It was a very compressed visit, but I got to see them all and be with them a little bit. Back at the house after the visitation, I told them how Houston's mom, Jeanette, had called me one day the summer after I graduated from high school. Houston was gone on to college by then, but she wanted to pick me up and have a girls' day out. She was a proper Southern lady, the real deal, so I knew this called for dressing up, like nearly white-glove level.
So out we went. She took me to lunch and shopping, and bought me a school bag to take to college in the fall. I remember, even with my seventeen year-old sensibilities, feeling special and grateful that she wanted to spend time with me. When she dropped me off that day, she said, "Do me a favor. Do not write me a thank-you note." So I didn't, I took her at her word. But then, when I would look back on that day later, I would think, "Aw, man! I should have written her a thank-you note! It was a test and I failed!" I thought this from about the ages of 22 to 39.
Then, just the other week, but before she died, I was doing something for somebody and I thought something like, "I hope they don't feel like they have to thank me," and I flashed back to that unwritten thank-you note, and I realized that Jeanette really didn't want me to write her a thank-you note. She didn't do it because she wanted to be thanked, she just wanted to do it.
At her funeral, her husband of nearly fifty years read the part of Proverbs about the virtuous woman, and then her children did rise up and call her blessed, and let me tell you, there was not a dry eye in the house.
Houston and both of his sisters spoke about their mom, and something his sister Betsy said has stayed with me. Betsy said that, as a parent, her mother was "easy to please, and hard to disappoint."
As the church people say, when I heard that, I felt convicted. "Hard to disappoint." I'm grappling with what that means. I don't think it means that you don't have expectations, or that you don't discipline and correct, but it seems like something bigger, something more expansive and gracious, something to strive for. To be hard to disappoint. I am thinking on it.
Chime in if that chimes with you.