The Day My Mom Went Crazy
By: John UpChurch
I don’t remember the day of the week—so, let’s say Wednesday. I’d just returned from work and was making the walk from the parking lot to my apartment.
Before I could get to the door, the call came. My cell phone cracked and spluttered as my brother spoke on the other end. His words tumbled into the hundreds of miles between us. But I understood enough. My mother had stopped her meds again; she’d lied about it; and now she didn’t know her youngest son existed. My family wanted me to talk to her to prove I was, in fact, real. The idea sickened me, but I didn’t have time to object before the phone went to her. Really, it took that long for me to recover.
They didn’t tell her who I was, just that someone wanted to talk to her. My mind whirled around a prayer—a very inadequate bottle rocket—as I waited through the rustling and murmurs and silence. Mostly, I just hoped she wouldn’t take the phone.
If you’ve never been told you don’t exist, it’s not something I recommend. You hurt for the person who doesn’t want to remember, and you hurt for the lost connection. But that’s what happened when I said hello and told her who I was. She screamed into the phone that I had died as a baby, that I didn’t really exist, that I was lying to her. The whole moment will never really fade away.
When I visited my mom later in the hospital, a shell sat across the table from me. Her eyes dulled under the fluorescence. There was no recognition, no love in the hazel. She only resembled the woman who’d once wept when I moved out.
Loving her then gave me the smallest glimpse of what it was like for God to love me—even when I ran away, even when I denied He existed. I couldn’t see back then. My eyes couldn’t recognize His goodness because I convinced myself that the lies of this world are more satisfying. I denied Him and raged against Him in turn. I hated that He loved me.
Slowly, over months, my mother began to remember. She got back the names and faces that had vanished from her mind. She saw us again.
And how slow my own journey has been. First, I came face to face with a very real Maker of the universe. Then, I fell down before His ridiculous love for me. Since then, I’ve been slowly regaining my sight, seeing the world through His eyes. I once blinded myself, but now I’ve been granted new eyes. I couldn’t see until God’s preceding grace tore away the haze, and, suddenly, I remembered what love is.
Intersecting Faith and Life: My mom’s lapse opened the cosmic door just a crack—at least, I like to think so. The whole situation hit me with the truth of what John 3:16 really means. God longs for us to recognize His love. But we have selective amnesia; we forget the one who created us.
Even that doesn’t stop Him, though. He pursues us in Christ Jesus, who went through the pain of being rejected to heal our forgetful hearts. Nothing could stop him from that.
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