A Debt Of Gratitude

24 Nov

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Today is my mother’s birthday.  If she were still alive, she would be ninety-eight years old today.  Instead, she has been gone for the last twenty-four years.  In several reflections as well as several times in homilies, I have mentioned my mother in terms of the things she had taught me and the values she encouraged me to embrace.  I agree with President Lincoln and would state that all that I am or hope to be I owe to my sainted mother.

We all have people like that in our lives.  Parents, grandparents, other relatives, spouses, and still others have loved us unconditionally and, in the process, have shaped us into the people we are.  We owe a huge debt of gratitude to them.  So why is it, so often, we do not let them know of our gratitude and love until it is too late?  Children are famous for that.  They argue with their parents and buck their parents’ rules and direction.  Late children and early teens often do not even want to be seen in the presence of their parents.

Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”  That famous humorist really summed up the relationship of many a child and his or her parents.

I remember, shortly after her passing, that I would often say to myself, “I wish I would have told here this.  I wish I would have done that.  I wish.  I wish…”  When someone special passes away, it is too late to let them know what you think of them and what you appreciated about what they did, said, or taught you.

That is why it is so important for us to tell people that we care about them and let them know how special they are to us.  I know it often rubs against the grain to do so.  Being human, we often harbor grudges or think that we are above others.  We are anxious of what others may think or say if we tell them what is really going on in our lives.  We are fearful about losing their love and support.

However, people who love us, love unconditionally.  They accept us “wrinkles, warts, and all.”  Isn’t it high time that we love them just as much in return?

FAITH ACTION:  Do not wait until it is too late.  Let the special people in your life know how important they are to you.