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Perspectives: Things I am learning from my mother


For many of us here on the island, our love must travel long distances. I live 3,000 miles away from my mother, yet I can feel her with me. I know that who I am and the work that I do come from the places in her heart.

Anyone who knows my mom knows of her respect and empathy for those in the margins — always wishing she could do more.

Growing up in the Great Depression she became devoted to helping her family survive. She was the one her parents could always count on. Living amid the struggles of that time left her with a sense of duty to give of her time and energy where she was able. She taught me to look for places where I could serve others.

Mom’s relationship with God is a quiet confidence in the basic goodness of God’s creation shaped by Jesus’ outreach to those less fortunate. What is God’s purpose for us on earth except to ease the burdens of our fellow human beings?

Growing up the youngest, I would tag along as mom visited the sick and the lonely. She showed no fear, just went about doing what she was called to do.

I asked her recently what she does when faced with something very difficult. She said, “I think about what I could do to fix it. If that doesn’t work, I try to accept it or work around it.”  In her resilience and inner strength, she continues to try to make the best out of what is before her.

In the last few years, mom has been able to ease off from the “fixing” and relax and enjoy the more comfortable aspects of life. With this release, mom taught me to loosen my tight grip on life. She has taught me to enjoy the moment, find love, trust and compassion in relationships and to have hope.

She is our humble matriarch, caregiving from her living room chair, spreading hope and goodwill to others even as her world gets smaller — her hearing and eyesight diminishing. She is a lifelong seeker of wisdom and learning, drawn to experiencing God’s grace in the world. We are all one world, and she enjoys learning about that world — the people, their cultures, faiths, how they live and what’s important to them.

She has taught me that I never have to stop learning, being curious and engaged in life. Her longevity reminds me that our love and our hearts remain vibrant despite our age or our afflictions. She teaches me confidence in who I am and my work in God’s world.

We just celebrated her 99th birthday and, yes, I am still learning from her. My mother continues to grow in her wisdom and her joy, knowing that life is “mystery” in the gentle hands of God.

Margie Adams is staff chaplain of PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.


Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.