Out of the Grey Twilight

One of the things I like about South America is that they name streets and plazas after important days in their history. One can see almost anywhere a street named 9 de Agosto or 24 de Septiembre. Though they mean almost absolutely nothing to me (except September 24th is Carmen’s, my sister-in-law, birthday) they have grown into something to celebrate, something to remember, something to reflect on what they were before and what they became after.

I believe April 18th will always have this importance to me. Today, the 18th of April, is exactly a year since a stepped on Peruvian soil to embrace the work that the Lord had called me to do. More importantly, however, it is my mom’s birthday. If you will indulge me a little, I was hoping to dedicate this blog to my mom, Mary Ann Michael.

Where should I begin to describe my mother? She is probably the most wonderful person I know in this world. She is so beautiful, though in her humility she would never admit it. I was so fortunate to inherit her dark eyes and auburn hair. She is intelligent, and discerning, and has a depth of wisdom not seen in many people. She has always been so committed to the Lord and so insistent about doing the right thing. My mom used to tell me when I was faced with a decision that had any moral weight, “I trust you will do the right thing.” Of course this was enough for me to do the right thing. Her commitment to us as a family was second to none, and we never did without. But more importantly she was always there for us, always ready to listen, always there when we needed her.

She is probably the coolest mother in the world as well. On any given day, walking into the house I could always find my mom so content to be watching a baseball game (it could be just as well be basketball, hockey, or football) while doing a load of clothes (usually mine). At all my games from little league to high school she kept my all my stats, no matter what the sport. After the game she would usually give me advice on how I could have played better. She one time caught for me when I used to pitch to help me warm up. Though after receiving a wild pitch in the throat we decided it best not to do that anymore. Since I have been down in South America she always giving me updates on the major sports and it is great that we share the same passionate hatred for Duke, Atlanta Braves, Dallas Cowboys, and the Boston Redsox. She also loves action flicks and novels. And at the same time she has a love for cats, even though at one time she was allergic. I can also say that I have had some of my best talks on theology and life with her, and she always listens despite my nonsense.

I think her greatest legacy has been her battles with Cancer, and how she has overcome them one by one through the strength of our Gracious Father. She has been diagnosed with cancer four different times, and it has been through this that she has allowed herself to grow, to trust, and to come out of it stronger every time. She used to say if she could only see all her kids graduate that she would be so thankful. And that day came, and I started to realize how precious she saw each and everyday. Her continual faith has been the greatest example I have ever seen and I could not be more blessed.

And so today is her birthday and her son is a million miles away. It was on her birthday this time last year that I last saw her. She has been my biggest supporter since I have been here and it was she that instilled in me a belief that I could do anything, because she always believed in me. And so here I am.

She gave me this quote from Theodore Roosevelt that says,

¨The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails…but rather the one who moves on in spite of failure. Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumph, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with these poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory or defeat.¨

And so on the 18th of April I finally stepped out of the grey twilight that I had known for so long I became willing to be in the arena where I would face many defeats and many victories and lay my life in the hands of my Lord and trust that that alone is victory. What I have learned since I have been down here though I have always seen it in my mother is that great men are not great because of their accomplishments, for if anything those are given from the Lord, but it is how a man face circumstances no matter how beautiful, or how dire.

My mother taught me this if only by living it. And for her, for all that she is, I am thankful to the Father who lavishes us undeserving creatures with such a blessing. For her I celebrate the 18th of April, and if I was Peruvian I would name a street after this day.
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3 Responses to Out of the Grey Twilight

  1. Graham,Wow! What a sweet entry…Thanks for your kind words…I guess it makes up for the time we didn’t know you had your first skull fracture until we found the second or when you had that terrific basketball game and I told you that you needed to work on your free throws….I haven’t always been the smartest mom in the world but you’ve always made me proud!Mom

  2. Kent says:

    Great blog! I guess this is the reason you’re mom’s favorite. I’m too busy writing about rednecks with mullets and here you are…writing about mom. Kudos to you brother.

  3. Pingback: Some Thoughts on Family | The Michaels

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