My Mother-in-law, a Tribute...
On April 11, 2010 my mother-in-law Mary Fox passed away at age 82. I spoke briefly at the gravesite affirming Maryís faith as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. I never observed Mary imposing her religious beliefs on others. While valuing her personal religious beliefs, she respected those she knew and accepted them as they were.
My mother-in-lawís faith expressed itself in recognizing needs and doing what she could to meet those needs. She welcomed people into her home and cared for them when they were sick. At one time or another Mary cared for both her husbandís parents in their home and her own parents. I personally met and admired Maryís mother-in-law who was a jewel of a Christian woman. But jewel or not, mother-in-laws arenít known for being easy to enjoy being with constantly for months or years. After Maryís father-in-law passed away from illness, her mother-in-law was able to live on her own.
But Mary later cared for her own parents in her home. Actually her mother abandoned her children while Mary was young. She housed her father and step-mother. Maryís step-mother suffered from dementia and knew nothing and could do nothing for herself. Mary faced her own fears throughout life but she chose to endure the stress of bathing, feeding, and changing bedclothes 24/7/365. She did this despite the condition of her step mother who didnít recognize the daughter she helped raise, who couldnít talk or sense being cared for or held by this daughter. Few of us would contemplate such a challenge, let alone take it up and complete it.
Mary accepted my wife and me into her home twice when we were briefly unemployed. Contrary to my own parents who also shared their home with us, Mary never caused us to feel that we intruded. We were welcomed.
In Matthew 25:31-46 (KJV) Jesus tells of the day when He separates people of all nations, welcoming those who saw Him hungry, sick, or otherwise in need. Feeding, housing, caring for even the least in need was Mary Foxís expression of her Christian faith. She did not pointedly seek our Jesus to serve but instead reached out to others using her meager means and her hands. Despite the stresses, she served those she recognized who needed her touch. Jesus himself felt that touch but Mary simply touched the hurting people she knew and met as she lived.
Jesus has already instructed the best seamstresses and tailors among the angels in heaven to create an elegant gown for Mary. If I believed like most Christians that our spirits go to heaven as soon as we die then I might say Mary already wears this lovely, shimmering gown. Believing however as I do, and as Mary Fox did, I know this gown is already hanging in the closet of Maryís new house in heaven. It awaits her arrival. I want to see my mother-in-law wearing this gown in heaven.