As always, her post caused me to apply her reflections and insights onto my own life. And my relationship with my mother. I cannot think of one friend who has ever met my mother. And I have friendships that have spanned four decades. My mother, quite simply, made the decision to not be part of my life, or the lives of my three siblings.
My upbringing was so dysfunctional, that my way of rebelling was to go off to a Baptist university as soon as I graduated high school. It had a curfew, rules that allowed no males in female dorm rooms, and nightly room checks. I went from a family that only attended church annually on Easter Sundays (because my grandparents were treating to lunch at the local Luby's cafeteria after the service), to a school with required chapel services three times a week. Where they took roll and issued demerits for absences. And those unusually strict rules? They were a haven for me. It was the first time in my life that I had boundaries that made me feel safe and secure and loved.
Somewhere in there, I developed a passion to ensure that my own children, and the students in my classrooms, would feel that same unconditional love and safety. Many good things can rise out of the ashes of this life. "Extracting the precious from the worthless", the Bible calls it in Jeremiah 15:19. And in the squeezing tight places? That is where the diamonds are formed under extreme heat and pressure.
We trade our ashes for beauty. And the results of those hard earned lessons? They are the reason we can have joy in this often treacherous journey of life. Amen.