It’s been two weeks since my mother died. In some ways it seems like yesterday and at other times – a lifetime ago. My brother told me he’s having a really hard time shaking images from his mind of her final days. The mental pictures are indelibly haunting to him.
There are certain images that linger for me also. They randomly surface like freeze-framed photos in my head. As strange at it might seem – today I couldn’t get her earlobes out of my mind.
I guess it makes sense since I spent a tremendous amount of time perched close to her face during that final week. I whispered words of encouragement into those ears as I washed perspiration from her clammy brow.
I recall one moment my mind took a snapshot of her ears as my eyes landed on them. Thoughts flooded and tears flowed while I stared at her.
Her ears had been pierced since childhood but were now void of gold or any other adornment. The discriminating earlobes that once only tolerated pure gold were now noticeably closed shut, leaving marks of surrender. The entrance blocked by scar tissue was evidence of her submission to the rules where she lived.
Several times during the last three years I bought inexpensive versions of her favorite hoop earrings trying to satisfy her desire to look pretty. But each time, a day or two later, the earlobes would swell and reject the cheap knockoffs, leaving a disappointed mom and frustrated me.
One item at a time – I watched her give up belongings she had enjoyed for decades.
The picture of her earlobes imprinted in my mind represent a deep level of trust to me – something I’ve never experienced. She fully entrusted her well being and her belongings to my care. It humbles me and pricks my heart with soulful examination.
Trust is letting go of our rights. Trading control for reliance. Trading shallow belief for deep faith.
It’s easy for me to confess trust with my mouth. It’s an entirely different matter to hand over my expensive earrings and live with the consequences of scarred piercings. The result usually isn’t pretty – but the act shines brighter than gold or silver. It’s pure. It’s holy. And it’s our blessed invitation as believers.
My mother’s trust pierces a deep place in my soul. I want to trust like that. I want to love like that.
Committed love depends on trust for sustenance and propulsion. Over time its scars become a sacred badge of honor. I hope that before my final breath – trust will leave its mark on me too.
“The things he planned for us, no one can recount. Were I to speak of them, they would be too vast to declare. Sacrifices and offerings he does not desire, but my ear he has pierced.” Psalm 40:5-6 (emphasis mine)