Today I’d like to acknowledge the mothers who came before me… mothers who worked long before days dawned and long after suns set — women who, without conveniences, running water, power and supplies, cared for their families – putting them before themselves and tenaciously pressed on through the years of their lives. It does not escape me that life for women in many places in the world live such a life today.
I feel as though I cannot personally relate – I have photos in my possession and have heard numerous stories my children have told me about living conditions in places in Mexico & Africa… I’ve listened to Christian sisters share specifics in testimonies of daily life in those and other ‘foreign lands’ and the effort mothers expend to simply survive from day to day. Still, I’ve not been able to sincerely relate — though I’ve sincerely attempted to grasp the reality of life for women the world over. I say women… for the simple fact that that’s who I’m relating to. Stories of men and their lives and work the world over would be another angle to which I cannot relate.
My mother tells me stories of my grandmother and her methods of cleaning, cooking, sewing, making soap, heating kettles, boiling water and doing laundry in large pots, hanging clothes by necessity – not choice – and a myriad of other things she did for her family. Her story is unrecorded… as are the stories of the lives of most all mothers the world over… mothers who got their hands dirty. Mothers who really worked hard – or mothers who really worked really hard.
In addition to the chicken we have for eggs, we’ve been raising chickens — meat birds — raising them for food. There’s been one purpose for them. Week after week they’ve been growing. We after week we’ve been taking care of them. Saturday that part of the deal ended — they lived up to their end of the bargain.
Friends of ours graciously taught us how to handle the chickens when they lived up to their end of the deal. As I stood there, a flood of emotion washed over me – a strange mix of sadness, remorse and nausea. Then, I thought of the mothers who’ve gone before me… mothers who did whatever it took to put nutritious food on the table for their families. I thought of the mothers who didn’t have the butchering conveniences I had before me, nor the running water for the process.
Now, I wasn’t alone in this whole process, for a couple of our boys were tackling the job with sincere eagerness to do well and Wes was right there working alongside them. I’m glad our friend prayed before we began the process — I really had a terribly hard time with the initial ‘taking of a life’ and watching the helpless animal struggle for a moment. The dipping in boiling water was not as challenging and the ‘defeathering’ was even less so. Then came the moment for which I had not been prepared. You know those packets with the “giblets” in them – the neat little packages you remove from the store bought chicken or turkey? Well, there was not a neat little baggie or paper sacklet for the most inward parts of each chicken. This was clearly a challenge to my sensibilities. By the third one, I realized that this was a job that just plain needed to be done.
And then that thought came to me, once again, that mothers who have gone before me had done this innumerable times. I thought about that for quite a few moments. I smiled at the thought that I had now crossed into a new territory for myself. It was another of those accomplishments that made me a kindred spirit to those mothers who’ve gone before me… mothers who got their hands dirty.