Somewhere around 20 years ago Jon Albrecht coined the phrase “Momma Lyn” as a title for my mom. In doing so he verbalized what so many had come to know. My mother was a “momma” to an entire group of kids in Superior, NE.
Jon, who as a young man lost his own mother to cancer, would hit the back door of our house, open the fridge and pile on the food before heading on into the living room. Somewhere from the living room my mother could sense it was Jon and holler out “Jon! Don’t eat all of the ham” (or whatever else happened to be in the fridge)
We never had much money growing up and my moms ability to make the money spread out was fascinating. We never missed a meal. Admittedly sometimes those meals included items from bags with a plain white label with block letter words like “Cheese” written across them. But we never missed a meal. My mom may not have invented “tater tot casserole” but she sure perfected it.
We grew up in a neighborhood full of boys. It was almost like God was cooking up some sort of experiment to see what would happen if he filled up a 2-3 city block region with just boys. There were the Bushnells, The Coveys, Purcells, Lipkers, Deihls, all families with all boys and lots of them. (save the Bushnells who had Darcy and Debbie. Darcy who was too young and Debbie who is probably still scarred from the experience). A story was related that the moms were together and looked out the window to count 32 boys all in the yard at one time.
All the moms stuck together. Linda, Trish, Diana, my mother Lyn were all working in tandem. Hillary Clinton caused uproar when she made the statement that “it takes a village to raise a child”. I’m not sure about a village but I do know that together our little town raised some good kids. Momma Lyn was a big part of that.
My wife was given some advice at a baby shower once that stuck with her and with me when she shared it. It was a simple statement. “More yes’s than no’s”. That one statement summed up my mother. She definitely said no. Her no’s were very strong. They were very final. And at times they were inexplicable. She was beautifully stubborn.
But on the other hand she said yes. She said yes a lot. She never received any advice from fancy books, but instinctively she gave us plenty of yes’s.
It’s arguable that in many ways she was over protective of her 4 boys. She worried a lot about us. Actually she worried a lot about a lot of things. It was her cross to bear. But somehow in the middle of that battle, she managed to give us plenty of rope in ways that as a father I myself could learn from.
Us boys would wander off early in the morning to go fishing. We would usually go miles out of town following the rail road tracks which for us were a sort of iron trail of crumbs that would lead us back to town.
Fishing meant that we would take fishing poles in case they were biting. If they weren’t it wouldn’t be long before we were all in the river or pond or whatever body of water we were near. Clothes were optional. Sometime around supper we would head back to town covered from head to toe in mud, fish goo, pond scum and whatever else we had wrestled on or near.
She would tell us to “put our clothes in the washing machine” and that was it. We invented Tide Country. She never got mad at us for ruining our clothes. I still find it fascinating but she didn’t.
When I was in high school she let me go to Guatemala with some no name nickel and dime operation out of Tulsa, OK called Teen Mania. There was this guy named Ron Luce who was taking around 40 kids to Central America and she said yes. She was so scared and so worried but she said yes. I’ve heard it said that courage doesn’t mean not being afraid, it means doing it even if you are afraid. She would let me do it again next summer and allow my younger brother to go Venezuela.
There were definitely more yes’s than no’s. That was Momma Lyn.
I have often wondered these past few days about how a mother could be away from her Husband and Sons and not be as sad as we are. I was reading in 2 Peter and saw this verse about God not being slow as some men understand slowness. That with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. It hit me that my mom is operating on the Lords economy. Time doesn’t exist like it does here. If a thousand years is like a day, then for my mom we’re all only a few minutes away.
With the way things are going in the world right now, it’s possible that maybe we’re all way closer than we think. It sure seems like now more than ever that the Lord could return at any moment. We could be only a few seconds away.
I heard a story relayed to me about a prominent man who lost his young daughter in a tragic accident. The story goes that in the emergency room, surrounded by doctors nurses, medical professionals and a few close family and friends that they pronounced her dead. This man had the presence of mind to say something along the lines of “please don’t dishonor the death of my daughter by not taking time to examine your own lives and your relationship with the Lord.”
We all only have a few minutes left. I would echo the words uttered from this man. Please don’t dishonor the death of my mother by not examining your own lives. We all truly only have a few heavenly minutes left. Maybe examine your relationship with the Lord. Do those things you’ve been meaning to do but keep putting off. Don’t procrastinate it any longer.
2 weeks ago my mother went to the doctor thinking she had arthritis and kidney stones. This morning she is with the Lord. We all have so little time left. Let’s make the most of it.
And Momma Lyn, if you’re able to hear this;
I’ll see you in a few minutes.