I was thinking about all of the things I could write about my mother today. There are so many incredible things I could talk about here, but there is one virtue about my mother that stands out above the rest.
Compassion. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been blessed with the experience of seeing my mother's compassionate gifts at work.
When we were living off base, completely surrounded by non-english speaking neighbors, in Puerto Rico, I watched the way she tenderly cared for those around us. I distinctly remember the time she took in a brand new baby after it's mother suffered a severe post partum hemorrhage and the father was unable to care for his wife in the hospital and the baby at home. That baby stayed with our family for at least a week -- it might have been much longer. My mother put two arm chairs together and turned them into a crib.
When our family lived in Washington State, my mother was coping with the biggest heartache of her life...the traumatic death of her first born child. Somehow, despite her immense grief, she rose to the occasion when another family lost a child following a terrible accident. I remember the way she comforted that other mother and prayed with her for peace amidst such a devastating time.
When our family lived in the Philippines, my mother's ability to show compassion blessed a countless array people -- men, women, children, and elderly. In a third world country surrounded by extreme poverty, she extended care to sick children, helped families rebuild homes after they were destroyed by typhoons, and provided meals to the hungry people that existed all around us -- all the time. Those are just a few of the many, many, many acts of love she extended to the Philippino community.
In one particular incident, my mother rescued an abused mother and her child by funding and helping to build a cement home that could withstand the weather. A cement home was very rare in the area we lived...most families lived in thatched huts. In spite of a language barrier and cultural differences, my mother formed a special friendship with this woman -- she even lived with us for most of our tour in the Philippines. My mother simply could not stand the thought of leaving her behind with an abusive husband, a small child, and the constant threat of losing her home to Mother Nature's wrath. So, she did something about it.
More recently, I have seen the extreme compassion my mother exhibits when caring for her mother. Time and time again, my mother has demonstrated pure love towards my grandmother in the way she cares for her. Aside from my grandmother's mounting medical needs, my mother is constantly striving to provide my grandmother with a loving environment in which she can age gracefully with pride and dignity.
So, today I honor my mother and her gift of compassion. It has been a privilege, blessing, and joy to have her in my life. Without even realizing it, my mother taught me the true meaning of Christ's love.
Simply because that's who she is.