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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Words of Love and Duty: Remembering Oma (Nov 22, 1907-Nov 8, 2003)

   Eleven years ago today my Oma on my mom's side went to be with the Lord.  I'm not always a date-conscious person but this morning I woke up thinking of my Oma.  She, along with her husband, raised ten children and all of them are still living today.
   My aunts and uncles were reminiscing with each other via email regarding some of things they can still "hear" her say as they go about their daily lives.  Some of these proverbs have surely been passed on to their children, prefaced by, "Oma used to say..."  From their amalgamated lists of memorable sayings, I selected four of them, which are related by the theme of love and duty.  Since they are being presented in translation from Dutch, please bear with me.

 "What you do in order to help out today becomes your job tomorrow"
This was a warning to be careful what we take upon ourselves.  These tasks could become permanently assigned to us. She probably spoke from experience, especially growing up in a culture where honour and doing your duty were highly valued.  If you refused to follow through with your duties, you could experience a sense of shame.

"You can still do this for your mother"
This was a prompt to recognize that the relationships and things we take for granted are temporary. Whatever unwelcome chore was being urged on the child was reframed as an opportunity to serve the one who brought you into the world and who someday will not be there anymore.

"Later on you will regret it, and then you won't be able to do it anymore"
My Oma's life experience taught her to seize moments and opportunities in order to minimize later regrets.  The awful thing about regrets is that it is too late to make them right.  Better to live in such a way that we avoid them all together.

"The place where love dwells is where the Lord sends his blessing"
She had an awareness that love and blessing were connected.  Her home and the atmosphere around the table when I would go to visit exuded love and acceptance.  I had a sense of being blessed by being in her presence, because the Lord was her source.

Perhaps there's a word of wisdom from one of your forbears you'd like to share as a comment. 

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