My Mother taught me this scripture in her thick Mexican accent before I could form the words myself.
"My treasure is my God and my Family. In that order," she said often.
Her "family" includes every soul in which she comes in contact.
Though I am tall and she is small I know I will never measure up to my tiny Mother. She is a giant. Mighty in her Gratitude. Strong in her Faith. Matchless in her Service.
My Mother came from dirt floors that were dampened and swept daily. My Mother came from scant portions of beans, coffee and stale tortillas. My Mother came from bare feet, thin sweaters in frigid winter and no education.
"God blessed me because my faith and Obedience," she often says. "There is a law irrevocably decreed in Heaven... upon which all blessings are predicated- ...when we obtain any blessing from God it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated".
This is the language she spoke to me by the time I was three years old. Sometimes she said "decreed-ed" instead of "decreed" because English was new to her. I understood with my tiny heart that what she taught came directly from her much bigger heart.
By the Grace of her God she came to the United States and joined the Army. She traveled the world. Married my father. Graduated from the U of A, which was top ten in the country for Nursing. Started a construction company by laying block with her father, brothers and her own tiny hands. I witnessed it myself. The company is now a multi-million dollar operation.
"The Lord knows He can bless with me money because I will help others," she reminds me regularly.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures on Earth... but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven... ~Matthew 6:19-20
For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came to me.
.....Lord, WHEN saw we thee hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?.......
Insomuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.
I had holes in my clothes as a child and teen. I never had a McDonald's Happy Meal. I did not taste a candy bar until I was 11 years old. We never ordered pizza. We never bought new toys.
"I don't have money for those things," said my Mother.
She instead had money to fill our little VW bug with loaves of bread, twinkies, toilet paper, boxes of cereal and used clothes to distribute to our destitute family in Mexico. She had money to bail loved ones out of jail. She had money to pay for funerals. She had money to pay rent for her siblings in financial difficulty.
I have watched my Mother write checks for thousands of dollars and simply give to those in need. No payment expected. I have witnessed her give away entire vehicles.
I have traveled far and wide with her to attended countless funerals in which she prepared vast quantities of food for those who suffered loss.
Mourn with those that mourn. Comfort those that stand in need of comfort.
There is no way to adequately express the Love and Respect I feel for my Mother. There are a million stories I could share that would only scratch the surface in revealing her beautiful Character.
I leave you with one.
Coral and I were ages 8 and 10, respectively. We had little girlfriends who were sisters, also 8 and 10 years of age. Anna and Angalee.
One day our little friends told us they were being sexually abused by their 20 year old step-brother with the knowledge of their step-mother. They explained to us in childish detail what was being done to them nightly. We were told not to tell.
Coral told our Mother immediatly.
My Mother jumped in the car that instant. Drove to their house. Collected those children. Fought the courts. Fought the world. Those little girls, who had only been casual friends of ours before, lived with us for two years. They called my mother Mom.
My Mother's Prada shoes are tiny. My feet are huge in comparison. I will never fill her shoes.
My prayer nightly is that God might use me, as he has used my Mother, as an instrument in His hands for good. I pray that I might use my body and mind as a tool to succor the weak and afflicted, mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort. I pray that He might trust me as He has trusted her. I pray that I might be worthy of that trust.
Happy 60th Birthday, Mom. I love you.
PS I hate it when I yawn really big and you stick your finger in my mouth.