My Mother’s Smile

A former neighbor of mine wrote a book titled “From My Father’s Singing,” a story of a son whose memories of his father centered on his dad singing while he shaved each day. Ask about my central memory of my mother and it is her smile. (Photo from early college years)

One of the joys and tearful sorrows of preparing for mom’s memorial service is the preparation of a multimedia retrospective of her life, and sorting through the photos; even a blind man could see that this woman smiled all the time.

Her smiled carried her through a turbulent childhood, the loss of her father and the Great Depression.

As WWII ends, there she is at her wedding, beaming radiantly, extending grace towards even those who made her younger years so uncertain.

Then in 1952 she is grinning while living near poverty with her pastor husband in the small logging town of Bly, Oregon.

Now look at her continue to radiate joy in 1958 after the birth of her fourth child, Timothy, whose brain damage and subsequent diagnosis with Cerebral Palsy would mean radical life changes for the whole family, and especially for Esther.

See her smiling through the challenges of her husband’s growing responsibilities, joys and disappointments as a pastor.

Near the end of life look at her glowing and alive even through the haze of Alzheimers. Look at her eyes light up when husband Dick comes down to E-wing. Look at that weakened smile spread across her face even in her end game in the hospital.

In eighty-one years this woman radiated joy regardless of what life, circumstances or the dark side threw at her.

She reflected joy because she was joyful deep to her core. Look at her baby pictures and it is obvious that early on my mother’s cheerfulness was her natural pre-disposition¢â‚¬¦luck of the draw.

Later though, as life dealt her numerous tough hands, she made a choice to tap into the deep springs of peace, love and joy available through God’s spirit indwelling a follower.

William Barclay said the Greeks spoke of an island where limitless supplies of fresh spring water originated from an unknown source deep beneath the surface.

Among the videos we found is one with my mother playing the piano. and I think the hymn she played offers a clue as to the source of her joy.

Like A River Glorious

Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

God help us tap into your limitless springs of living water and experience joy, as did my mother; a joy that brings a smile and lasts a lifetime, sourced deep within by the living God.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in February 6, 2005 by | 1 Comment »

    One Response to My Mother’s Smile

    1. […] What a sweet tribute to a mother by George MacDonald. “The little child that clamoring fails to reach with up-stretched hand the fringe of her attire, yet meets the mother’s hand down hurrying.” I love that phrase, “down hurrying.” Good old mom. Always there. Always attentive to the child.  The child reaches up but cannot grasp her hand, so mother’s hand  ”down hurries!” This Sunday is mother’s day and I’ve been thinking about mine. Here’s a piece I write right after she died, titled, “My Mother’s Smile.” […]

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