When I left my Mississippi home in my twenties to explore career opportunities, I excitedly eloped from the cotton fields and the country landscape to the skyscrapers, bright lights / big city surroundings. My résumé was figuratively glued to my hand; ready to be presented in a jack flash minute. I was as thrilled about the geographical change as I was about the career opportunities. As I pondered what position would be worthy of my talents, I couldn’t wait to establish roots.
My Mother was eager for me to be a productive contributor to my life’s expenses as well. Encouraging me to explore the secular world, she gave me stimulating, unforgettable admonition on another front. “Make sure that you join church up there. Everybody needs their name on a church’s roll.”
After I became a productive member of the work force, she routinely reminded me of her spiritual advice. “If you can get up and go to your workplace five days a week, it would be sinful to sleep in on Sundays. Get up and go into the house of the Lord. Child, I don’t want to get to Heaven and not see you there!”
Thank you Momma for annoying me! You definitely made me a better person in so many areas. I joined church in Cleveland, Ohio and I am there (God willing) every Sunday just like you taught me.
Unbeknownst to me, I found myself providing the same admonition to my children. Distinctively in 2002, before returning to Cleveland, I remember telling my daughter when I dropped her off at college in Atlanta, “Remember what I taught you. Do the same things here that you did at home. You went to church at home, do the same here.” My daughter joined church in Atlanta; she attended religiously. Recognizably similar, those were the same words that my Mother told me; just uttered differently. Wow! We do become our Mothers, don’t we?
Photo Reprint: Bethlehem No. 2 MB Church, Shaw, Mississippi; Photographer – Tom Rankin.