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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Mom continues to teach

For more than 30 years, my mother, Rose Leschak, was a secretary in a small city parish, extending her ministry well beyond the confines of her office. She offered a ready ear for listening, a strong shoulder to lean on, and a never-ending pot of coffee to members, neighbors and groups — from Al-Anon to the mental health program — that used the building.

Today, Mom has dementia and lives in a long-term care facility. But without realizing it, she continues her ministry with warm hugs and smiles for the staff and residents. And she continues to teach me about the great gifts of her Lord.

During one visit, she began reading aloud from the Living Bible we had brought for her. It's not the Bible she's used for most of her life, but rather a paraphrase of verses and stories she's lived and loved. She struggled with the 23rd Psalm due to broken glasses, small print, unfamiliar text and the end of the day. As she neared the end, I repeated the old familiar text, "Surely goodness and mercy ...," and she finished the psalm without missing a word.

When I asked if she remembered to say her prayers, she answered in the affirmative. When I asked what she prayed for, she said, "God's love." I asked, "Do you get it, Mom?" Without hesitation, she said, "I sure do!"

Mom continues to teach me that despite everything, nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from God's love.


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