I wanted to sit and write a blog about my Mom for Mother’s Day similar to the one I wrote about my Dad several years ago. As I sit to write however, there is a deep loss for words for how to tackle this one. You see, two weeks ago my Mom called me to let me know that she had been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer in the lining of her lungs. It was not the news any of us were expecting even though we knew she was having tests for lung problems. We have no idea how she got it, as it’s normally found in people who were exposed to asbestos or other toxins occupationally… but it doesn’t really matter how it happened. Cancer can be random and mysterious and we don’t always get to know why.
We don’t always get to know why about a lot of things. But for many the urge to know why is huge: the question of ‘why bad things happen to good people’ is ubiquitous. It shakes many because we don’t like the injustice and chaos of this broken world and desperately wish to make sense of it all. The whole book of Job deals with the question of ‘why bad things happen to good people’ with many of the actors assuming there should be some clear cause and effect answer. In the end of the story the humans still never get the answers they are looking for. They just get an encounter with a very powerful and unsearchable God. (Side note, I’m incredibly glad God didn’t stop revealing Himself after the story of Job. God as revealed in Jesus overshadows every other revelation and is infinitely more close and beautiful than the ‘I am God and you are not’ picture in Job.)
Here is the cool thing about my mom though: she isn’t asking ‘why me?’. She isn’t asking ‘why me?’ because she’s wrestled with the injustice and suffering of the world in general long before cancer struck her own body. She’s always been someone who is familiar with my ‘but what about…?’ questions because she’s asked them too. She made peace with the unknowns of why bad stuff happens, not because it all makes sense, but because she trusts that God really is good.
So those are the two particularly wonderful things I will mention that I get from my Mom: She’s felt the big questions and is at peace with not having all the answers to those big questions because she knows God really is good. Not that I wrestle in the same ways of course- I have a much more fiery personality, but in the end I share her deep ok-ness to trust God really is good, loving, and just and that every thing really will be set right.
Now I also want to mention two qualities my mom has that I hope to imitate. One is that my mom always assumes the best in people. There are of course pluses and minuses to this, but as someone with a strong inner cynic, I could use some of that ‘believe the best’ attitude. For my whole life I’ve heard virtually no gossip from her or any kind of tearing other people or groups down. That’s a rare strength.
The second thing I’d like to imitate is related: my mom is probably the most unoffendable person I have ever met in my life. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen her spend her energy on being upset at others over any way she has been slighted or treated unfairly or hurt. It’s practically miraculous. I’m not saying she has never felt hurt… but she doesn’t seem to direct that hurt in anger back at those who hurt her.
So this Mother’s Day is of course particularly meaningful to us in our family. Mom, may you feel all the love we have for you!