My mother passed away a few months ago, just weeks before her ninety-sixth year, and interestingly, on my birthday. I found the birthday thing curious at the time, but my friend Jeff told me it was a great happenstance. “Now you share a birthday with your mom,” he said, “because we all have three of them: one when we’re born into earthly life; another marking our baptism into Christ; and the final birthday when we complete the circle and return to God in heaven.”
I think of Lenora Irene May Hanson . . . my mom . . . often, of course, and miss her humor, her quirky outlook on things, her cooking (which was without rival), and her pragmatic approach to life. She was a unique character who readers of my ramblings will undoubtedly revisit in future writings. Now, however, I’d like to share a favorite story of mine. It is my mom’s “stewardship story.”
In the mid-1990’s my wife, kids and I moved from Duluth to Little Falls. We’d been in Duluth for about six years, during which my father passed away after a lengthy bout with Alzheimer’s disease. Mom lived alone in Two Harbors, and although my brothers were relatively close by and she had quite a few friends, I made a habit of calling her on Sunday afternoons to take some edge off our leaving the area. During our calls mom would report in detail the meals she’d had with her circle of friends (self-dubbed the “Golden Girls”), who won the most hands at Bridge (mom was a notorious card shark), and any other newsworthy items.
One day she ended a call by saying, “I almost forgot to tell you that I found out about a program in Two Harbors called ‘Community Partners.’ Volunteers from around the area come into the homes of senior citizens and help out with light chores and things. It’s meant to help them stay in their own homes instead of having to move into assisted living. I wanted to let you know that I signed up for it.”
Mom was well into her eighty’s at the time, and my head immediately filled with images of this tiny but independent and capable woman who would outwork most men when a project was underway, who doled out the majority of discipline in our family, and who seldom backed down from an argument, and never, NEVER asked for help. I was awed by her new-found humility and willingness to receive a hand-up so as to maintain her independence. “Mom,” I said, “I’m so proud of you. You have never been one to ask for help, and yet you’re doing a very sensible thing here.” “Yep,” she replied. I signed up last Monday and had my first client on Wednesday . . . a lady in her 70’s that’s a little overweight and man, is she old!”
See the goodness of others today. Be the goodness God created you to be!
Curt Hanson, Director of Stewardship and Development, Diocese of Saint Cloud