Still on Highway 411

Herald-News July 31, 2013

“Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

Do you know any good Mother-in-Law jokes?

If someone told me a good one, I would laugh if it was funny. But I would want to follow-up by saying how great my mother-in-law is. Yes, we tease each other all the time—I, of course, respectfully…though she chuckles at her put-downs, insults, and wisecracks about me.

My own mother died just before I married Mom’s firstborn. I deeply loved my biological mother, but life with her was complicated and I was immature. It’s been much simpler with Mom—she just lives righteously, loves deeply, and asks nothing in return. We’ve gotten along pretty well these forty plus years, and she is just Mom to me.

That points to something especially admirable about Mom (Dad, too). She just accepts “outlaws” into her life and family. She has a devoted and very successful biological son. But I never feel like a bench player. I’m part of the starting lineup. Now, Cheryl and I get to do this with our own sons-in-law. How good to have a pattern to follow.

Cheryl and I just came back from traveling with Mom and Dad to see their granddaughter and great grandkids. We traveled well together, sharing stories and ideas for many hours over many interstates. Mom’s zest for life was evident all weekend. Once, in the car, I could almost feel her eyes twinkle as we traveled Highway 411—the same road she did with Dad six decades ago. She crowed over the Robin’s egg-blue Mercury she first dated Dad in. She was a newly-wed all over again as she gushed over their second car, a 1938 Ford. She was especially delighted about the rumble seat. I can see her hair blowing in the wind as they traveled up Highway 411 through Fairmont, Georgia, on the way to see her parents in Flintstone. She’s still quite the romantic. (Could that, in part, be why Cheryl is that way, too?)

She’s got a North American continent-sized heart for people in need. She is a passionate patriot. She loves Jesus.

Saturday, she wanted to see her granddaughter’s big garden. The ground was uneven and Mom grabbed my arm to steady her. I liked that a lot.

Mom follows a renowned biblical list of in-laws. I guess the most famous coupling including a mother-in-law would be Ruth and Naomi. It’s a sad time in history when families mistreat or neglect each other. Naomi had in-laws that abandoned her. But Scripture says Ruth followed her. The bitterness of Naomi at her losses and needs was silenced when the loyalty and determination of Ruth became clear. Naomi took an outsider into her life and heart.

If you have in-laws of any sort, treat them like a biblical Ruth and Naomi would. Loyal. Attached. Sacrificial. Like Mom.

Mom’s name is Jewel. And she is one.

2 Responses to “Still on Highway 411”

  1. 1 Gam-ma McDaniel August 2, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Thank you, Son………this meant the world to me! You made my day, my week, my month! …..You’ve blessed our lives immensely and we love you as our own..


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