When ‘Somebody’s Mother’ Passes Our Way


My Mother has now been deceased for many years. I was reminded of another woman who passed my way this past year. She stood beside the road on that cold winter day, with a cardboard sign that said, “Need HELP.” I sat in my warm car and looked out at her.  I don’t know how old the woman was but I am sure that she looked older than her years. I thought of all the reasons I shouldn’t help because…well, wasn’t she responsible for her own life.  Should I give to someone who might use ‘my’ money to purchase drugs, alcohol, or something else that wasn’t good for her ? Perhaps I would be doing more harm than good! “Perhaps”, I thought.  There then passed through my mind the words of the immortal poem by Mary Dow Brine:

“The woman was old and ragged and gray

And bent with the chill of the Winter’s day.

The street was wet with a recent snow,

And the woman’s feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long,

Alone, uncared for, amid the throng

Of human beings who passed her by

Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.

“Down the street, with laughter and shout,

Glad in the freedom of ‘school let out,’

Came the boys like a flock of sheep,

Hailing the snow piled white and deep. …

[One] paused beside her and whispered low,

‘I’ll help you cross, if you wish to go? …

‘She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,

For all she’s aged and poor and slow.

“‘And I hope some fellow will lend a hand

To help my mother, you understand,

If ever she’s poor and old and gray,

When her own dear boy is far away.’

And ‘somebody’s mother’ bowed low her head

In her home that night, and the prayer she said

Was, ‘God be kind to the noble boy,

Who is somebody’s son, and pride and joy.’”

I was lost in my thoughts as the light turned green and I accelerated away.   I was left pondering about what a true disciple of Christ should do, when somebody’s mother passes their way.

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