  She wants to leave this world, she said. It is not that she is tired of living; she simply does not know how to live anymore. No longer can she do the things that she did before. Her legs and her hands refuse to cooperate.

Her son lives less than a mile from her.  Oh he dutifully comes when she calls him.  But she is not comfortable in doing so.  You see his wife, her second daughter in law of thirty years, does not want to compete for her son’s attention.  She and her grandson  might be tolerated on holidays but clearly are and have been an unwanted intrusion in the life the son has carved with his wife of thirty years. Oh the pain in her eyes when she speaks on this can cause a heart to break.

She wants to leave soon she said. She said she has finally come to terms with the limitations of her life.

I watch her carefully and I am afraid for her; there is finality in her voice, determination in the lifting of her chin.

As we prepare to go our separate ways I ask her not to go away yet.  I ask her to stay awhile in this world, in my world.  I tell her of the joy her company meant to me today and what it can mean to others.

I’m not ready for her to leave this world.  I need, no, we need the gift that she is.

Proverbs 11:16

A gracious woman retaineth honour:

Proverbs 31:10
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.