Sixty years ago today. I was five when my world changed forever. For sixty years, I’ve wondered what it would have been like to grow up with a father. I will never know.
At the time, it didn’t seem like that big a deal. Home was still home; Mama and my siblings were still there. While I’ll never know for certain what I missed, I learned some valuable life lessons.
I learned that life isn’t always fair and that I can choose to be angry at what I’ve lost, or be grateful for what still remains.
My mama modeled this perspective for us. Even though our world changed, Mama was not afraid. Because she was not afraid, I was not afraid.
Our world changed – but our God remained the same
Once I asked her, “Were you mad at God when Papa died?”
Mama pulled an apron hanging on a peg out of her closet. She put it over her head, then reached her hands behind her back to pull the strings together while she took her time answering. She seemed to be choosing her words carefully.
“I was sad,” she replied, “but I knew God would take care of us.”
I’ve recently pondered that conversation. I don’t even know why I asked her that question because Mama was not one to openly share her heart. Nor can I remember what precipitated the conversation. I only remember it took place in her bedroom as she was exchanging a to-town apron for an every-day apron while I sat on her bed. Her back was turned to me as she flicked the ties of her apron into a firm knot and answered my question about the day my world changed.
He is always there
Whatever worries Mama had, she did not bleed them onto her children. Instead, she listened to the news and the weather faithfully, drove her station wagon to town to deliver homemade bread, and took her family to church every Sunday in that same station wagon. Life continued on and God took care of us. She knew He would.
That is why Mama was not afraid. She didn’t pine over what was lost. She smiled at all she still gained. We had home and health, family and friendships, work and money-less wealth. Our world changed, but God was still the same.
That is why, today, I am not afraid.
It has been sixty years. In all those years, God has taken care of us. Mama said He would, and He has.
It’s the same today. We do not need to be angry or afraid. We do not need to worry or stress. God takes care of us.
Share that with others. Rejoice in His faithfulness – for no matter what happens, He will be with us, always. It’s a promise. Claim that promise, and live it well!
Feature photo credit: Matthew Burkey
Other photos by the author