Thursday, September 16, 2010
Vessels of Honor
There were many things I loved and admired about mother in law Mary. She was both kind hearted and fun loving. I never once heard her utter a negative word about anyone. At any opportunity to help one in need, her immediate reply was, “Oh yes! Let’s do that.”
One of my favorite memories of Mary was our trips to her TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) group. You were fined a dime for each pound gained. Mary always reminded me to make sure she had plenty of dimes for the meeting. I got such a kick out of that group of ladies. The leader often expressed her fears they would lose their chapter if they didn’t actually take off pounds. The discussion would then turn to what to have for lunch. They were just a fun group of ladies.
Mary had a very special set of dishes. In the early sixties a local grocery store ran a promotion. With a certain dollar amount spent you could receive a piece. Mary had a host of friends who helped her collect them. I loved them because of the sentimental attachment rather than their monetary value. To me and Mary they symbolized love and devotion from dear friends.
As Mary and husband Neil’s health began to decline, I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with them. There were stories and memories shared I will always treasure. Mary atypically insisted we all be present for their 65th wedding anniversary. There is no easy to travel between Jonesboro and Russellville. We were making the 6 hour round trip almost every weekend and really were dreading the mid-week trip. However, it was so rare for Mary to ask anything for herself, we went. We are forever grateful for that visit.
The weekend following the anniversary gathering, Mary shared many things privately with me. I realized she was saying her good byes. There were promises she asked me to keep and messages to deliver upon her behalf. Why she chose me, I do not know. As difficult as it was, I consider it an honor that she placed such trust in me. On that day she told me of a special serving tray from her friends’ collection. She told me she wanted me to have it and the others if I wished. Only Mary knew of its existence. So very typical of her to be thinking of others even in her last days.
Recently, a need for dishes came to our attention. I heard immediately in my head, “Oh, yes! Let’s do that!” As I shared with Dan he immediately smiled in agreement. As much as they meant to me, we donated all the dishes – minus one!
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. II Timothy 2:20-21 (King James Version)