“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise son shall have joy in him. Thy father and mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.” Proverbs 23:22,24,25 Behold what a glorious time of the year it is! Who could believe that the calender is actually
right? This is the beginning of November and it is still warm and delightful to be outside. The leaves have just started to drop after a few weeks of brilliance in color.
Viewing these changing seasons is what drew my mind to this verse written by Solomon, the wisest man to live on Earth. Do we think that Solomon was not wise in the ways of the people? How would we handle this test today?
Solomon was just crowned as king when his first major judgment was tried. Two women came to him in a complete tizzy. They were both squabbling over one tiny, innocent infant baby. The case was presented in this way. Both women went to bed with their infants beside them. During the night, one mother rolled over and lay on her baby. Our hearts cry with anguish to think of her sorrow. This lady’s solution was simple, while the other was asleep she switched children. Both women verified the story. The only caveat was that both claimed the living child.
Suppose our courts were faced with this dilemma today? We would have a drum roll for modern science! A DNA test would be ordered and this would take a few weeks. In the meantime this child would be in limbo. So we would call in the Social Services and the child would be placed into foster care for several weeks to months. By this time the mother would be a mental wreck, the child would be a mess of nerves, and there would be a huge legal bill to pay.
What was Solomon’s response? He never heard of DNA testing and such stuff. What he did know was the DNA of a Mother Heart! He called a big hearty soldier to floor. His next orders must have created a moment of panic and public outcry in the courtroom!
“Take this child in hand and divide it in two with your sword. Then give one to each mother and the case is settled,” said Solomon.
I can just hear the heart-wrenching sob as the one mother cries out, “No! Please don’t hurt the child! Let the other woman have him. ”
“Case settled,” says the judge. “Give the baby to that woman. Her willingness to give up her child rather than have him die shows that she is the true mother.”
Recently our son and I were outside after dark and I happened to look at the right place at the right time. I saw a brilliant flash and a short streak and all was quiet. It was a shooting star. It is kind of saddening. How long had this star or meteor hung in it’s place and shone as a beacon? The time came for it to die out and move on.
So is our life. We have only one chance, it will soon be passed. Same as the star and the gently falling leaves, we too shall someday pass on.
This is one thing that I appreciate about our culture, we take care of our aged in our homes if at all possible. I had the privilege of growing up with an elderly couple living in the tenant house beside us. This couple was childless but they adopted us as their family. We bought our home farm from them. My earliest memory of anything is this. Mom was in the basement doing laundry and I, probably about 4 years old, woke up. There was only a pantry separating our homes so I padded over to Danny and Emma. They set me at the table and I had breakfast with them. They became my 3rd set of grandparents.
We moved off of their farm for a few years before we moved back to take over the farm. We maintained a relationship during those years. When my aunt’s wedding came about, I was sick with the chicken pox. Dear Emma was willing to take care of a little boy. Is there any wonder that we at times slipped and called her Grandma?
We all had our trying days too. There were times where we tried her patience to the point that we got a tongue lashing. She was known for her sharp tongue, but underneath was a heart of gold. As we grew older the long, dark winter evenings came. We were over at their house almost daily. In the evenings we played an old game that she called marbles. It was a homemade wooden
board that used marbles as playing tokens. The game was played similar to “Sorry”. She had a will to win and was not always happy to lose. Of course we all knew where the candy jar was and usually had free reign at it.
As we grew older, we didn’t play as many games but just sat in their living room and read the paper and magazines. Often a whole evening would pass with very few words exchanged. Our presence was enough to Danny and Emma.
They always wanted to know what we were doing with the youth and liked when we shared the small insignificant details of our lives. The day came that Emma, as only a grandmother can, started inquiring about our prospective girlfriends. It was a great joy to her if we shared that we were to have a date. She felt as if she were a part of us.
Last summer my sister married. With our weddings being at our homes, we often looked to the porch but Emma was not there. She and Danny passed on in the last 18 months. We as family and friends commented to each other that something was missing. Usually Emma would have stood on the porch and yelled out some good natured advice to us. It was our choice whether to use it or not. Had they been living, they would be in the midst of it all.
Emma was an old-fashioned woman. When she baked bread, she always made a “Tuffy-boi”. Boi is dutch for pie. I never got the recipe because there was none. She took a bit of leftover dough and put it in a pie pan. She then made some kind of a custard-like glaze to bake on top of it. Tuffy-boi was a favorite of mine. After I married, she often told me that she will bake me one again sometime. Sometime never came. Much to my shame, when we are busy it is hard to take time and do what is important. We should have put in more effort to visit more often.
As young children we had lots of fun with them. We were also known to occasionally antagonize them just to get a negative response. In hindsight we shouldn’t have done all we did, but it created a bond that lasted to death.
You may have figured out why the falling leaves and a falling star prompted me to think of these thoughts. Living with older people, especially family, is a blessing. Sure, there are added responsibilities, but the joys and blessings outweigh the rest. We do well to consider the words of Solomon. Who better to listen to than someone with experience in life? When our parents are young and busy, grandparents can help with the nurturing of the children. As the grandparents get older, the role is reversed. It is now the younger generation that will help the older. Look at the memories that we have.
This custom of ours is truly a blessing. This cannot be duplicated in a retirement or nursing home. I consider it a blessing from the Lord.
Someday we too will be the falling leaf or star. A short time will pass that our void will be felt, but time moves on. A generation comes that will know nothing about that “important” place that we filled. If all that was important to us was work, money, and fame, our loss will be felt even less. It is the DNA of the heart that will last.
Same as this mother would rather let her child live and be with another Mom, so we must make choices for ourselves today. What is important to us? Are we willing to spend those few extra moments and make that “tuffy-boi” or make breakfast for a tousle headed little child? This is what we will be remembered for!