Dust has settled sifting sweet sorrow by joyful tears. So I write about my hero.
She was a teacher. Not just in the elementary and special ed classrooms where she worked, but with her life – she taught. Without chalkboard, theory or effort she taught humility, joy, other-centeredness, simplicity, and love.
I celebrate Mary Baer today, who one month from her 98th birthday, slipped effortlessly into her Savior’s arms with most of her children at her side.
She now dances – she laughs – she rests – she reunites – she worships. Her day is no longer dictated by the clock or insulin injections. She no longer waits for her favorite time of day, to ‘snooze’. There’s no need to worry about her children or grandchildren. Surely she celebrates HIS perfect timing in all earthly matters.
Even during her final breaths, she taught us – our sweet, simple, gentle teacher.
Thank you for years as an amazing role model Mary Baer, my teacher. When I was young and unwilling to admit you knew more than me; more about child-rearing, about being a wife, cooking and even faith – you simply showed me. You waited and modeled what I needed to learn. You didn’t finger point or lecture. You didn’t grandstand or shout. You just simply were, and I love you for that. I am so grateful I got to be with you when you slipped away from us. How I praise God for his perfection in all things. I think of the times I begged him to release you – to just take you home, away from your pain. But like you, he knew best. He didn’t shout or lecture – grandstand or finger point, he simply was. In my wildest imagination I couldn’t have choreographed your departure better. Not one of your days went unnoticed by your Savior. Not even your last.
It may be silly, but when I think of Mother Teresa, I think of Mary. Mother Teresa was also a teacher by example. She challenges us with this thought, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness, kindness in your face, eyes and in your smile.”
Mary could have been the author of this statement, it’s exactly how she lived.
In many ways, the two women seem similar to me – but obviously, one of them has a name familiar to most everyone. She’s a woman of influence and her contributions to mankind are immeasurable. Although the other shares the same simple, humble and giving nature – she left the earth without recognition, fanfare, or a noteworthy legacy.
I wonder, as they now both sit in God’s holiest place, enjoying His inexplicable presence, if the distinction between their lives is even noticeable. I wonder.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a ‘special gift’, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”.
Still learning from my teacher, I ponder ‘special gifts’. I ponder contentment wrapped in simplicity – I ponder relevance and influence. Weighed down with concerns I’m challenged to surrender. I ponder departure – my own and my hero’s.
Mary Katherine Baer
July 27, 1915 – June 27, 2013
Teacher, Hero, Mother, Servant, Friend