People comment often, “Wow, you sure are honest in your writings.” And, “Well, now I know there really isn’t anything that you won’t write about.” I believe that the reason that I am so brutally honest in what I write is so that you (the reader) know I’m not lying.

You can read of my foibles, failures, and successes and know that my authorship is genuine. When I write to tell you of some amazing person…you know that they are amazing. Today I write you to tell you a story that combines all of these themes. I will tell you of failure, selfishness, and impatience. But, I will also tell you, in the same tale, of love, kindness, and compassion.

I will tell you the story of my mother.

I titled this post as I try to do with most post title topics with something that is a bit of a pun, and a bit illusory of what has happened along this trip. Similar to naming a painting, you kind of have to be able to understand “What it is really about” with a title.

When I was a kid, I called women that I had contact with by their kid’s name. “Mark’s Mom can I have this?” “Billy’s mom, can Billy spend the night?” This post is about the woman who is Peace’s mom.

I haven’t always been Peace, and yet I always have been. I went by another name…a name that defined who I used to be…a person whom I have for the most part left behind. I was Neal, and as such, my mom was known as “Neal’s Mom”.

When I chose to change who I am and who I was, I chose to try to be the good part of me that has always been there and leave the part that was selfish, rude, impatient, and self-serving behind. Like when Paul changed his name from Saul…he was no longer the same person, and he never wanted to be that guy again. I think Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X probably felt the same way.

Each day I wake I must recognize that this day may be my last. I think this realization makes me live life to the fullest. I believe that this understanding makes me value each moment a little bit more. Every moment is precious, each interaction is special, and this scenario right now is the only one we really have. Each second is all you really have…live it.

So how would you live life today if you knew it was your last?

But, as I said, this is about my mom. Here is a woman who is watching her only son walk out the door into the unknown. Everything we’ve been taught would indicate that I should be dead by now. And yet, my mom has allowed me to continue to walk on today. She never even tried to persuade me to the contrary. She realizes that what I am doing is at least important to me and a few others if not her. She recognizes that I and others are really trying to change the world. She let me go, and she sent me off with blessings.

Yes, she tended to my needs: haircut, toothpaste, and all, but it was more than that. She tended to my soul’s needs as well. She had no demands. The whole time she just told me, “I don’t care what we do, and “I just want to spend time with you”. “I can’t believe that I am here, I am so happy to see you”. We did the things—museums, movies, and dinners together. Familiar experiences that always make us happy together.

But, as I watched her go, I had the sinking feeling. I had the realization that if this is the last time I ever see my mom, “Did I make her feel loved, or was I impatient, frustrated, and unkind?” I ask myself this question following all my interactions with people. But, this person obviously is very dear to me, and I have a greater chance to love or hurt her…and which did I choose?

The fact that I had to even ask the question proves that there were some points that I wasn’t all I could be to my mother. The interesting part, the humbling part, the amazing part is that my mom could ask herself that same question and know the answer. My mom loved on me with compassion, peace, and patience…despite myself.

What a great example…one in which I hope to imitate. So, I called her to tell her how much. Love on the people you interact with today. It may be your last chance…you never know.