REFLECTIONS

REFLECTIONS

Sunday, April 30, 2017

NURTURING ARMS OF LOVE

    There is just something built inside, a God-given spirit to nurture. Some of us recognize it earlier than others, and for some it’s fulfilled in different ways.
    As this Mother’s Day draws near, I am once again reminded that this imagery we tend to have of MOTHER is that of first taking that solid little body into our arms to hold in gentle firmness against our breasts while at the same moment holding forever in our hearts. However, the point of view from the infant at that time is one of looking around in wonder. Recent thoughts have come to mind that from the child, there is a great deal forever unrecognized about their mother.
    One way that has come to light has been in that my mother was a firm believer that animals helped teach children responsibility. Thus, we had a family dog, my brother and I each had a cat at one point. One late spring day as I walked home from our country school, my mother and my brother, Kent, age 12, were huddled in the grass by our house when I heard Kent, as though upset, say, “Don’t let Marilyn see this!”  Mamma hurried me right into the house and told me, “Sonny Boy is dying.” What? Sonny Boy was my beloved, smooth-haired, yellow and white striped kitten. How could he be dying? He was too young to die! (This was right after WW2 and vet visits were for people with more money than we had, plus country cats were just that – country cats.) Sonny Boy had worms, apparently from an unhealthy mother. My 8-year-old broken heart must have been nothing compared to the one my brother suffered as a result of his careful attendance of Sonny Boy’s death and probable burial. Hopefully, his Jeep cat brought him some cuddling comfort, or, more likely, our dog, Peggy.
    Not too long after, when we visited our maternal grandparents, as so often was true, there were kittens for our playing pleasure. This time, having asked permission from my parents beforehand, Grammie gently picked one tiny grayish-striped one with an almost black pointy tail from the box , offered it to me with the explanation, “The mother kitty of this one is old. She doesn’t have enough milk for all of her babies. If you think you can raise this one, she can be yours, but you will have to feed her milk from a dolly’s bottle for a while.”
    “Oh, yes, Grammie! Yes, I can do it! Thank you!”  Thus, baby kitty was passed from grandmother’s hands into my waiting, cradled arms. Today, I can almost relive the ride home in the one-seat pick-up truck , still cuddling my mewling kitten, and Daddy’s wondering, “What have we gotten ourselves into this time?” attitude. (He was not fond of cats, but he did love his little girl!)
   
We named this beautiful, almost Maine Coon Kitten, Tippy because she had white tips, one on each of her four paws. With her close-up striking coloring view of tan-black-white, she had a defined “M” in her forehead. Mamma told me that was for Marilyn. Tippy thrived on her diet of milk; I thrived on being her mamma as I had to hand-feed her several times each day and sometimes during the night those first few nights! She suffered through my dressing her in doll clothes and loved being cuddled close. Within a year or so she became a mamma kitty herself and before long we all became city folk. Tippy tolerated the move well until several years later she got poison somehow, “probably from killing a poisoned rat,” and after most of a week at the vet’s which our family could ill-afford, the vet said, “She lived just because she wanted to.” She also had God and prayers on her side and a good vet who was opened New Year’s weekend!
Following that episode, her health declined and there came a time in which we knew the best parts of her life had passed. Having the services of a vet was a blessing and with the decision made, my mother took the deed upon herself. This was no simple task: my mother did not drive and Daddy was at work during vet hours. My brother was away in the AF. and so while I was in school, my mother (once again in helping me avoid the pain of separation) took Tippy on the bus, likely having to change buses at least once on what was about a 5-mile trek one way, to the vet. We did not have a kennel, so Tippy was probably cuddled close to my mother’s tremoring breast all the way. Wiping tears that had to have been falling must have been painful, troublesome, and even a bit embarrassing all along the way. How I wish I had been thoughtful enough to go with her! So often that thought returns when I remember this trip my mother made to save me from pain.
    This was all brought back to me “in full living color” this past week as I writhed in my mind over what our daughter and her daughter were painfully suffering. A far different time, but not such a different scenario was being played out. A little girl once asked, “Can I please keep this kitten? I’ll even pay to have her fixed.” And so a companionship began for the kitty’s lifetime with the little girl through high school-college-into marriage but now Minny Kitty needed medical care that the vet felt could be accomplished with surgery since all the blood tests indicated “Okay.” Minny Kitty had been brought to the trusted vet at the growing-up home and since her Emily Girl had to return to her home to work, the grandmother person, the “Mama’s Momma”, was there to nurture and comfort. The antibiotics for an ear issue were given faithfully until that last evening prior to surgery when Minny Kitty seemed to say, “Not tonight. I’m tired. I’m old. Surgery is not the answer.” With the signs given of a possible stroke and past the vet’s open hours, the Mama-Grand-momma sat holding Minny Kitty in as comfortable a position as tolerable for her while both were on the floor. A little mewing from Minny Kitty seemed to say, “Thank you for loving me so much,” as she took another brief breath or two and went to sleep in the nurturing arms of love.
     For those same nurturing arms of love that once first held her baby Emily Shae back to the arms of my mother who once first held and nurtured me, little knowing the prices they would pay for loving us so much, beyond the pain they had just endured, we could ask, “Would you do it again, or is it too high a personal price?”   
    Perhaps this simile answers well:
“You see only the best views
when you have climbed to
the top of the mountain.”

