When I was a child, my mom would take me and my brother to youth baseball and football practices at the nearby elementary school.
She took care of us, joyfully, because we were her young children, but it was also laborious, because it required doing something else after a long day of work. I’m sure she would rather have rested, or done something different, but she knew we enjoyed it, and she liked things that we liked.
My dad would have been more than happy to do it (he played numerous hours of baseball and football with us at our grandfather’s farm), but he worked late back then, so my mom took us to the required practices.
Sometimes she would sit in the car and wait for us to finish, and other times she would come to the field and watch us practice.
That was a long time ago. I’m 45 now and my brother is 47.
My mom will be 82 this year. Now it’s our season to serve her.
She has dealt with breast cancer twice, and several other cancers, as well as multiple physical issues that have hampered her mobility.
Now, instead of her driving us to baseball practice, we are driving her to all of her doctor appointments. Instead of her shopping for groceries for us, we now shop for her. Instead of us living in her house, she now lives with me and my wife in our house.
And even though her mobility has been slowed, her spirit is active. It’s vibrant, cheerful, upbeat, and positive. She’s always asking how we’re doing, despite everything she’s going through, and she’s always displaying care for us, despite so much going on with her.
It’s amazing, really. How can someone with so many physical issues not be self-absorbed? How can someone who is struggling with cancer think about encouraging us to “Have a good day!” every morning as we go to work? How can someone who should be so concerned with her issues take the time to call my brother and ask how he is doing?
My mom’s actions reminded me of what the apostle John wrote in I John 3:18, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth”; and what James, the brother of Jesus, wrote in James 2:17, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”; and James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
I still find it amazing that my mom can be like this, not only because of where she is physically right now in her life, but also because we live in such a self-centered society, a self-centeredness that runs so deep that it has crossed over into the once-innocent world of sports. Professional sports joined this self-absorption long ago, but college followed suit shortly thereafter, and now it has enveloped high school and youth sports.
Although innocence has left the playing field and long ago seemingly left the majority of our society, it didn’t grab everyone, at least not an 81-year-old lady who loves her children and is more concerned about them than she is herself. That is the one thing that hasn’t changed about my mom.
That is what I long to emulate, because she emulates Christ.
That is why it’s so easy to love and serve my mom, because her love and servant’s heart is a picture of God’s love.
That is why it’s easy to celebrate all the things she’s done and continues to do, because she lived out the Scriptures in this regard.
If you’re wondering why this column is being written well after Mother’s Day, it’s because I’ve long believed that we don’t need a holiday to dictate celebrations of people we love. We should celebrate them all the time.
And this was as good of a time as any to let you know about a wonderful person who has given so much, and despite difficulties continues to give even more.
By Brett Honeycutt
This column was published in Sports Spectrum’s Summer 2015 print issue.