Sunday, May 14, 2017

Pep Talk: "Make Mom Proud"

Mother’s Day 2017. Thoughts begin with Patricia Sue Perry, who gave me life. Others to honor: A step mom and my late father’s devoted companion for almost 30 years; a darling bride who is an incredible step mom to my two children; their mothers and my formers; a sister and sisters-in-law and all moms. For the life created within, there is no love like a mother’s.

Thanks to all.

Back to Patsy. These are interesting times in the octogenarian’s journey. This past year brought a significant health scare. However, the self-proclaimed “Farm Girl” had a miraculous recovery, quit smoking (another miracle) and continues a spirited attempt to discover peace on this roller coaster called life.

Images of my mother powerfully plowed into cranium while sitting in the audience recently listening to Father Greg Boyle's keynote address at the 2017 Colorado Prayer Luncheon. It’s an annual gathering of faith-based, governmental and business leaders. A call for unity in understanding the critical importance of ALL community sectors working together to lessen a troubling and growing problem. There’s too many isolated, vulnerable and displaced folks in the Mile High City, Centennial State and beyond.

“Know your story, tell your story and be the hero of your story,” offered the founder and executive director of Home Boy Industries. It’s a Los Angeles-based non profit that has done a great job for more than 20 years of, through enterprising job creation, re-integrating gang members into society as healthy and productive contributors.

“Be the hero of your story” kept resonating while thinking of a woman still cognitively sharp as a tack. I love our frequent phone conversations (she lives in Kansas City, Kansas) because mom certainly has an opinion, often different. Which leads to occasional heated debates (she’d call them arguments) where each of us defends a viewpoint. I pray she’s the hero of her story. I pray that for anybody.

A Stronger Cord's “Service Saturdays” place a heavy emphasis on caring for the elderly.  Our community outreach wellness movement does it through a partnership with the non profit, Bessie's Hope. America’s seniors are too isolated. The mother of four lives in a retirement/assisted living community. We talk about that experience often. Elders have much to still offer. Tragically, too many are warehoused and don’t have many opportunities to contribute.

It’s really the same for our nation’s growing homeless population. Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper, also a speaker at the luncheon, offered a startling statistic: “40% of Colorado’s homeless work at least 30 hours a week.” Homeless working folks. That’s a problem. Denver’s high cost of housing compounds it.

What to do? About the elderly? Homeless? Another Boyle gem encouraged the gathered to change the question from, “What to do?” to “What will happen to us?” 

Happy Mother’s Day to the givers and nurturers of life. This week, let’s be givers of hope. Let’s venture to society’s margins. Go beyond our comfort zone. As Boyle says, “Not to make a difference but to become different.”

Let’s make mom proud.

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