My Mama was born and raised in Louisiana. She left everyone she knew at the age of twenty one when she married my daddy and moved about a thousand miles north. She lost her southern accent, but she never lost her love for her family and home land. In her last years she was still saying, “I want to go home. I want to see Mama.”
As long as she could use a phone, she called her family and friends often, even in the days when long distance was expensive. When she was a stay-at-home-mom, earning extra money babysitting and sewing for neighbors, she would save her earnings to pay for trips back to Louisiana to see her precious family.
It didn’t matter if she had to sleep in the back of a station wagon. It didn’t matter if she had to sleep in a leaking tent trailer. It didn’t matter if she had to eat baby food, because the park stores weren’t open when we arrived for the night. She would do it all cheerfully and without complaint to see her people.
And now one of Mama’s nieces and one of her nephews are in Houston, dealing with floods in and around their homes, because of Hurricane Harvey. And Louisiana is getting hit with rain and storms. And in the midst of our whole country’s concern for the region, I feel Mama’s passion for her home town and her people. And I pray and cry as I watch the news. And I smile with pride as I see people sacrificially helping each other.
The reports of damage are overwhelming and heartbreaking. But the people are brave and strong. Like Mama.
I remember a night, three years ago, when Mama taught me a lesson that still comes to mind today…
Dad called and said that Mom had fallen and he needed help. I rushed over and heard Mom yelling as I used my key to unlock the door.
She was shouting, “Mama! Come here and tell me what to do!” And then, even though it must have been scary for her to be stuck on the floor unable to get up, she abruptly switched to singing. As I opened the door I found her lying on her side in the middle of the living room calmly singing, slightly “warbly” and off-key, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus…”
Thankfully, Mom was okay and between my daughter and dad and I, we were able to get her up. But the lessons from Mama linger…
When you need help shout for it. And then, while you wait for help to arrive, stay calm and remember the Friend who is always with you. Sing and pray. God is near and help is coming.
“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!”
This was the last hymn Mama remembered. The last hymn she sang on her own. And one of the most memorable lessons she taught me.
We’re praying for you Texas and Louisiana. Stay strong and remember the Friend that is with you always!
Mama and I send our love.