As one gets older, the more sad news you hear or read of someone you knew and loved passing away. Eventually, if I live long enough, all those that helped shape my childhood will be gone. Last night I heard that Bobby Morton had died. She was a lady around my mom’s age, and was suffering from Alzheimers. Her passing was expected and, I suppose, a blessing to her family. Still, Bobby was one of my mom’s last friends and was the daughter of a very important lady in my life—-Mrs. Martha Morton.
Mrs. Morton was by far our favorite baby-sitter when we were young, but she made it clear that I was her favorite. Never really having a grandparent, I always looked to Mrs. Morton as what I imagined a grandmother would have been. When we went to her home (typically with my sister and brother) she always had a red plastic measuring cup ready for me—-and only I could use it for the apples she cut up for me. (In truth I think she had a different colored cup for all of us, but that red cup was special to me and red became, and remains, my favorite color.)
She spoiled me, loved me and made me feel like there was something innately good and precious about me. I never wondered about my worth or questioned my abilities when I was with her—-I was the apple of her eye—-and I knew it. I hoped one day to be the man she believed I would be.
When Mrs. Morton died, Bobby told me that her mom loved me more than her own grand-children. But I was never embarrassed about that; I reveled in the fact that I was special to someone like Mrs Morton. It’s not to say that I ever doubted that I was also special to my own mom, dad, aunts and uncles. But it’s somehow different when a saintly person like Mrs. Morton chooses you as her “special one”.
It tears at my heart that my adopted sons did not have a “Martha Morton” in their lives—at least not before they came to live with me. But now they do. My friends have shown the boys that each of them are unique, special, and beloved; all of them have at least one special adult that has let him know he is an irreplaceable gift from God. But many children, right now, see themselves as anything but a gift to their parents. That’s one reason this camp exists—-to destroy that lie and “break out” to them the good news: “God loves you and gave His life for you!
I know, as David did, that I can count on God to ”Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me under the shadow of your wings”. Psalm 17:8 (NIV). As Jesus once said, “Indeed, the very hairs of (my) head are all numbered. Don't be afraid…”(Luke 12:7, NIV). This is what every soul on the face of the earth needs to hear, trust and embrace! But sometimes our actions—or lack of actions—-are “screaming” one thing while our words are saying something else. I pray that my actions and words might more like Mrs. Mortons……