© M Sue Libby Moore




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

WELL-CHOSEN

Our mother was a widow 39 years, lacking a very few days. When our dad passed suddenly all those years before, she had no hesitation in exactly what was to be on his tombstone: Psalm 1.
Each time I hear it spoken or see it written, I am reminded of how fitting of Daddy and how wise of Mamma 's choice.

"Through the Bible In A Year"

Chronological Reading for Today:

Psalm 1New American Standard Bible (NASB)

BOOK 1

The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A PAGE FROM THE PAST - LITERALLY

In searching for something else, I  came across this summation of the summer following my daddy's death.in March, my mother had come to live with us, our youngest had just turned 4, the other two were 6 and 8, and John's new job took him miles and days away ~ thankfully summer came:
 I'm unsure who the BUDDING vAN GOGH was!
This was on the back side of the page.
 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

DADDY - FIFTY YEARS - BUT SO MUCH CLOSER IN MEMORY

WILMER MADISON LIBBY April 17, 1910-March 8, 1967 
    When I think of Daddy I see a man whose life was spent serving God and his fellowman.
    He had much respect, compassion, and great love for the elderly or infirm. If there were a task that needed to be done and for some reason he couldn't do it himself, he’d try to set it up so another could.
   Daddy never shied away from hard work. He worked as a machinist making airplane parts during WW2. He dug and planted home gardens for produce. He swung a large scythe to empty the fields of hay at our home in the country in West Garland, Maine, hung a rope swing from a butternut tree for me, and dammed up the brook so our family and friends could have a swimming hole. He was a talented mechanic and kept our old cars on the road. To save money and wear and tear on the cars when we lived in Bangor during the 1950’s, regardless of the weather, Daddy walked about 14 blocks to the downtown area where he could take a bus the 15 or so miles to his work at the Old Town machine shop. Another of his talents was the ability to repair clocks and he did so with a chiming wonder that belonged to my maternal Grandmother Glidden. He even found and took time many evenings in West Garland to play Dominoes with us.
    He thoroughly enjoyed good music. He appreciated his sister's accordion-playing, always with his foot tapping the beat. He played the harmonica well but not often. In Bangor, with a smile on his face, he listened to radio play-by-play of the local basketball team, particularly during the years we had friends involved as team- members. When the time arrived that we had a TV, watching and listening to the weekly Liberace Show became a "must". Again, the foot-tapping accompanied the lively piano music.
    He also appreciated good humor. Whenever I see an ad for The Globetrotters, I always think of Daddy's laughter as he   watched their antics on TV. I hear it again when I watch any bit of the Roadrunner and Wylie Coyote cartoons or see the Lucy and Charlie Brown comics during football season.
    In his last years Daddy, chose to leave his work as a machinist and become a full-time minister because he wanted to share all he could of what he had learned in his own walk as a follower of Christ.  
    Daddy was a man of few words so when he spoke people knew he had something to say. He said much by simply living.

