My mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in July 2004 and told she would live only three to four months.
The blessing was that she lived almost nine months after that and retained her mental faculties until the final few days. In fact, she and I talked on the phone for 45 minutes the Sunday prior to her passing on Thursday. I always will be grateful for those special times we spent together.
I was living in Michigan at the time (I moved to Pembroke in July 2005), and I made 11 trips between there and Georgia over that time. It was during one of those visits that folks from my parents’ church again brought dinner to them. The meal included one of the prettiest, tastiest chocolate cakes you have ever seen. But I have to tell you about a conversation that was held about that cake.
My dad walked past the table, saw the cake and asked Mom if she wanted any. When she asked what kind of cake, and he told her, she responded, “No, you know I don’t really like chocolate.”
He then said, “Yea, me either.” Then he continued, “And no one in Pam’s (that’s my sister) family will eat it, either. There’s no one in the family that cares much for chocolate.”
By this time, I was confused and disoriented. Finally, I blurted out, “Hey, was I adopted?”
Two things you need to keep in mind here. In no way was I disparaging adoption. Both of my sons were adopted at an early age. And secondly, when you see me standing beside my dad, it is clear that we belong together. I never can deny whose son I am.
But I really was surprised to realize that I am the only sensible person in the entire family. After all, who doesn’t like chocolate? On the other hand, I am the only one in the group who doesn’t like coffee. Again, the sensible one.
I learned some things from this incident. First, no matter how long you have known someone, you never can know everything there is to know about that person.
But there is something else that stands out to me.
I grew up in a family of four. I also had two children, so for much of my life I have lived in a home with three other people. These people include my dad, mom, sister, wife and two sons. We all shared the same last name. We hold much in common, and yet we are different. That was God’s plan from the beginning.
God created a world filled with differences. He created us male and female, black and white, short and tall and on it goes. And God is pleased by that. He loves us as we are.
I pray that we will learn to love as he loves, especially during this Christmas season.