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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Mother’ as in… much of what I needed to learn I learned from my mother.

On this Mother’s Day weekend, I’m thinking about Joyce. She’s been gone for 16 years, but she’s not forgotten. In many ways, she never left. The life lessons keep appearing.

Joyce always carried three things in her purse. A pack of gum, a harmonica, and a pocket-size New Testament. Let me explain. As a kid, when I was feeling fidgety, Joyce would playfully ask if I had ants in my pants. That was perplexing; I wondered how they might have gotten in there and how they would get out. But Joyce would open her purse and pull out a stick of gum. Something was soothing about how she unwrapped it from the silver foil and handed it to me. It was a minty moment of gracious hospitality, compassion, and love.

There was also a harmonica. Not a plastic harmonica, but a genuine M. Honer Marine Band harmonica. I don’t recall her ever playing it, but it was always there. And I knew that if the right moment arrived and someone needed someone else to pull a harmonica out of their purse and play it, Joyce would be ready. It was a whimsical reminder of the power of providing a creative moment of diversion for someone whose life had become overly complicated.

And yes, Joyce always carried a dog-eared, scuffed up, pocket-sized New Testament and Psalms. I found it in the school parking lot one afternoon on my way to the bus. When I got home, I gave it to Joyce as a gift. It was a constant reminder that at some point, someone would need to hear a really good word during a really bad time.

Today I don’t carry a pack of gum, but I’m more in tune with the gift of each present moment. I don’t have a harmonica in my pocket, but I do have music for you because of Joyce. And because of my mother, I do know that the Lord is our shepherd, and we have everything we need. Thanks, mom.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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