The young mother placed her foot upon the path of life. “Is the way long?” she asked…and her guide said , “Yes, and the way is hard. You’ll be old before you reach the end of it, but the end is better than the beginning.”
The young mother was happy, and she just couldn’t believe anything would ever be better than these years. So she played with her children and gathered flowers with them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams. The sun shone down upon them and life was good. The young mother said, “Nothing will ever be better than this.”
But the night came…and the storm. The children shook with fear and cold. But the mother drew them to her and placed her arms around them with her coat. The children said, “Mother, we’re not afraid for you’re here and no harm can come to us.”
That night the mother looked up at the stars and said, “This is better than the brightness of the day, for I have taught my children courage.”
The next day came and there was a hill ahead. The children climbed and grew weary, and the mother became tired and weary, but she smiled and said, “A little further and we’re there.”
That night the mother said, “This day has been better than the last. My children have learned fortitude in the face of hardship. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength.”
The third day came and there were storm clouds that overshadowed the earth. Clouds of war, and hate, and evil. The children stumbled and groped along the way, but the mother said, “Look up. Lift your eyes to the Light.” The children looked and saw beyond the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them and brought them beyond the darkness.
That night the mother said, “This has been the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”
The days passed, and the weeks, and the months, and the years. The mother was old and she was little and bent, but the children were tall and strong, and they walked with courage. When the way was hard, they helped their mother, and when the way was rough, they lifted her.
At last, they came to the top of the hill and in the distance they could see a shining road with Golden Gates flung wide. The mother said, “I have come to the end of my journey, and now I know the end is better that the beginning…for now my children can walk alone and their children after them.” But the children said, “Mother, you will always walk with us, even when you have passed through the gates.”
And they stood and watched as she went on alone and the gates closed after her. But the children said, “Mother is with us still; for a mother like ours is more than a memory…she is a Living Presence.”