In the summer of 1957 Isabel McMurray and her husband were on vacation in Chicago. They’d left their teenage son Scott at home in Decatur, Georgia. Before leaving “the Windy City” to drive home, Isabel scribbled a handwritten note to her son on a postcard she’d purchased at the Shedd Aquarium. Scott’s mom began by saying, “We’ll probably be home before this gets there.” Affixing a two-cent stamp on the card, she deposited it in a mailbox. Isabel McMurray had no idea how true her words were.
Scott received his mother’s postcard a few weeks ago. The lost letter surfaced in Daytona Beach, Florida and was forwarded on to its intended recipient living in northern Virginia. Scott McMurray, now a retired historian, was found to be living in northern Virginia.
By his own admission, the card that had been written in her familiar script and signed “Love, Mother” was like having a personal visit with his mom who passed away in 1991.
Although the United States Postal Service cannot explain the fifty-five year delay in delivery, the axiom long attributed to our nation’s mail services held true: Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, will keep the mail from going through. Not even six decades!
Reflecting on the missing postcard, I realize what a descriptive picture it is of the way mothers love their children. The instinctual love moms have for their offspring is worth pondering on Mother’s Day. It’s a love that perseveres even when unforeseen circumstances result in barriers, distance, absence or alienation. Their love follows us all our lives (even after they have passed away).
Although Jesus taught us to think of the Almighty as a Heavenly Father, the Hebrew prophet Isaiah pictures God as one who loves like only a mother can.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15).
God’s love cannot be thwarted. Though we may forget how much He cares, He finds ways to remind us even as His unmerited friendship finds us. We may move away from Him, but He seeks us out. As the one who brought us into the world, the Almighty can’t help but be invested in our well-being and happiness.
As my 85-year-old mother slowly loses her battle with dementia, I am grateful she still remembers who I am. She regularly reminds me how much she loves me! All the same, I keep a handwritten note of affirmation (written years ago) tucked in my Bible. This expression of endless love will serve as a visual indicator of how much she believes in me when she no longer can call me by name. A mother’s love will always find us. And so does God’s!