I’ve been working on some thoughts for this column regarding truths we need to remind ourselves of in the last days. Hopefully, it will be ready for next month (if the Lord hasn’t come, we’ll still be in the last days!). Until then, be encouraged by some of my mother’s poetry. Mom wrote much over the years, self-publishing a number of compilations. Her poetry has been enjoyed by thousands of people (including Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth!). Today, her mental state does not have her capable of writing; she lives with my father in Wyoming where they, in their late 80s, still seek to minister to others as they await their eternal reward.
Song of the Prodigal
I went off full that fateful date to seek myself a better way
Too narrow was the rule at home; I’d find myself, the world I’d roam.
The world had much to offer me;I drank its fill, for I was free!
Gold and glitter, fun and foam – how dull had been the life back home!
But then one morning I awoke, alone, ashamed, my spirit broke;
With dreams all smashed, with life a waste, with empty heart, with bitter taste.
Too late, I’d learned that what I’d sought – a life fulfilled – could not be bought.
‘Twould not be found on foreign loam; ‘twas waiting at my Father’s home.
“I’ll gather up my rags and shame, my broken heart, my tarnished fame –
Not much to show for where I’ve roamed,” I told myself, “but I’ll go home.”
My Father’s house has bread to spare; his servants live on richer fare
Than I, though earth I’ve searched and combed; the bread is at my Father’s home!
Who’s that I see there at the bend, with arms outstretched – a foe or friend?
My Father’s tears fall on my head, his joy as though I’d once been dead.
He fails to see my rags and shame, nor mentions once his ruined name.
His only thrill – I’ve ceased to roam – “Rejoice with me, My child is home!”
— Betty Jo Mathis
Tribute To Mom
It seems only yesterday that Mom was steadying our steps, and helping us learn to walk. It seemed strange, then, when the roles reversed, and we realized that she needs us to steady her faltering feet.
Mom was the strong one, we kids were the ones who stumbled and fell. But the day came when we kids had to assume the role of the parent. It was as though she’d become the child and the arms that had once supported us now had to be supported by younger, stronger arms.
When we were small, Mom knew what it was to clean up our messes, to excuse spilled food, tousled hair, mis-matched clothes. But the day came when it was our turn to overlook unsteady hands, sagging clothes, uncombed hair.
Years ago she answered our countless questions patiently calming childish fears. Then one day we watched her eyes fill with fear, and we sensed her feeling of helplessness. And knew it was our turn to answer confused queries, to give reassurance that all was well.
Mom had understood us when we were kids; she knew we’d grow up; and we came to understand Mom – That life had come full circle, that she’d not grow up.
The roles had been reversed. Surely she felt sad, as we did, at the strange turn of events. But it was God’s plan that we should care for one another – She cared for us when we needed her; we cared for her when she needed us.
No doubt she longed for the days when she was strong and capable; baking, cooking, cleaning, looking after Dad and the family. It’s hard not to still think of Mom in that way.
We’re grateful for all she did for us. And when we are one hundred – When the role is reversed for us and we’ve become the child; And our children have become parents to us.
— Betty Jo Mathis