Today I sat in a room filled with senior adults, listening to a concert. As usual, I wasn’t all that aware of what was happening around me. I have a terrible habit of getting so focused on what I’m looking for or looking at that I miss a bunch of stuff that’s going on. Emerald and I were sitting in the back row, where mamas and preschoolers often relegate themselves, and in between my motions to Emerald that meant Be quiet and Here, have another sucker, I strained to see the performers over the heads of the people in front of me.
Before long, one of the singers started talking about how her grandmother had suffered from Alzheimer’s for ten years, and about how hard it had been on her granddad, giving up the things he enjoyed to take care of her for all those years. She began singing a song. It started with this line, A mother sings a lullaby to her child with special needs…
I immediately felt my brain filing this song away as a little bit hokey. A little bit Christmas Shoes-ish. (If you love Christmas Shoes, forgive me.) But, then I noticed something. For the first time since I had sat down, I realized that the woman directly in front of me, with her perfectly pressed, neatly put together outfit, with every grey hair in place, was sitting next to her daughter. The daughter was an older woman herself, her brown hair cut into a short, easy to care for style, and her wheelchair was folded up next to her seat. The daughter was mentally challenged, but her mother had dressed her up nicely for the occasion. She was even wearing pretty dangling silver and turquoise earrings that bobbed each time she looked lovingly up at her mother’s face.
As the singer continued to sing about all of the things that “hidden heroes” do that only God sees, I saw the mother begin wiping tears from her face. Her daughter looked at her quizzically, oblivious to the lifetime of sacrifices that her mother had made. And yet, not oblivious. Not really. She smiled at her mama. And the dear mother just kept wiping the tears that came faster and faster.
And then I looked around the room and saw so many men and women, wiping their tears. And I wondered how many stories in that room would reveal years of sacrifice, years of selfless love, all because God made us for relationships, and He put hearts inside us that are capable of loving in deep, irrational ways.
I have no doubt that the mother who sat in front of me has inspired many who knew her through all these years. But, today she blessed me with her self-denying love, and with the hot tears that wouldn’t stop, a strange mixture of sadness and gratefulness and weariness and devotion. God sees you, dear mama.
If you would like to hear the song that had the room in tears, click on the video below.