There are times it is hard to separate the mundane from the profound when caught up in the busy-ness of life. Today was not like that. My mother passed away today. She lived to be 88 years old and stayed sharp all the way to the very end. I was to see her grasp google street level view in the past few weeks. She would tell us about googling her way down the street she grew up on when she was only eight. She talked about taking a motorcycle ride through some old ghost towns we used to see in Colorado. She marvelled at the size of the blue spruce tree out n front of our old house in Colorado Springs. For someone who was totally non-techie, she was starting to get the hang of this stuff.
She was a timid bulldog of a woman. Timid in the sense that life easily had a way of intimidating her. A bulldog because when she knew what she wanted, it was not possible to turn her from it. Kind of an odd, quirky combination, but that was my mother.
I remember a day when we were driving on North Circle in Colorado Springs. A man in this smallish car passed us during a thunderstorm. He managed to drench our old International pickup truck when he splashed passed us through some standing water to the point we had to stop in order to allow the wipers the chance to clear the windshield. It took a couple of swipes to make this happen. It was only a couple of blocks later that we caught up with this same driver. We were passing him when we came across another patch of standing water. I must say, that old International pickup can kick up quite the load of water at times - this was one of them. I could see clearly a solid three to four inches of water pouring over this guy's car. He had to stop. All of us kids were shouting our thorough approval, but mom was deeply embarrassed. She contended all the way to the last time we talked about this - last Summer - that it was an accident, and she did not mean to drown that guy. I believe her, but it was one of those mom-moments you never forget.
There was another time we were driving into town when we lived in Crescent City. It was a rainy day, and there was an old car driven by an old man puttering along slowly in front of us through the two lane highway that runs through the Redwoods. There were a couple of places for such folks to pull off, but they, apparently, were not made to his liking. Nope, he just continued to putter along in front of us - by this, I mean 20 MPH. Well, we were running late, and this guy was making us later. When we finally reached the flat on the other side of the Redwoods, mom took off. She zipped around him, and flew down the highway trying to catch up with time. Unfortunately, the Highway Patrol has no regard for catching up with time because of an old guy in an old car driving at the speed of a glacier. The little red light glowed brightly in the rear view mirror. Mom pulled over and began pleading her case when the officer came to the window - all to no avail. As he was writing out the ticket, guess who drove by? Yup, old guy in an old car driving at the speed of a snail on tranquilizers. It was another mom-moment.
I have been struggling as we are processing mom's homegoing. There are surges of grief followed by times of sadness. I know she is OK. I know she is running free with no walker and no struggles with cantankerous joints. I know she is re-united with Dad and stunned at the presence of the Jesus she met as a young girl. I know she is singing with angels and dancing on streets of gold, but I am missing her greatly. A chaplain assistant I deployed with to Kuwait had a poignant question for me after a worship service in which we were praying for some family members who were struggling with life-ending diseases. "I don't understand you pastors. You talk about the wonders of heaven, but you pray to keep people out of it." Well, this day, I am rejoicing even in the midst of the tears. It was a homegoing - perhaps, actually, a homecoming. It is just our perspective is backward to that which is the really real...
Going to miss you, Mom. Hug Dad for me, and I look forward to the day we see you again.