The other day I read a story about a man praising his elderly mother for her life time of selflessness. It set me to remembering the same kinds of things about my Mama, too.
I especially remember chicken wings. As a kid I actually thought that the wings really were my Mama's favorite piece of chicken. That was way back in the good old days when shoppers bought whole chickens at the super market and cut them up themselves. Or, like my Mama, had the butcher do it for them. Back in the days before Styrofoam trays and shrink wrap. The days when our meat came home from the store wrapped in waxy brown paper and string.
Having fried chicken was a special treat. Now that I've spent more than 40 years as CEO of the family kitchen I know why. It was a lot of work for Mama. But she'd fry up the whole chicken piece by piece and put the platter in the middle of the dinner table. There were 3 little girls and 1 big sister to squabble over the drumsticks, thighs & breast. And Daddy always got half of a breast and the liver. That didn't leave a lot of choices for Mama except the wings, neck, and gizzard.
She always gave us girls the pieces we wanted then acted like she actually enjoyed picking scraps of meat off the boney wings and necks. I never once wondered, "Why'd she do that?"
I accepted without question that Mama loved the wings. Until, that is, I became a mama with hungry, growing boys circling our table. Then I understood that it wasn't the wings Mama loved, it was us.
As my children grew into adults I realized what a minor sacrifice chicken wings were compared to the other sacrifices Mama made for us girls.
Thank You, Lord. For Mama's sacrifices for our good. And for Yours, too. Every mama's life of sacrificial giving must step into the shadows when compared to the immeasurable sacrifice You paid for my sins, for my life, for my eternity.
Sacrifices small and great are markers, Little One. They denote the level of your commitment to another, your love for one another. Not only the sacrifices themselves but the attitude upon which they float. Isn't it amazing that your mama's preference for the wings seemed perfectly natural to you? That means she didn't make a big deal out of it. That means she did it with a cheerful attitude. That she didn't try to make you feel guilty about it. It was an extension of her love for you and your sisters.
THAT is the definition of real sacrifice, Little One. THAT is the way I express My love, too.