When I graduated from sixth grade in Brooklyn NY I had an autograph book. Once upon a time those things were very popular. It was sort of a bit like signing a yearbook although we had that too. I remember it was white. I asked my mother and father to write on the first pages.
Three years later when I graduated from Pershing Junior High School in Brooklyn, I had an official PJHS autograph book. It was blue and gold, had the school emblem on the front and closed with a zipper. I asked my mother and father to write on the first pages again.
I think my dad wrote first. He wrote:
Only one life will soon be past
Only what’s done for Christ will last
My mother wrote:
Isn't it strange that princes and kings,
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And common people like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools, a shapeless mass,
A book of rules;
And each must make-Ere life is flown-
A stumbling block Or a steppingstone.
I have always been a bit of a traditionalist so after seeing what they wrote in the sixth grade, I asked them to write the same in the ninth grade book. They did.
Today my mother went home to be with the Lord. I am thinking about both my parents. My father has been gone for almost 39 years. I still miss him very much. Now my mother has joined him.
Like all human beings they were flawed. I am flawed as well. What I do really has no merit other than what I do in the name of the Lord and in His service. I can do nothing in myself. I can’t even get through today in myself; truly only what is done for Christ will last.
The poem of my mother’s I will have shared at her funeral. I don’t know if my children have heard it. My parents were flawed human beings. I am also flawed. We all are. But we have an opportunity to do something for eternity.
My children see my mother as a saint. By the time they knew her, many of her flaws and struggles had softened with time. We actually knew two different people. I am thankful I got to see her truly become that stepping stone for my children. I am so thankful I gave that opportunity to both her and my children. She is now a bridge that I hope and pray they will cross over so that they may be joined with her at the end of their journey around the throne of God.