you didn’t really want to know all this

Starting when I was about nine, I never knew if my Mom was going to be there when I woke up in the morning. In her “down” times she would say, over and over, “I should just leave, so your Dad can get you guys a good mommy.” We’d assure her that she was a good mommy, that we loved her, and would beg her not to. A couple of times, after a fight, she would start walking away.
But she always came back.
I now know she’s manic-depressive. At least, I think she is. She doesn’t believe in doctors, so she won’t go, and therefore we have no diagnosis.
But all those years, the verse I kept coming back to was Ephesians 6:2:

Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.

There are no exception clauses in that verse. In context, the command is first to honor, and only later does Paul tell fathers to provoke not their children to wrath. Our honoring is to be done regardless of their behavior.
As I stood there and listened to my mother’s ramblings, as I watched her face crumple in frustrated tears, and I heard her yell at my siblings, anger and pity filled my mind. But not honor. How can you honor someone who’s obviously not-quite-right? How can you honor someone who yells and throws things, and doesn’t remember it all later? How?
But I had no choice: I had, instead, a command.
I choise to honor her, regardless of wether she acknowledged it or “deserved” it. She was my mother, and as such, she deserved my respect. Did I always agree with her behavior? Did I approve of what she did? Not in the least. There were many times when I knew she was wrong. I knew she would regret what she was doing…if she remembered later. But my job was not to correct her; my job was to honor her.
I strove to approach each confrontation, each “spell”, if you will, with the attitude that I absolutely wanted to make my mom successful, to make her look good, even though I thought she didn’t deserve it sometimes. That meant doing dumb chores she thought up, taking on some of her responsibilities, filling in with my younger siblings, and doing it all with an attitude of service. It meant that we would coax her out of bed, convince her to shower, get dressed, just go on living one more day. Because she is my mom, and therefore she is worthy of honor.

The mark of a true servant’s heart is that he doesn’t react when he is treated like one.

I failed more often than I suceeded. But every time I responded in anger, I regretted it. I still regret it. I wish I could re-live those moments and this time, respond correctly.
I still have to honor her. Yes, I’m an adult. Yes, she’s no longer my direct authority. Yes, I live eight hours away. But she’s my mother, and therefore I must.

~ by wildeyedwonder on December 2, 2005.

2 Responses to “you didn’t really want to know all this”

  1. Laura,

    You really challenged me to honor the unhonorable, I dont feel like it so many times, it is so hard to think of honoring some authorities when they are acting so childish and selfish that you jsut want to slap them… I appreciate all that you have done for me!! I Love having you in the family!! Thank you for putting your heart into making or family as great as possible!


  2. sometimes its easier said than done….I know.

    It’s good to “read” from you again – I thought maybe you had gotten “lost” in your new marriage 😉 lol–>

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