Friday, May 8, 2009

The Book

I wrote this piece awhile back and wanted to post it today as a Mother's Day tribute to my wonderful 81 year old mom, Dorothy Espey Bowen.

Cora fingers trace the mysterious flaking letters that many years ago were embossed in bright, yellow gold on the small, worn Bible.

Cora mother's birth name! The name represents a part of Mother's past that seems locked away forever. Little is known of her beginnings. There are few photos of the tiny, black-haired girl, her face reflecting a lost loneliness that brings pain to my heart.

Eventually adopted by an older couple so she could "take care of them", her life was filled with drudgery...scrubbing floors on her hands and knees, carrying heavy buckets of coal for the furnace, wall papering rooms with high ceilings, caring for her invalid "step-grandmother", sleeping alone in a cold, dirty, attic.

Cora Mae...I wonder how many times her hands held this Bible as silent tears fell on it's pages.

And now I proudly hold the same Book, wrapped in a beautiful white ribbon and bow, on my wedding day. Mother is beside me for just a few moments before the organ begins the Bridal March, and her eyes are filled with love, the love I have seen all the years of my life.

Love for me, the oldest of her seven children, love for her husband, my father, the minister she stood beside so faithfully for many years, and love for God, the One she came to know through the Book I now hold in my hands.

Mother will forever be my inspiration, and my role model. Possessing little, she has given much. Having few educational opportunities, she has shared her wisdom with many. Lacking eloquence, she speaks the language of kindness and empathy.

Cora Mae...I will treasure the Book and the love of the one who gave it - always.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I slowly got out of my car and began walking toward the front entrance of Thomasville Middle School. It was about 7:30 a.m. and I felt sleepy AND a little grumpy about substitute teaching that day.

I noticed a teacher greeting the students at the front entrance as they were dropped off for school. I didn't know the teacher's name, had never met him but.....Wow! He was REALLY dressed up....a black suit, white shirt, and red tie. The thought passed through my mind that there MUST be a special assembly; I had NEVER seen a teacher at school dressed in a suit.

As I got closer I called out, "Is there something special going on? You look awfully nice in your suit." He responded with a loud, hardy, "WELL, PRAISE GOD!" I was really taken aback and I suppose looked a bit surprised. As I walked toward him, he shouted again, "WELL, PRAISE GOD!" I gave a rather weak "Amen" as he explained. "I have grumbled and complained so much that I just decided that I need to STOP complaining and START I'm PRAISING GOD today!"

As I walked in the front door my spirits were raised considerably! But I also felt a twinge of guilt.
I reflected on the fact that I, too, have grumbled, complained, worried, and murmured about anything and everything. I began to wonder what my attitude says about my faith and trust in God when I constantly question what He's doing. It surely must make His heart sad when I'm unappreciative and proud, taking for granted His blessings, complaining over every delay, hardship, or trial that come along.

So, I've decided to PRAISE GOD! When things go right or wrong to MY way of thinking I remember that He DOES have a plan, I don't KNOW the plan so I just need to TRUST and PRAISE GOD!!!! You know what? I think God REALLY likes it!!!!!