This morning Heaven received a very special angel – Henrietta Williams – my mamaw.
My dad was drafted into the Vietnam War while he was in Bible College. When he came home after the war he had no one. He was lost and alone. That was until my mamaw told him he could stay with her and Ray.
Mamaw’s children soon became his brothers and sisters – our aunts and uncles. Jesus gave him a Godly family that he could turn to and receive unconditional love.
Mamaw used to live 3 hours from us when I was little. You had to take the back-country roads – curve after curve – to get to her little country house in Cynthiana. I LOVED to see mamaw and papaw but I HATED the drive. My parents would have to stop at least 10 times on the way there because I was so sick.
She would hear our station wagon coming around the curve and she’d be on the porch with papaw waving to us as we pulled into the drive. We got to help them with the farm, ride horses, get a cold beverage off the back porch, shoot at some cans, and eat some of the best cooking you ever had.
They had a wood furnace right in their front room where we would often play cards together until the wee hours of the morning. We’d each take turns standing on the stool so we could perform our own little talent shows. I loved to crawl into my papaw’s lap – although I am not sure why. He would tickle me and pinch my thumb until I cried. I can hear mamaw yelling at him now – “Ray you stop that. You leave that poor kid alone!” It didn’t matter – 15 minutes later I would be back up in his lap and we would repeat the same thing all over again.
As we pulled out of the drive – papaw and mamaw would wave good-bye to us with tears. No matter how far you drove – if you could still see their house – you could still see them waving. Lori and I still do this today. We call it the “mamaw wave”.
My mamaw is the only grandparent who has ever been to Haiti. She flew in for my wedding back in 2001. We learned on that adventure that mamaw wasn’t as sharp as she used to be. I remember landing in Chicago and she would ask – “What country are we in now”? We would remind her we were still in America. We’d then land in Miami and she’d ask again with the same wonderment – “What country are we in now?”
Though mamaw began to change and didn’t always recognize us as the years passed by – all of my children were able to meet her. I still remember visiting with her when the twins were just 7 weeks old.
Mamaw: Now how many babies do you have?
Me: There’s two Mamaw.
Mamaw: That’s so sweet. Let me look at those little babies. They are so precious. They’re just little angels.
A few hours would pass and then she’d look over at us with the biggest smile – “Now where’d those little babies come from?” She had already forgot that she met them. I would tease her that she should know by now where babies come from.
My papaw died in my early teens. I will never forget when we got the call. I don’t remember a lot about the drive – or much about the visit. But what I do remember vividly is watching my dad hovering over papaw’s casket and watching him collapse with tears as he held his hand and hugged on him.
Whenever I wanted to think of something to make me cry – because sometimes I just need a good cry – I would remember that image which is still engraved in my mind even today.
And although I am unable to attend her funeral – the tears are already streaming as I begin to think of my daddy – hovering over mamaw’s short little body.
She was the mother who loved him when she didn’t have to…. the mother who saved him from himself…..the mother who would calm his nightmares (caused from the war he just left)….. the mother that embraced him when he had nowhere else to turn…..the mother who would wipe away each and every tear.
As I closed my eyes today and I let my mind drift…..I was soon consumed with another image……one that causes my eyes to flood with tears even as I type.
It’s not my daddy hovering over his loved one…..but it’s Jesus hovering over His lost one.
For those who don’t know Jesus – for those who have never heard His name – for those who chose not to follow Him– for those who thought they had more time……I see Jesus hovered over their body. He is weeping and holding them tightly. He is squeezing their hand and collapsing with tears – as they knew Him not.
Jesus took us in when He didn’t have to. He took us in when we had nowhere else to turn. He loved us unconditionally when it wasn’t required. He saved us from ourselves. He rescued us from our nightmares. He became our daddy when he didn’t have to choose us. And He continues to weep for every lost child who doesn’t personally know Him.
I’m not sure about you – but I can’t handle the thought of either of my dads weeping……
The call to reach the lost has never been more evident or urgent. We must reach out to our families – to our friends – to our neighbors – to our co-workers – to our classmates – to those all over the world….
You see Jesus stoops down to wipe our tears during our times of loss – when we feel we can’t breathe – when the sorrow overwhelms us – when the sadness is more than we can bear.
But what about Jesus? What will you do to wipe away His tears?