The Evergreen Journal #9
March 3, 2022
Our early morning phone call was at 5:30. Mom and I could walk for a couple hours before the sun got hot. We were early birds on those summer mornings long ago.
She answered my call, “Yes, I’m ready. Let’s go.”
Mom was always ready to go – anywhere.
She had a zest for life that was unmistakable to anyone who met her. In addition to our morning walks, Mom also was a member of our village Methodist church “Prayer Chain.”
Precisely, at 9 am, Mom got her morning call. She stood ready with her pen in hand, and she carefully wrote down each person’s prayer need for that day. After making sure she had them all correct, she would call the next person down the line and share the information. This was her morning ritual when she returned from her walk.
I put on my walking shoes and stepped out into the darkness.
Mom would have been doing the same thing. We both began walking, and soon, we would meet at the mid-point between our two homes. As I looked up the steep hill, I saw a darker figure coming down from the top of the concrete road in the early morning mist.
This was our regular morning routine in the summertime in western Pennsylvania. Some days we walked for three miles. Our goal was always to be coming home by 7:30 because the sun would be getting high, and it would be too hot for us.
Mom was my best friend, but I did not realize it at that time.
As we walked along in the mornings, she was always excited about reading in her favorite Guideposts magazine. Mom loved to share the stories of faith and encouragement.
As we walked along, she often commented about a knee that hurt or how her fingers were sore. “I soaked my hands in hot water this morning because they were so stiff, and they hurt.” Her fingers were twisted from this disease and eventually she would not even be able to grasp anything with those hands. She seldom complained but I knew that anything that caused such disfiguration of the hands must be intensely painful. Mom was a trooper and in all my years of being with her, I cannot remember a time when she was not optimistic and hopeful. Mom’s thoughts were usually on taking care of her family and ministering to friends and strangers.
Mom’s generosity was the core of who she was.
As a little girl, I clearly remember how Mom would feed the railroad tramps that would find their way to our home. She invited them into our living room and gave whatever she had cooked for dinner. One tramp told her, “This cake is so good, you must be Betty Crocker!”
We used to think there must be some sort of mark placed by our home because those men all seemed to know that at our house, they would get a meal. We never did know how they found our home. Some said that a secret mark was on the mailbox in front of the house. We never knew. We all learned that Mom had no fear of anyone. We learned to be hospitable to everyone because our mother was our role model.
She had arthritis, but the pain and discomfort usually dissipated as we walked the miles. Our minds were focused on the beauty of the surrounding area, flowers blooming, and bird songs or dogs barking at us as we walked along the shady country road that snakes along the Connoquenessing Creek. It is the same creek that I can look out my office window, today, and watch the movement beyond the trees.
At the beginning of this new year, 2022, I walked through my living room. Mom’s Bible was there on the glass top of the coffee table.
I thought about how this Bible was in Mom’s hands as visitors came to pay their last respects to her. Her Bible was her Owner’s Manual for life.
I picked the Bible up and felt the heft of that book, as I carried it into my office.
This just might be something that will be a good project for me this year. I will read from her Bible.
In January, I chose one word for the entire year. This is my eighth year to do it. I also chose a book in the Bible that I wanted to focus on – Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Yes, I will read from this book each morning, I decided.
My decision was unusual because I am visually impaired.
I read texts by using my computer with a speech reader. I have to read using technology because I cannot see a text with my poor vision.
There is only one way I could read her Bible with my eyes. It would take a lot of time to do. And that is precisely what I wanted. I desired to read the passages so slowly that they would be planted in my mind like seeds in a spring garden.
I am a visual learner.
That means that if something is not pictured in my mind, I really don’t retain it. I have to have an image to study and learn when reading. After fifteen years of sight loss, my ears have never pretended to be my eyes. Reading with my ears is still quite unsatisfactory. Yes, I decided I would definitely read Mom’s Bible with my eyes. I will use my wonderful Merlin CCTV and I will read with my eyes using this closed-circuit television screen!
For my reading focus right now, I am reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans. My goodness! Reading this letter seems like I am right there with him. The book was written around 57-58 CE, to the faithful Followers of Jesus in Rome. Perhaps we can talk about that another day. Read More About Romans Here
Esther Luella Kirker McKinney closed her eyes for the final time on March 3, 2007, at Jameason Hospital, New Castle, PA.
She was surrounded by her three children, Thomas, Patricia, and Lynda.
We knew that our father, William Joseph McKinney, was there waiting for her, along with our brother.
As she was getting ready to leave this world, we told her that her son, David William McKinney, was already there awaiting her arrival. This must have been a wonderful surprise when she passed through the veil – for we had not told her of David’s death because she was very sick at that time. Now, she would see him for herself as she arrived.
David died on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2007.
©2022. Lynda McKinney Lambert.