By Meredith Bunting
I never thought of my mother as having a working knowledge of the Bible, yet she had a way of sharing her version of the Word quite effectively.
When something surprised her, caught her off guard, and didn’t work out as she had expected or planned, Mom got over it quick. “I’ll be damned!” she would decree, and move on. I don’t believe my mother was condemning herself so much as her thoughts and opinions that had proved her to be in error. When I, who had never finished college and had been better known for my emotional outbursts and over-drawn checking account, was hired to open and manage a 5 star health club, “I’ll be…” had been her comment and highest compliment.
Mom maintained some pretty heady authority and appeared to wield holy power. She was a woman of strong opinion bordering on haughty single mindedness. If someone were to differ with her and venture into an argument, she’d turn on her heel and dismiss the whole conversation. “To hell with you!” she’d say, not to indict her adversary, but to eliminate any fact or idea that possibly implied she had been mistaken. My mother was always right.
When I was a teen ager with a pocket book bulging full of makeup, my mother told me I was flirtatious, fanciful, and a figment of my own imagination. Only she said it in one convicting sentence straight from the Bible.
“Meredith, thy name is Vanity.”
Did she mean it as a compliment or a curse? That I still feel guilty at my age when I buy mascara, eye shadow, and lipstick is a clear indication the name stuck. My cosmetic drawer full of a myriad of colorful facial paints and cover-ups and my unabashed misery over the ravages of age prove the lifetime curse to be right on. Thanks Mom.
My mother was not all fire and brimstone. She did have redeeming qualities and she showed me her love in many different ways, though she did keep me guessing. I never quite knew where I stood with her. But one day when we were driving along to go shopping (her very favorite activity), I blurted out the anger and bitterness I had been feeling after someone I loved had deeply hurt me.
“Mom,” I said, “I feel like I’m full of hate. How will God forgive me?”
Giving me a rare glimpse of her holy wisdom, my mother told me something I didn’t know about myself.
“You are not capable of hate. You may feel frustrated and mad, but you would never hate. You are filled with love.”
If I could have stopped the car, I would have hugged her. Instead I shook my head and said, “Well, I’ll be damned!”
Meredith Bunting enjoys writing poetry and personal stories, especially those through which God shines. She also writes devotions for KPC Connect, her church’s website offering people daily inspiration and encouragement. Meredith lives in Chesapeake, Virginia with her two dogs and husband, and is surrounded by three daughters and eight rollicking grandchildren. Writing is how she stays immersed in this, her full cup of joy.