A wise friend once told me if you want someone to love you let them do things for you.
This sounded counter-intuitive.
But I ask you, have you ever spent blood, sweat and tears on a child, and then not
loved them in a special way? But love is like a bad investment, you just hope to get your
money back in the end.
Growing up, which I think I finished doing just last week, I occasionally was a real pain
in the ass to my mom, which required her to do special things for me and show patience
in a special way. So because of this I know she loved me in that special way.
Here is a secret my mom knew. We are born to serve one another, and that service
gives us our greatest joy.
My mom worked and served her family for many years, never asking anything for
herself in return. Her married life made her learn and display great patience and
forgiveness. In this tough school, she became ever more strong but gentle. Because of
this she had great peace.
Despite this, no matter who she met or talked about she never ever said a bad thing
about ANYONE! I was an eyewitness to all these lessons she was trying to teach me,
but have yet to practice them as well as she did.
For the six years we were lucky to have her with us, she was very self-sufficient,
preparing and enjoying her usual coffee cigarettes Mentos cornbread tuna fish and
potato chips usually in that order. She never asked for anything out of the ordinary.
But every week or two I would take her to WaWa and she would walk in and say,
“Winston 100’s, FULL FLAVOR”, which she pronounced very distinctly to let the cashier
know that she liked FULL FLAVOR.
Okay, so even though she lived, for most of the last few years of her life like Mother
Angelica, a cloistered nun, she did have a special passion and talent for flavor. Because
she enjoyed her flavors so much she became a genius in the kitchen. Even after
smoking, by a conservative estimate, over 50,000 cigarettes, her sense of smell was
undimmed, amazingly acute and near the end when she was almost blind and deaf and
unable to move she could smell a cheesesteak a mile off which would rally her to jump
out her sick bed for a party with her family.
Even when I begged her to tell me what I could do for her or get for her, she would
always be deferential and say something like, “well your family needs to eat”.
Once in a while I would make her some home-made spaghetti and she would say “oh
that went down easy”. I lived for moments like that.
As you can see men hate guessing what women want. We just want to be told so we
can get it right for you.
Also as a man I think I always have to DO something to show love. But because of the
patient love of my wonderful wife I was learning that just to BE with someone is just as
powerful a sign of love. So near the end I learned to just be there.
So maybe just the BEING around each other was part of our peace. I know that now,
every time I walk past her smoking porch and realize she is not there.
But the last 6 weeks with her finally gave Jamie and I the chance to serve HER, which
brought ME peace. You see my mom couldn't say no to me because she couldn't see or
move well enough so I had the privilege to get the medicine and eyedrops and tape and
bandages and bring her her special 3 minute eggs and in the end even have the
privilege to feed them to her. And in the last week I even got to tuck her in bed and kiss
her goodnight. And she always said “thank you Mark”. I finally had her in my power. I
finally got to be the lover.
A week ago today, in this very place, we commemorated Jesus washing the feet of his
friends saying “I gave you an example, that you should do as I have done to you”
So my mom Rose Palumbo was one of the most beautiful, strong and peaceful women I
have ever known, and its is because she believed in and followed His example, and she
knew she ran her race very well.
Because of her example my peace grew by trying my best, for a brief time, to try to help
her be happy.
So thank you mom for serving me and loving me for so long.
Thank you mom for letting me serve you so I could love you even more.