January 26, 2020
The bulletin reads the LOVE chapter, I Corinthians, Chapter 13. I pause to study the words I’ve read and admired so many times.
“Love is patient.Love is kind. It does not envy . . . “
I read on and on until I get to the part that says, “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
The choir is singing “I surrender all . . . I surrender all . . .” and my memories drift to a sturdy Korean woman in a white steepled Pentecostal church. Her accented English singing the same words but rolling the r’s into l’s. Her voice is lyrical and strong, tears streaming down her face. My 9-year-old self can feel her surrendering her pain, her struggle from years of fighting herself, soldiering on through the scars of a childhood that splintered her into shadow and light.
I can feel it, but it doesn’t make sense to me.
Shadow and light. That’s how I saw her as a child. Waking with the constant question, is she the shadow today or the light?
Shadows meant tip-toes and eggshells. Light meant full bellies of laughter and warmth. As a child, I loved being her daughter and I hated it. As an adult, I understand it.
Pastor Hannigan reads:
“Now, I know in part; then, I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
I see her now. I didn’t see her then. I know in full now. I knew in part then. The singing stops and with it, I bury the memory of the sad woman. I blink away tears.
“Love covers a multitude of sins.”
I think, today, the love my mother and I have covers the wrongs of the past. It wipes it away. Clean slate.
That’s true love . . . the love of mother and daughter. The understanding that this daughter who has become a mother can fully embrace.
The love that says, I know you did your best. The love that says, thank you for fighting your past every day to become the woman you are now. Today, she is just the light.