More than a decade ago my mom had a major stroke. The day before the stroke she was an active woman who could almost never be found at home. The day after the stroke she was unable to get out of bed without assistance. She began a very long journey in a new life. She is fully paralyzed on her left side. She has limited use of her right arm because of a prior surgery that removed a major portion of her shoulder bone. She cannot walk. She cannot drive. She cannot accomplish basic personal care tasks. After living at home for several years, she has now been a resident of a nursing home for quite a long time.

Yesterday I accompanied her to the hospital for a diagnostic test. There were significant risks associated with the test and I was a bit on edge. But not Mom. She laughed and joked with the ambulance technicians as they transferred her from her wheelchair to the stretcher for the ride to the hospital. During the trip she filled them in on all the details of her day (she so hoped to be back to the nursing home for the luau they were having that afternoon). Upon arrival at the hospital she remembered the names of all who attended to her and listened to their stories as she told them fun stories from her life. All this in the midst of the endless pre-surgery questions that tried so hard to shift her focus to all the negative issues in her medical life. Somehow she was able to answer all the questions with little more than a wistful tone in her voice from time to time.

While I know she tremendously appreciated me being with her for the procedure, I’m equally sure that, had she been able to, she would have patted me on the hand several times and said “There, there Sandy. Chill out. Everything will be fine.” Like every time I interrupted the medical question and answer process to clarify mom’s answer in such a way that the hospital staff would understand the gravity of the situation (as if that was really needed given that they had living proof of mom’s condition and a lengthy chart to back it up).

The point is that as I look back on the day yesterday, Mom brought so much more joy to everyone she came in contact with than I did. And yet her life is so much more filled with “can’ts” than my life.

Mom demonstrates God’s grace to me every day. Grace is God enabling us to live the life He wants us to live that we can’t live on our own. That’s what Mom does every day. She can’t live the closed, limited life she lives in her own power every day. She depends on God and finds joy in everything there is to find joy in.

At the end of the day, she was settled back in her bed at the nursing home. As she told me yet another funny thing about her life, I just looked at her and said “Mom, you have such a wonderful heart.” She looked at me and said simply “I know, I have good humor.” Mom often has a strange way of saying things. But I think it fits here. She does have good humor. That’s God’s gift to her in the midst of trying circumstances.

There have been other gifts, not the least of which is enabling her to continue to “mother” her oldest daughter. On Monday I’ll blog about some of the lessons I’ve learned from Mom over the past decade.

In the meantime, I’m going to practice “good humor.”

3 Responses to “The “Good Humor” Lady”
  1. Sheilah says:

    …..and because you are living this and learning these valuable lessons from your mother, realize that God gave you the wonderful gift of writing, so that you could share them all with us and inspire us to see the lessons in the tough things in life. Basically, you are showing us practical ways that we can learn and use the fruits of the Spirit in our everyday lives. May God bless you and your mother! Thanks for sharing!

  2. […] Sandy put an intriguing blog post on The â??Good Humorâ?? LadyHere’s a quick excerptThere have been other gifts, not the least of which is enabling her to continue to “mother” her oldest daughter. On Monday I’ll blog about some of the lessons I’ve learned from Mom over the past decade. … […]

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