DADDY IN HOULTON, MAINE, DOING WHAT HE OFTEN DID THERE  THE WEEK HE DIED THE   TEMPS WERE 30 BELOW ZERO.
 THE HOULTON, MAINE CHURCH BUILDING. THE NIGHT DADDY DIED ROM A MASSIVE HEART ATTACK ABOUT A MONTH BEFORE HIS 57TH BIRTHDAY, HE WAS STUDYING FOR HIS SUNDAY LESSON. JOHN E. MOORE, AGE 27, USED THOSE NOTES AND BROUGHT THAT LESSON THE DAY FOLLOWING THE FUNERAL.


THE LAST PHOTO TAKEN OF 
WILMER AND SUSIE ("MIMI") LIBBY IN LATE 1966.

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

VOICES FROM THE PAST

    

During our song service this past Sunday morning Justin Thornton led the hymn, “There Was One Who Was Willing.” There are some songs, hymns in particular, that bring the voices of particular people to my head and to my heart with such clarity, I can nearly feel the presence of certain persons. Am I the only one with such feelings, or do you recognize them as similar?
    “There Was One Who Was Willing.” always brings a return to my teen years of singing soprano in response to my mother’s request to “Please come sing with me.” She had a wonderful gift of true harmony and while she generally sang alto, on this song, her voice smoothly transitioned to the high tenor. While I would thoroughly enjoy having a recording of one of our sessions, particularly one that would include this hymn, I don’t really have to because it is so well embedded in my musical memory box. Without having to be wound up, it plays each time I hear the song. I am thankful. 
    Another voice I hear is that of my daddy when we sing “Without Him”. Daddy and George Beverly Shea had unforgettable timbres of similar quality. As I recall, that hymn gained popularity not too long prior to my daddy’s death, but I know he favored it in more ways than one. 
     Of the myriad that does stand out to me, another song I respect more than I alone would have chosen, is ”Worthy Art Thou” that we seldom sing. After Daddy died, I found his easy-recognize-pencil-handwriting by the title simply stating, “Good Song”. Coming from Daddy it meant I must pay closer heed to its words.
    Before that, there was a summer day when our young family of four, John and I, with Beth, 3-and-1/2, and Chip, 1-and-1/2, were house-hunting. We were in our Plymouth that shortly before had suffered a burned-out clutch at the end of a very long day of travel, while we were hauling a U-Haul type trailer that held all our earthly belongings.  With a good night’s rest and a once again road-ready car, we were driving through neighborhoods, looking for “For Rent” signs when we passed the church building. From the back seat, Beth started to sing, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”  Lesson taken, little girl. I cannot say for sure, but I don’t think that hymn has EVER been led in an assembly of which I have been a part, but what the memory of that young voice in song has returned to my head and my heart.
    I’ve read of touches of humor in relation to how, before they can read, children misunderstand words of hymns. Here’s one that stays in my music memory. I was tending nursery the last day our son, Chip, was at services before he left to serve in the USAF, so I didn’t hear this, but was told about it later. Because I knew the petite, 6-year-old blond who sat beside our son, I could well imagine how her ability to project her singing voice sounded as she sang out her praises, “And His glory is exhausted, And His glory is exhausted, And His glory is exhausted far above the earth and sky.” Michelle, to this day you are unforgettable! You brought so many smiles, not only on that day, but also on many days since.
     The scripture says, “A happy heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) Singing these songs and hearing the voices from the past is uplifting. Have any of these tales brought any memories of similar hymns/songs stories from your hearts? If so, why don’t you share? We’d really love to hear them!
© M Sue
2-28-17

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MY PRECOCIOUS CHILD



My child, at two, you sang
the names
of the apostles with me.
It was quite an accomplishment
for a child of two
To wrap your tiny tongue around
those names.
It was more than
some adults ventured to do!
More than once we smiled with pride
as you sang
and quoted on ---
“Jesus called them
one by one –
Peter, Andrew, James,
and - - - *Daddy!”
(*Well, you knew you weren’t
supposed to call him John!)
© M Sue

2-23-2017