She always fought for the underdog. The sports team nobody else liked. The almost-invisible missionary. The poorest people living on the other side of our small town. The nurse accused of stealing, as she gave her deposition to the lawyer.
“Anyone can make a mistake,” she said.
Her compassion came from her own background of poverty and bullying. How the other kids treated her when she wore the same dress to school day after day. How she and her family lived on the poor side of town, in a home that once housed a chicken-packing business.
She wore a cross necklace under her nursing uniform, because nurses were not allowed to wear any jewelry except their professional pins. “When the job is hard,” she said, “I touch my cross. It reminds me Who I belong to and why I’m cleaning up people’s vomit.”
Quietly, she supported underdog ministries. Gave freely of her monthly tithe. Always lived frugally so that she would never be poor again yet could continue to give.
Even in death, my mother gave.
Last week, I wrote out a check for a ministry I support. To help some of the underdogs in life. The check was part of a tithe from the inheritance my mother left me. A chance to honor her legacy again.
When I entered the building housing the work of The Single Mom KC, the noise of joyful life seemed everywhere. Mothers met together while their children played. The boutique that offers beautiful clothing buzzed with shoppers. Free for single moms and their kids.
I met a wonderful baby named Jeremiah. His big brown eyes sparkled with life as I tickled his tiny socks. Chubby baby fat rolls around his thighs. Maybe he’ll become another prophet like his namesake, especially now that his mama has a better chance in life.
Because of the work this nonprofit does. Because of my mother and her gift.
I dropped off the check and told the Communications Director a bit about my mom. Tickled Jeremiah’s feet again. Touched his soft brown cheek. Then hurried to my car.
Tears of grief mingled with respect for the woman whose life gifted me with the opportunity to give again. “You’re blessing single moms today, Mom. You did good. Jeremiah will have a boost up the ladder of acceptance now. His mama will have some security.
“And I will continue to give as I can — like you taught me. Thanks, Mom.”
Hope is a gift. And as we give, the blessing of the giving returns to us. The knowing that we have done something to help the underdogs of life.
The assurance that our lives are not lived in vain. Because others have given to us, and we return the favor.
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