As Daddy said, Mom is at Grady fighting for her life. She has fought her way through breast cancer and two open heart surgeries and a whole lot more, but she has also spent her life fighting for those people and causes she loves. She loves Jesus, she loves her family and she loves her church and community.
She has been a lifelong member of Second-Ponce de Leon and she made a commitment to Christ at 10 years old. In the course of her 77 years on earth, Mom has chosen and mastered more careers than a typical graduating college class. Most of us pick a vocation and a hobby or two and do our best to serve our community within the realms of these callings. But not Mom. She lives inexorably in the present, and in that present, there are a host of opportunities. Her special giftedness is to concentrate 100% on the present and give her every energy to the task before her. In this way, she has blessed and enriched the lives of countless people, most notably my own in her many callings.
There was Mom the Girl Scout leader, taking us on campouts, teaching us how to ride a horse, climbing Kennesaw mountain.
And Mom the environmentalist. My teenage years are peppered with memories of sitting on the steps of Westminster High school waiting for Mom to come pick me up. Waiting and waiting while she was actively involved in saving the Chattahoochee River. Those are not bad memories. She became a lobbyist and outspoken representative of the wide happy river than runs so close to the backyard where she and I grew up.
And my mother the missionary. For over forty-five years she has helped out the inner city mission in her active, humble way, gathering volunteers to work with the poorest and neediest, fixing thousands of pots of spaghetti sauce and never needing one word of thanks. True service from the heart.
She’s been my mother the deacon, the Sunday school teacher, the Singles helper. So much time and energy given to so many different groups of people at Second-Ponce. My mother who lives out her faith through good works.
My Mom the Olympic chauffeur. Many people do volunteer work, but Mom has a special zest and enthusiasm that got her invited to all kinds of behind the scene events during the 1996 Olympics when she drove the Russian girls’ gymnastics team.
She’s the woman who cares for the elderly in very practical ways: A meal, a bed, a trip to the doctor’s office or the hospital. Available to be there for those in need.
And of course, she is perhaps best known as my mother the horsewoman, the riding instructor the competitor, the barn help. Horses were always a part of our family and she helped hundreds of children learn discipline and self-respect with a pitchfork and a brush in hand.
My mother the wife, the Georgia Tech fan, the Merrill Lynch supporter, jitter bug sweet-heart of Dad. Their differences in style are as big as their difference in height, but used together it’s been a great blending of personalities that adds up to many years of great generous giving. Their beautiful manor on Nancy Creek Road has been used to entertain and shelter the richest and the poorest and many, many in between. And we the children have benefited most from this great generosity.
For that is what she has been, of course, most of all to me, and my brothers. My mother, the mother. She has supported all of our endeavors and those of her grandchildren and even great-grandchildren with great enthusiasm and energy.
It all takes a whole lot of time, and time is Mom’s best commodity. She makes it work, albeit she may be running a little behind. She fills her days with her passions and she blesses many along the way.
Would we to learn such service, such joy in the present, such giving with literally no thought of getting something in return. Her service in all its many different capacities has ultimately been my mother being the hands and feet of Jesus to those around her. It has been a lifelong testimony to me of my mom, doing what she does best. Which is just about everything in the world.