Anytime we commit to “one true thing” and actually live in accordance with our commitment, there are sacrifices that must be made. My mother sacrificed plenty. But as I have reflected on her life in these last years of grieving the daily loss of my mother, bit by painful bit, I have found peace and a small measure of understanding.
This is how I think she did it – how she made this large life for herself in a very simple, orderly, routine way. She committed to it. And once committed, she had a steely courage about her, a willingness to endure hard things in deference to living by her principled “one true thing” – loving Bob.
My mother was and will forever be the sun that our nuclear family’s universe rotated around and found its gravitational pull from. I do not know what the future holds for us with her gone.
But I am and forever will be the daughter of Margaret Elizabeth Murdock Jones; the sister of Bobby, Tim and Gary Jones – for better, for worse, in sickness and in health – and there was and will continue to be plenty of all that living in the future. I too have “true things” I am committed to. If nothing else, my mother taught me how to be committed to doing hard things. This is no small gift that she has given me.
LIFE LESSON #9: What we do will impact others far more than what we say.
At her funeral, I ended my talk with the following words to my mother’s grandchildren, whom she dearly loved. “Meredith, Kaitlin, Scott, Michael, Jack, Tori, Grif and Robby….to each of you I say that you have been given a potentially great legacy. Your Mema knew how to enjoy and endure life because she was courageous. She could do hard things. She knew how to stick to a commitment and find joy in the decision. You have this in you too. Every one of you – this capacity to endure life, because life is hard and it will take courage to live it. Enjoy life, find meaning as you discover, choose and commit yourself to the living of life on life’s terms – whatever that means for you as you choose the 1 or 10 or 50 true things that you will order your life around. Your parents and I draw great comfort in knowing what amazing grandchildren you each are and how she loved you and lives on not only through us, but through each of you.”
We all leave a legacy. We are a messy people, though, and not all of our life will be neat and tidy and wonderfully presentable. But this is life on life’s terms. I happen to believe that God grants us the grace to find “true things” in the lives of others, if we have a sturdy pair of God vision goggles to peer through. I pray for you that there are people in your life capable of seeing and reminding you of your intrinsic value and worth as a human created in the very image of God. On days you forget, you doubt, you misbehave, may you be granted the gift of a community, a family who will be willing to hold the truth of your messiness AND remind you of the beauty of your God-image-bearing self as well.