A word from Curt
Respect. What a fine word.
Today is Mother’s Day. This is my favorite story about a mother’s love.
I share it with humility and respect.
This story is from my short story collection, Deep Roots.
A Thirty-Year-Old Picture
As the older woman wrote her check, she laid down her billfold. Then I saw the picture—a graduation photo carefully placed in the front of her photo section.
I saw the handsome smiling face and blonde hair, and knew exactly who it was. “That’s your son Mark.”
She stopped filling out the check and smiled. “I’m always so happy when someone remembers him.”
“I remember Mark well,” I said. “I loved watching him on the basketball court. His Elizabeth High team was a hard-working and cohesive one, and I’ll always remember the part Mark played on it.”
She and I visited and she shared stories and memories of her long dead son. As she shared, I mentally computed that it had been at least thirty years since Mark’s death in a car accident while coming home from college.
And thirty years later, his mother still placed his photo right where it should be—in the front of her billfold. Once again, I was humbled and amazed as I intimately observed that divine love called a mother’s love.
She handed me her check and I placed an autographed book in her hand. As she walked away, I knew we had exchanged more than two paper objects—we had exchanged hearts.
I had let her know Mark was not forgotten, and still remembered in my heart. In return she had given me a look into her heart—a mother’s heart. A heart still full of sweet grief, yet also full of sweet love.
It’s approaching Mother’s Day soon and I’ve thought of Mark’s picture everyday. When I see it in my heart, I also see his mother’s face as she shared. There was a light and love that only a mother can project.
During these days leading up to Mother’s Day, I’ve thought of another mother. Another mother who understood all about love, grief, and loss.
Her name was Mary, and as the years pass my admiration, respect, and love grows for the woman chosen by God to raise His own Son.
That’s a tall order. Raising the Savior of the world.
It is a high calling.
One that I don’t think God took lightly when He chose her and Joseph.
I know it’s a responsibility Mary took seriously.
In these thoughts of the mother of Jesus, I always see her at the foot of the cross. Others may have run, but mothers never run. They are always there for you. I know firsthand—I have a mother just like that..
I can only imagine the pain as Mary watched her amazing Son suffer. How much did she understand about his calling and mission? I’m not sure, but no amount of insight could prepare you for watching your son die.
I’m further amazed when I hear the words of her son as he nods toward his best friend.
“Son, that’s your mother.”
Then he reassures her. “Mother, that’s your son.”
Jesus knows his friend John will faithfully care for his mother.
We all know Mary is a personal observer of her son’s resurrection a few days later, but don’t think her grief in watching her son suffer and die was lessened.
Nor should the fact that he didn’t die again, but ascended directly into heaven, make us underestimate her pain. Mary still missed him. Her son was gone, and she couldn’t touch him or talk with him.
The Biblical record is silent on how long Mary lived after Jesus left this earth.
But I wonder if it might have been thirty years.
Or even more. Maybe, like Mark’s mother, she lived more years after he was gone than he had been alive. It happens.
And I wonder how Mary missed him. She didn’t carry a photograph in her billfold, but I know she carried one in her heart.
The love of a mother. It transcends the years. It lives on in spite of death and loss.
I firmly believe it is probably the closest thing on this earth to the divine love of God.
A mother’s love. A love of the heart.
This unpublished story was written in 2008. It’s part our short story collection called “Deep Roots.”
When Mrs. Margaret Osborne (Mark’s mother) received a copy of this story, she wrote me a letter that I will cherish until my dying day.
This is why I write.
This is why I do what I do.