The Gift She Gave Meby David Snapper, SUMC Associate Pastor on May 5, 2021
Do you want the old goose-neck rocking chair?
My mother was asking. Did I want it, or should she sell it in a garage sale?
I didn’t know. I needed a while to think about it.
Let me know, she said.
We hung up.
My mother purchased the goose-neck rocking chair from a furniture store in New Bern, North Carolina. The year was 1950. Around the year 1990 she wanted to know if she should sell it or did I want it. I was age 40.
I didn’t know. It’s big. Rather ordinary. Rockers are way out of style and I already had a collection of quality antique rockers I had refinished. Why would I want another?
That rocking chair was a holy space for my mother. She rocked me, soothed me, fed me, read me stories while I was in her arms. Taught me about Jesus and life and whatever else she wanted to say to me. In that chair I was safe from my older brothers. It was, for her, a place where she poured out her love for her third son.
I remember being held. My memories of life begin in that chair. Standing on her legs, my hands grasping her fingers, trying to stand up. I was very young.
Did I care enough about that to keep it?
That’s when the light came on. She wanted to know if I wanted to keep those memories alive. Or should I give my childhood memories to the garage sale?
Did I treasure what happened in that chair?
Did I honor what she did for me when I was an infant?
In 1990, when this happened, did I still care about her love for me?
Did she make a worthwhile difference in my life?
Can I still count my toes and touch my nose, the way she taught me?
Did I learn to stand up on my own, without holding on to her fingers?
The gave me the gift of love and identity.
Are those memories worth keeping?
Yes, Mother, I did learn to stand up, but I still need a lot of help. But I’m working on it.
I understood that mother loved me enough to buy the rocker so we could spend time together, doing the silly things moms do with their infants. And now, seventy years later, the details have faded. But one thing has not: The mother God gave me rocked my world the best possible ways.
All these years later, I still have the gift she gave me.
And I have the rocker as a reminder.