It all starts with the stuffing. I'll blame my fragile emotions on bread cubes, chopped onions, and diced celery. Every year as I stand at the kitchen counter preparing mama's traditional and simple turkey stuffing, I grow weepy, not from the onions, but from nostalgia.
My mother should be here huffing and puffing her way around the kitchen, frantic about a particular recipe or whether a family member will make it to the celebration. And most of all--preparing the filling for big bird.
But she's not. She's in heaven, with daddy and my two babies born too early to survive, along with a host of friends and other family members awaiting a grand and glorious reunion.
A tear slides down my cheek. Then a sudden warmth sweeps over my spirit as I hear (within my heart) the words: "It's okay, honey. It won't be much longer, and we'll all be together again. For now, stand strong and be of a good courage. You can do this. You're not alone." Mama smiles, and I feel a slight touch on my shoulder. A hug from heaven. And then she's gone.
But I know I'm not alone. She's left courage and love and faithfulness. The very things I want to pass down to my family.
One of my husband's favorite Scripture passages is Hebrews 11:4: ". . . by faith (Abel) still speaks, even though he is dead." He jokes with clients, "Wanna nag your kids from the grave? You can, you know. Your children will remember your words and actions long after you are gone."
Abel left a legacy of faithfulness behind. I want to do this as well. Perhaps the number one passion on my heart since I turned 50 eleven years ago is to leave a godly legacy to my children and grandchildren. I had great role models from both sides of our families. They finished strong.
With the great cloud of witnesses peeking down from heaven, I feel encouraged today to keep pressing on. To keep the faith and pass it along.
And hugs from heaven provide the incentive to do just that.