As a child, every other Sunday, I accompanied my mom and pappy to a place called Sylvan Retreat. First we would stop at The 7-Day Market picking up a hoagie and an ice cold bottle of Tab for Mom and a Pepsi and pint of Sealtest chocolate ice cream for my mom's mother. Mom called her Mother. I called her my mom's mom. I was always excited to see Pappy and Mom's mom on those bi-weekly visits. First Dad would go to Midlothian to pick up Pappy and bring him to our house. Mom dreaded those Sundays when she'd feel obligated to drive to Cumberland to visit with her Mom and I remember her complaining a lot on that day. But she was faithful in her visits and I'm sure that meant a lot to my grandma AKA Mom's mom, even tho 'Gram' didn't quite understand what was going on around her. We would sit in the car and visit. Mom and Pappy in the front seat and Mom's mom and me in the back. Excited, I could not wait to open the special gift that Mom's mom had for me, a bobby-pin and a piece of gum or maybe a simple piece of colored paper, folded snuggly inside a thick beige stocking and tied tightly with a piece of string.
Feelings of sadness yet intrigue oozed from my every pore as I watched the delicate, frail, gray haired woman spooning the creamy melting chocolate from the cardboard container and rambling on about nothing. She was a simple soul, carrying a lifetime of sorrow within her wrinkled exterior.
I'm not sure if her belly would be full or if she just liked saving the last of the ice cream for me, but to my delight, I would always be given her leftovers. Then Mom, Pappy and her would chat about nothing for a while and I would ask Mom if I could go for a walk.
My walk took me just down over the hill from our parked car and to a field where beyond the fence lived a herd of cows I referred to then as my friends. My imagination allowed for deep conversation with these black and white cows and I could tell by those trusting eyes staring back at me that these cows got me! "I'll be back in 2 weeks," I would say upon my departure... and they understood.
Our drive home was one of relief for Mom I'm sure, for she had put in her time and had done what was right putting aside her weariness of working full time and taking care of 7 kids. Sacrifice is a showing of true love. It's easy to do something when you want to do it. But it can seem an imposition when it is something that pierces your daily routine and takes you from your comfort zone of peace.
Mom's sacrifice on those visits to her mentally ill mother back then taught me a lot. There was so much giving! Pappy would come armed with little black licorice sugar coated babies to hand out to us kids. Mom would give her mom ice cream and pepsi and even more importantly - her time! Mom's mom would give me a gift and then she'd save the last of her ice cream for me. Those cows gave me a friend and a listening ear. And now that I am an adult, my hope is that those role models from yesterday have impacted me to where I too, can be a role model for those around me.
Never underestimate the power of a moment.
For in that moment, you just may see God working in a life, or two or three.