Someone’s Mother


It was a cold January morning, and I was 13 years old. We lived a mile across town from the school. Since there was no bus, I had to walk to school each day. I had thrown a few snowballs, run a stick along a fence several times to shake off the snow, slid on a patch of ice, and, finding it the best so far, spent some time there.

When I was about halfway to school, I realized that if I didn’t hurry, in fact, run most of the way, I would be late for school. As I hurried along, I noticed a rather small figure standing off to the side of the walk, holding onto the fence. As I got closer, I could see that it was a small, elderly lady, and she appeared quite frightened. I was about to rush past her when someone seemed to say to me, “She needs help.”

I stopped, walked back, took her gently by the arm, and asked if there was anything I could do. She shakily turned, took my hands, and said she had tried to go for a walk but had nearly fallen on the ice and was afraid to go home alone. As I walked her back to her home, nearly a block away, I thought, “Well, I will be late for sure now because she is very old and frightened, and she takes small steps.”

Then I thought, “She is someone’s mother,” and I felt warm inside. I forgot about being late for school. After I had taken her home and helped her safely up the steps to her door, she once again clasped my hands and said in a soft, sweet voice, “God bless you, my son. I pray that some young man will be there to help your mother when she needs it.”

A few years ago my father had a serious operation and spent several weeks in the hospital. This was during the winter months. My sons and I had made several trips down to my parents’ home to keep the snow cleared from the driveway and walk, but one day while I was working and my sons were in school, we had a very heavy snowfall. My mother was trying to clear the walks when a young university student came by, laid his books down, gently took the shovel from her, and cleared all the walks and driveway. As my mother thanked him he said, “That’s all right. I am away from home going to school. Maybe someone else’s son will be there to help my mother.”

As my mother told me how this young man had helped her, I remembered the words from my childhood: “God bless you, my son. I pray that some young man will be there to help your mother.”

And he was.

[illustration] illustrated by Preston Heiselt