Today would have been my dear parents 77tweddinanniversary.  They lived and loved long enoughelebrate almost 67 years of faithful commitment.

They married in 1945 and their wedding photo fascinated me as a child. There was no beautiful white dress – war-induced austerity was still in full swing. Besides, they were about to take on their first pastorate and every penny was needed to set up home. But she made up for the sober outfit with a huge, glorious bouquet of St Joseph lilies that glowed in the black and white portrait. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but in all innocence and with a big smile I asked her if I was a honeymoon baby because I was born the very next year.

Oh my! My mother’s upbringing was not that far from the Victorian age and, besides, I only later understood how very private a person she was. She snapped at me not to ask such rude questions and rushed out of the room, cheeks flushed with embarrassment. My child mind truly did not understand how I had transgressed, but I never asked my mother anything personal again until many years later. This one little incident created an emotional distance that made it difficult for me to share my own heart during the turbulence of teenage years.

Now, as I draw nearer to the age she was when she went Home, I think I am finally coming to understand how truly important it is to offer understanding before judgment when trying to minister to people. So, her ‘human-ness’ was actually a gift that the Holy Spirit has honed over the years into a useful tool in my own ministry. I have learned that it always is unwise to interpret someone else through my own experience and point of view.

Now, when I sit down with someone, in my spirit I sit down with our Lord Jesus at the well, watch the woman of Samaria as she comes into His space, and learn from Him.