I want to share a beautiful memory of mama. I said goodbye to her on July 5, 2009. Mama and I are birds of a feather. Our journeys are forever woven together. She and I share a bond beyond mother and daughter; we are kindred spirits with similar hearts. Here’s a glimpse at Mary Sue Holden. She is a powerful part of my journey, so I want you to get to know her a little better. She never drove a car or worked outside the home, but she made our house a home and loved me dearly. She was my first taste of love in this world, and the way I love has a lot to do with the way she loved me.
Lillyann and Mylah remind me of her all the time. I know she would love them dearly because she loved all her grandchildren and great grandchildren dearly. She once told me that you haven’t lived until you have a grandchild. I agree wholeheartedly. I loved mama dearly while she was with me; I love her even more now, and I know I will love her in a way I can’t imagine when I join her in heaven:)
Mama always makes me think of birds. She was fascinated by them in a way I’ve never known anyone else to be. She also loved her black lab, Mig, as a child, and asked me frequently in her last year if Mig would be in heaven. Mama was like a child in so many ways, and she was truly concerned about seeing Mig again. I told her that I wasn’t sure all the people I thought would be in heaven would be there, but I was sure that Mig would be:) That made her smile and reassured her as she prepared to go home. My father tolerated no pets other than birds in his house, so mama had birds when we were growing up. She fed wild birds, watched birds from the kitchen window, and had birds in the house. Mother loved her birds and would, much to the frustration of my father, let them out of their cages. She would talk to them while they sat on her finger or rode on her shoulder.
Those birds, especially Pete, loved mama because she delighted in them and would sing when they sat on her shoulder. Pete was a green parakeet who flew at the sound of daddy’s voice, but he would sit on mama’s shoulder for hours and look longingly at her and sing happily. Daddy was always trying to capture Pete and insisted that he stay in his cage. Pete knew mama enjoyed his company, and he loved her. They both ignored daddy! Pete and his companion Repeat would stay out of reach when he was around. I think part of mama’s attraction to the birds was the fact they were a source of frustration to daddy!
Like mama and her birds, God gives us the freedom to sit in the palm of His hand and looks at us with delight when we love Him and sing along. We must choose to get out of our cages and sit in the palm of His hand if we are to find the peace He desires for us to find in life. The cage is a safe place where we think we will find security, so is hard for us to leave it unless we get Pete’s attitude. He had no trouble getting out of that cage and got to the point where he would squawk until we let him out. Daddy finally learned that if he would be very still and talk lovingly to Pete, he would sit on his finger too:)
I love thinking about mama and her birds, I miss her so very much. I went into a tail spin the week mama died. The world didn’t make sense anymore; I lost my bearings and was more out of balance than ever in my life. I was hurting, but God offered this beautiful image a few weeks after her death to help me see the importance of getting away from the cages in my life. You don’t have to be in the cage to be held captive. Pete and Repeat were examples of that. Getting out of the cage inside the house is great, but flying outside in the open is something my heart has only recently experienced. I know God will continue to show me His way and help me get where He wants me to go. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (KJ) “Be still” would be the only tattoo I can imagine myself ever getting. The verse is tattooed on my heart, and I am beginning to understand what it means. It’s so hard for me to be still, but I pray I will get better so I can hear and heed and obey in a way that blesses and glorifies God. He is to be exalted! He is God after all, and that is something I keep forgetting as I try to do things on my own, slip inside another cage, or settle for flying around inside the house. God prefers the open air, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot myself lately:)