I would just like to say a few brief words in this week’s blog about Miss Fannie Lee, for you see, everyone who knows me knows that is the term of endearment I used for mama. It was not out of disrespect, but rather out of deep, abideth love and respect for her. For you see, Miss Fannie Lee was the best. Everyone knew it. That is one of the reasons why they took time to come and celebrate her life.
What a deep, profound statement it is to be able to say, “To know her, was to love her”. Mama never, ever bad mouthed anyone, but rather things and situations. One of her favorite things to say whenever she heard bad news was “We are living in………..dangerous, perilous times!” Mama kept herself abreast at how terrible the world has become and between you and me, she was ready to go home.
In fact, she was so ready, we had to tell her, quite often, mind you, “Mama, slow down. The Lord is going to call you home when HE is ready. Stop trying to rush him. For you see, she did love life, but she missed my dad. She missed my grandmother. She missed my brother. It is a hard thing, this aging thing, to watch all those you love, slowly leave, one by one. There is a sense of being left behind, a sense of longing and leaving that sometimes overrides the desire to push on. And that was evident in mama. We all saw it.
But it did not mean that she had checked out of life. On the contrary, she loved everyone around her. There was no stranger that mama did not greet. And another phrase she used was “Good Morning! Isn’t this a beautiful day?”. I don’t care if it was raining or snowing, sleeting or shining. She would call me or I would call her and the first thing she said was “Isn’t this a beautiful day?”
For she saw the day not with the eyes that you and I see it, defined by the weather, but she saw it as a blessing from God to be awakened, to experience another day of living. And for that, she honored God and thanked him. Just for the day, itself. Every day was a present from God.
For you see, my mother required very little in this life. Material things did not phase her. nor did she desire them. She was just as comfortable with very little and quite often would not want to accept lavishness and gifts that she had very little use for. She was simple. She was unassuming. She was content.
She also prayed each day for family and friends, thanking God for their safety. That’s all she wanted. She wanted the sun to go down on their safety and she wanted to wake up knowing they had safely made it through the night.
Mama was quick to forgive. I never ever saw her hold grudges against anyone. If anyone mistreated her, she forgave. She empathized. She would say, “Maybe they are having a bad day” How many of us can do that? We are quick to anger, quick to judge and quick to want to tell others how much they hurt us. But not mama. She would pray for them instead. That woman you saw on a Sunday morning was the exact same woman you saw Monday through Saturday. She did not put on her church behavior. She lived righteously and consistently bowing to the Father’s Will.
I try to be like her. I tried to make her disposition, my disposition. People often say, you look just like Fannie, but boy oh boy, you have a lot of Johnny in you. Now I know, that is a round about complement. Cause again, those of you who know Johnny, knew he was fiesty, firey, quick to anger and quick to lash out. So telling me I am like Johnny is saying….well you know it’s saying. In fact, even my ex-husband said, “I thought I was marrying Fannie, but it seems I married Johnny”.
We can’t make ourselves into something we are not. What we can do is strive to be like that person, and more important, be like the Father, for that was her role model. We can strive to change our perspective so we can emulate, imitate and eventually own the good qualities they show, while fully understanding that we cannot do it on our own, but through the power and through the help of the Holy Spirit. Your actions are your choices. You can choose to take the high road. You can choose to follow Jesus. You can choose to put your hope and trust in God. That is what mama did. And if we have learned nothing else from her, we can choose to treat everybody right.
For you see God tells us in His Word in Matthew 22:37-40…Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.‘ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Mama lived by those two commands. That’s all it took. She consistently lived it. And for that reason, I can say, “Rest now mama in God’s arms”.
“You have fought the good fight. You have done the two things in life we are called to do. You have loved God with your whole heart, soul and mind. And you have loved your brothers as yourself.
And for that reason I know the Father will say, ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant’. Enter into your rest'”
So Lastly, if I can leave you with only one thing, that would be…she would want me to tell you to do those two things. Life is too short. We don’t get to do a “do-over”. We must strive to do good.
She is the perfect example that it can be done. You know I love the picture of mama and Dahshi walking towards the ocean. It is a photo taken a couple years ago when we all went to Jamaica for Dahshi and Sandra’s wedding. As soon as we got to the hotel and walked through the lobby, Dahshi took mama’s arm and walked her out of the lobby and said “Let me show you paradise grandma”. And she was totally blown away by the revelation and manisfestation of God in the beauty of the ocean in that moment.
Well can you imagine now, what she is seeing in being with the Father? I know many people quote 1 Cor. 2:9 The problem is that 1 Corinthians 2:9 should never be quoted without including 1 Corinthians 2:10. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
But we must include verse 10 also. For it says: these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
As my study Bible tells us: “The glories of heaven will be just that – they will be glorious. Our Human imagination can not truly conceive of the majesty of life when we step into the immediate presence of God. But, this reality, and many of its actual elements, have be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through Scripture”. She got that. She understood.
Mama was truly throughout her life guided by the Holy Spirit, through reading the Bible, praying and seeing God at work around her. She just did not wait for her heavenly reward, she accepted it during this life and boy oh boy did it make a difference in her life. Her circumstances in life may not have been the best. In fact, judging by the world’s standards, her life would not be described as successful. But judging by heavenly standards, she was beyond rich. For you see she did not build up earthly treasures but rather heavenly ones. Her life was a blue print on how one can do that.
A greater testimony, one cannot have. So even though we will miss her, we rejoice today, as a family thanking the Good Lord above for giving her to us for 89 years. That was our earthly gift. But the greatest gift of all is the gift of salvation, purchased through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She accepted that gift wisely and early on. You all have that same opportunity to do the same. She would want you to know that and to accept it too.
So long mama…..