It was recently my mother's 70th birthday. For her birthday celebration my brother conned me into singing for my Mum, accompanied by my sister. It was the first time I've sung in front of more than two people, and thankfully no video evidence of the event exists. This video is the song I sang for her, words arranged by David Foord.
This is what I said to her before singing.
There is a cliche that says you never really understand your parents until you have your own children. The trouble is, like many cliches, it's true. Mum has been a steadfast support to me and my family, and we're very grateful to her and love her a great deal. I really enjoy being friends with my Mum.
When I think about my mum the strongest thought is that she's so obviously a good and true friend, not just to me but she loves so many people steadily and is in turn loved by us. The evidence of this is all around us right here. Now I'm aware that when you say of someone "they're a good friend" it sounds nice, but perhaps a bit of a cop out. To balance that I'd like to quote one of the most important verses from the bible, from the new testament.
This is Jesus speaking in John 15:13 "Greater love has no-one that this: to lay down one's life for one's friends". In Christian tradition we understand that "laying down one's life" means to put aside your own priorities and put other people first. I'm sure many of you will recognise this description in my Mum. What is often not commented on in this verse is here Jesus defines the greatest love. Friendship. There is no higher love than being a true friend, putting aside your own life and priorities for your friend is the best possible thing that anyone can do can do according to Jesus. And that's so easy to see in how my Mum lives and has lived for years.
Mum is very generous. One of the things she loves most is buying things. Oops, I mean giving gifts to people. Mum is highly creative, a gift she's passed onto her children. You can also see in her children another quality for which we can blame her. We're very good at being determined to get our own way. A gift I'm not so sure my Dad was ever very impressed with when we were children, but which I'm very grateful for in adult life. Although I slightly suspect my sister is better at it than I am! I think we'd all agree that Mum is the master here though and I take my hat off to her.
It wasn't just her youth, as a Jewish girl in a relatively poor family, that was difficult. Most of you will know of my Mum's struggle with bleak and dark depression many years ago and how she came through that and now uses that experience to empathise with and encourage and support people struggling in similar ways. And of course her battle with cancer last year. Something she also came through with dignity and determination. I'm so proud of her.Her own struggle has been very hard, but that's built into her a real strength and determination that it's impossible not to admire.
My Mum is a light that has shone for many years and will continue to shine in my life as long as I'm alive.