“Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise–”that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-3)
Those of you who are paying attention know I already covered these verses last week.
Gold star for you.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my mother this summer. She’s 80, and has a hip that’s rapidly failing from arthritis. This has caused severe pain and extremely limited mobility. Add to that her memory, which is more than a bit shaky these days, and it’s been a rough summer for both of us.
This verse has been on my mind as my sonly duties have morphed from picking her up for a doctor’s appointment to picking her up after a fall, from grabbing her some groceries to helping her eat them. The definition of “Honor” has changed over time, and I need to change with it. When I was a kid, honoring was pretty much the same as obeying. As a teen, honor meant trying to make her proud of me, or at least not embarrassing her. I remember a particularly painful middle-school sports award banquet where the coach forgot to call my name, and I actually waved my hand around to remind him that I was there.
When I left home, a big part of honoring my mom lay in simply not forgetting her birthday–which only happened the one time. Then came marriage and kids and honor meant remembering to involve her in family events and holidays, even when it was a hassle and involved two or three Thanksgivings on the same day.
Now, well, it’s changing again, and I’m not quite sure how it works. Today honor is about making decisions on Mom’s behalf and helping her do things she has always done for herself and comforting her when she’s afraid and taking a measure of authority over this woman whose word was law for all my growing years.
And trying to do it while helping her retain her dignity as she sits wide-eyed in a wheelchair crying from the pain and foggy from the pain meds and asking me why this is happening to her.
Well, beloved, it seems that I am using you as my personal therapist this morning. Thanks for letting me vent, and remember that life and circumstances and needs will all change, but the call to honor does not.
Honor your parents today, however they are, wherever they are.
Happy Monday, Beloved