Saints, Mothers and Moms


Randy Riley - Contributing columnist



The most famous mother in all history was certainly Mary, the mother of Jesus.

As a teen-aged girl, she found herself to be pregnant. She was confused. She was scared. She knew that she should not possibly be pregnant.

The miracle of the birth of Jesus begins with Mary and the revelation to her that the baby she is carrying is not going to be your typical child. Her child will be the Messiah. He will be named Jesus.

The story of the birth of the infant Jesus is one of the most revered stories in the scripture. His birth is celebrated by over 2 billion Christians each year.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was also there when Jesus died. She was there for the resurrection. She became a leader in the early Christian church.

Mary, along with the disciples, assured that her son would always be remembered and worshiped as the Messiah. Like her son, she lived a life of service to others.

Mother Teresa also worshipped the son that was born to the Virgin Mary. She loved and adored Jesus. Her adoration and love of Jesus led her to the devotion of her life to helping the poor, the weak, the hungry, the sick and lame.

Mother Teresa’s devotion to the poor of India led her to be recognized as a worldwide symbol of motherhood. Though she never had a child, she became adored and respected as a mother figure to the poor of Calcutta. Later, she became a Saint in the Catholic church and Mother to the world.

She spent a lifetime serving others. She saw service to others as her calling — her way of serving Christ.

Mother Teresa once wrote a special prayer, now known as “Mother Teresa’s Prayer.” She wrote, “The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is Love. The fruit of Love is service, and the fruit of service… is peace.” Service to others – that is what brought Mother Teresa peace.

My own Mother loved to serve people. Mom was a stay-at-home mom. She was always there to take care of us. Whenever Dad’s union would go on strike or if he was temporarily laid off, Mom would go to work at her favorite job.

She loved being a waitress. Mom once told me that she loved being a waitress because it gave her a chance to fuss over people, serve them and get paid for it. I’m sure that getting paid for being a waitress was less important than being able to serve others.

When Debbie and I got married, we melded our families together. Her two boys joined my three children as a family.

Debbie has shown us the truth of the old saying that tells us, “Love cannot be divided. It can only be multiplied.” She opened her heart to my children. She became their mother.

Her love for all of our children and grandchildren is amazing. Our grandson, Clayton, sums it up best when he wraps his little arms around Debbie’s legs and proclaimed, “You’re the best Memaw ever!”

As a young mother, my daughter, Jessi, exhibits boundless energy, patience, love and strength. Jessi and Sean’s lives sometimes reminds me of the old movie, “Yours, Mine and Ours.” Their five children are so filled with love that it overflows into everything they do. At their young ages, they are learning of the beauty and peace that comes from service to others. A lesson well taught by their parents.

Our daughter-in-law, Becky, has become a conduit of love. She has taught their two girls about grandparents they will never meet.

She keeps the history of love alive in their family. Josh proudly displays an old pocket-watch that belonged to his great-grandfather. Josh and Becky remind the girls that the histories of our two families are their histories.

As the old pocket-watch ticks away time, so do our hearts beat with love for past generations and for future generations.

Becky helps keep that love alive as a service to the future.

There have been many, many other women in my life that have served as an inspiration – a mother figure to me over the years.

There was the lady across the street who we called Aunt Zippy. She was always there for us as we grew up.

Jama baked me my favorite pie whenever I asked. No one could make a strawberry-rhubarb pie like Jama.

Ginny always has a hug and kiss for me. Her love never fails to brighten my day. Ruth has been with me through some of the toughest times of my live. Her healing touch and loving heart have made those times bearable. I could easily mention scores of others who have shaped my life.

Mother’s Day was on this past Sunday, but you wonderful women have made Mother’s Day a daily occasion.

To all the wonderful women who have served this community, our church and our families — thank you and God Bless you.

Randy Riley is President of Council of Wilmington.

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Randy Riley

Contributing columnist