Monday, January 6, 2014

Banana Pudding

For some people, it was just another morning. But for one family, it was a life-changing morning. I had only been at the office for a few minutes that Thursday, when one of our elders called me to tell me his mother had unexpectedly passed away. I had undergone a similar experience with my father on a Sunday morning just a little over a year earlier, and like my good friend and brother, Larry, I was also trying to get to my remaining parent as quickly as possible. In both cases our parents lived a couple hours away by car, and no other family members were close by.

As the morning continued, we met and drove together to his parents' home. In some ways it seemed like minutes, and in other ways hours. Family members and friends were being notified. Loved ones immediately began to travel and make appropriate arrangements. The emotions one goes through during this time are unexplainable. Unless you have lost a parent or close family member in this manner, it is hard to understand the experience. But you just do what has to be done. You switch your setting to auto-pilot and deal with the grief later when you have time. There are so many things to take in and you just have to help your family. The need to assist your grieving parent is your number one priority.

While we rode along in the car I remained somewhat quiet. I did not want to say anything that might add to the weight of the burden that my friend had so quickly been forced to bear. There were many things discussed and for some periods there was just silence. The blessing of a Christian life that had been lived and the certainty of heaven was an overwhelming comfort in this process. But one thing in particular that Larry said as we traveled has been in my mind ever since. I have thought about it every day since December 19. The holidays were upon us. Christmas was now less than a week away. And Larry mentioned, "She was going to make me some banana pudding."

The amazing power found only in love cannot have its full impact unless adequately expressed. I thought immediately to myself how blessed my friend had been to have had a mother who loved him so much! A mother who expressed her love through service and devotion to her family. A mother, who in her sixties still made banana pudding for a son who was in his forties. When we lose someone so close to us, the separation can be truly overwhelming. Their presence in our lives is so important to our comfort and happiness and security. I am finding that it is not the huge expressions or sacrifices that make the greatest impact in our relationships, but rather, the seemingly smaller expressions that make up the actual majority of the lives we share together.

It is waking up knowing that your wife has already made the coffee. It is understanding that your husband already made sure to insulate the outside pipes before the bitter cold arrived. It is looking on the ironing board and seeing that she has pressed your dress-shirt for you. It is walking to the counter to pick up the stack of mail that he brought back from the mailbox. It is banana pudding made just for you by mom at Christmas time.

Look within your heart and ask your yourself how much you appreciate the little things people do for you because they love you. These are not underrated. In fact, they may just be the sweetest and dearest things in life.

"I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you..." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:15

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