A TRIBUTE TO MY OTHER MOM
I have been blessed to grow up in a healthy family where my mom and dad’s love for each other was growing and extended unconditionally to my sister and I. My parents have been and done for me all a kid could ever want. Still that love and care continues to this day.
Even so, we become greater in our love for God, ourselves and each other through the love and investment of many people in our lives. In addition to my own wonderful mom I gained a second one halfway through my high school years.
I suppose it all began when I “fell in like” with one or more of her daughters and then became good friends with her oldest son. I worked close by and often stopped off to visit before or after work. Out of respect, I hesitantly knocked on their door in the early days but that soon changed when this family of ten didn’t seem to mind having eleven, twelve, thirteen or any number of people be in their house. It was in this house I learned much about hospitality, generosity and values with a lifetime impact.
Mrs. Shorb or “Momma,” as I often called her was always there with a warm welcome and a big hug. She told me to make myself at home and then went about with her business. When nobody else was around or others were busy I would often stand in the kitchen and talk with her. She cared about me as if I was one of her own. It took me awhile to grasp how she could do that with so many other kids and responsibilities but yet her big heart and love for God reached out to me.
One of my funny memories with her happened at a time where my own family was away for a few days and the Shorbs graciously invited me to stay at their house for a few nights. After work one night I came back to their house. Everybody else had eaten but of course she offered the opportunity to eat. I cleaned up, came back to the table and saw a steaming plate full of good food. I saw the steak and I was celebrating. What a treat! After one bite I realized this steak was actually liver! Though I was a bit disappointed it was likely the best liver I’ve tasted and that’s saying a lot because I’ve never eaten it since.
I went away to college, got married, went to seminary then moved to California. This year I will have finished my thirtieth year as a youth pastor. Though I’ve only seen “momma” on a few occasions since those early days her impact on my life has continued. Her determined spirit, her compassionate heart, her boundless generosity and her love for me were investments no recession could ever diminish. My eternal investment in hundreds, maybe thousands, of youth, including my own family, is fueled by a Godly woman who dared to love and care for yet one more person in her life.
This last week she died. She finished the race well and I plan to do the same. I’ll look forward to the hug at the finish line.