Over at Eva’s

mama holding tack
Mama, Tack and Me

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.  Matthew 5:14-16 New Living Translation (NLT)

One thing I can say with certainty is that mama’s light was bright enough for all who encountered her to see.  In that way, she was a living example of God’s love.

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you already know mama.  Sometimes she is referred to directly.  Other times, she quietly lingers between the lines.  Either way, she is always present in just about every post that I write.

Oh, just so you know, mama’s given name was Eva.  She passed away a few years ago so in recognition of Mother’s Day, I’d like to tell you a little more about her.

Ok, let me start by saying that mama was something of a paradox.  In fact she was the personification of the adage “You should never judge a book by the cover.” At first glance she often appeared to be aloof and unengaged.  However, a closer look would have revealed that she was actually quite warm and kindhearted.  In any case, people were automatically drawn to her.  Suffice it to say, there was something disarming about her demeanor that encouraged folks to lean in closer.

Bearing this in mind, I have come to appreciate the fact that mama was a universal ‘mother’ whose influence extended well beyond the three children that she birthed. In essence she advised, taught, consoled, cared for, comforted and united a motley crew of followers. While some of them started out as strangers, most of them ended up as family.

Yes friends, when Eva walked this Earth she maintained a countless number of devotees and each of them sought refuge at her place whenever they needed to.

So if you were looking for the broke young railroad worker who was waiting for his first paycheck, you would have found him over at Eva’s having a good hot meal.

If you were looking for the German lady who felt homesick and isolated, you would have found her over at Eva’s making a connection.

If you were looking for the scared latch key kid, you would have found her over at Eva’s feeling more secure.

If you were looking for the young gay man who felt rejected, you would have found him over at Eva’s experiencing acceptance.

Clearly Ms. Eva set a very high standard.  At her place, she provided much needed light to those who had been navigating in darkness.

Earlier this year I decided to find a broader way in which to pick up where she dropped off; so I started this blog.

Ultimately, I’d like to see this blog become a virtual version of Ms. Eva’s place.  Basically, I envision a digital sanctuary for all who are seeking light.

Yes, I recognize that this is a tall order but I think mama would approve ❤ 🙂

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doggy as The Teacher

Angel 2

I have loved dogs for as long as I can remember.  In fact, one of my earliest memories was of my dad asking me to name our newest pooch.  I was only 3 years old and my vocabulary was considerably small so I blurted out the first thing that came to mind and that was “Sheppy!”  You might be wondering where I got that name.  My best guess is that it was a childish corruption of the word ‘Shepherd.’  Clearly, I must have overheard my parents mention that our new dog was a German Shepherd.  ‘Sheppy’ was the closest approximation to ‘Shepherd’ that I could muster.

Believe it or not, Sheppy was one of my first and greatest teachers.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that I was always the best student.  But that never seemed to matter to Sheppy; he simply kept repeating the lessons. Now you might be wondering how a dog could act as an instructor.  Well let me answer that!  Sheppy used a teaching technique called ‘modeling.’  In essence, Sheppy modeled the traits that I, and most of you, will spend a lifetime trying to acquire.  Let’s get specific!  Sheppy modeled unconditional love, acceptance, loyalty, affection and fierce protectiveness.  Frankly, I don’t have enough space to write about all of the traits that Sheppy modeled; dog owners will know what I mean.  Regardless, Sheppy was determined to lead by example.  Alas, after years of repeatedly attempting to teach me these important traits, my dear Master Sheppy Flowers ultimately shuffled off this mortal coil.  For those of you who dislike Shakespearean references, Sheppy died.  Needless to say, I was sad for quite a while.

But, as you might have guessed, Sheppy wasn’t the last dog in my life.  In fact, he was the first of at least fifteen.  And, as a result, I learned that every dog is essentially a teacher who is trying to convey the traits that I mentioned above.  With that said, I would eventually take lessons from other “teachers” like Champ, Lil Gal, Princess and Frisky.  One of my more memorable teachers was Bones.  My dad brought Bones, who was very ill, to our home with the intention of caring for him until he died.  In essence, dad was providing doggy hospice.  Dad and I loved, fed and nurtured Bones until he peacefully passed away.  From this experience, I learned that all sentient beings deserve to be cared for and loved; even unto death. Although it was tough letting Bones go, I took solace in knowing that his last weeks were filled with affection, love and comfort.  Aha! I had begun to catch on! Lesson learned.

At any rate, I am happy to announce that my current teacher is Angel.  She is the Pomeranian pictured above.  I can assure you that age has taught me to pay closer attention to the lessons this time around 🙂

What have your pets taught you?

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In memory of my dogs (I included their breeds for those interested in knowing):

Champ–German Shepherd

Sheppy–German Shepherd

Bones, Princess and Demon–Doberman Pinschers

Lil’ Gal and Frisky–Beagles

Prince–Cocker Spaniel

RA–Rottweiler

And all the other dogs that Daddy cared for over the years.