A Song of Mama Love

I sit next to Mama on the love seat and start to sing our Bushel and a Peck song. “I Love you…”  I sing and then I pause for Mama to sing her part.

But instead of the next line, “A bushel and a peck”, Mama sings, “I know that you do…” making up her own melody.

I smile and try again with the same results.

We sit and talk as Mama pats my arm. Actually it’s more of a flutter tapping. As if she is counting thirty two beats to a measure. But so gently, and her hands are so soft. Sometimes she strokes my arm. Sometimes she slides her hand under my sleeve and flutter taps for a while there.

And I relish every little touch.

She holds my hand, and I remember the security I felt holding her hand when I was young. And I think about all the meals her hands have prepared. And all the dresses her hands have sewn and all the comforting they have given to babies and all the words they have typed at work.

And now those hands are pale and the skin is so delicate and wrinkly and semi-transparent. Some joints bulge with arthritis. And the hands no longer sew or type or cook.

But Mama’s hands still comfort her daughter. And her gentle flutters tap out a song of Mama love.


What to do When the Shouting Hurts

Mama hollers so much these days. Loudly and sometimes for hours. We try to make sure all her needs are met, but we often can’t figure out what is upsetting her. She shouts so loudly that it hurts our ears and we marvel that her voice doesn’t wear out. There is little we can do. But one thing helps more consistantly than others…

I sit by Mama. She props both her legs up over one of mine, so it feels like she’s half sitting in my lap. She rubs and pats my arm as we chat. I name her siblings with pauses between each one and she says, “Yes, that’s right.” And, “Go ahead.” I count to two and she takes over and counts to ten herself.

I tell her things about her family and her childhood and she nods and says things like, “That sounds right.” And then I sing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” And Mama sits quietly listening to the whole thing until I’m done. And then she says with enthusiasm, “Good!”

And her praise warms my heart.

And it all makes me think how the world is hurting my ears and my heart right now. There is so much shouting. There is so much anger.  It doesn’t seem to end. I wish I knew how to calm it all down.

I open up an old hymnal and I look at the words of the hymn I sang Mama…

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in Prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Saviour still our refuge—take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer; In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.” (Joseph Scriven, 1819-1886 and Charles Converse, 1832-1918)

And the hymn of our fathers calls me to my knees. It reminds me that there have always been sins and griefs and sorrows and cares. There has always been despising and forsaking. And that thankfully we have always had prayer.

We have a precious Savior. He is still our refuge. He is always our solace.

And He is always good.

I can sit close to my Abba Father. I can know His strong arms are around me. I can pour out my heart to my Jesus, my faithful friend.I can share His love with others. And when the shouting gets too loud, I can keep my hand in His and just keep singing, “What a friend we have in Jesus…”