As I drove my son up to the bus stop this morning I noticed that my neighbor had walked up with the girls to meet the bus. Fortunately, the rain had stopped so it was just wet and the bus was there pretty shortly after we had all arrived. I stopped to offer her a ride back to her house but she declined saying that she needed the exercise. Rain, snow, sleet, car or no car, she makes sure that the girls are taken care of and that they make it to school every day. The thing that is so extraordinary about my neighbor is that the girls are not her children or grandchildren, they are her great grandchildren and she and her husband are raising them. I have another neighbor with a similar story. She and her husband are raising their grandchildren. Where would these children be if these two couples hadn’t stepped in? They would be in Foster care or some sort of group home as wards of the state. These couples have made some enormous sacrifices in order to raise the children in safe, stable, loving, caring homes and it hasn’t always been easy! But they made the choice out of love and I don’t think either one would have chosen any differently!
I was really struck by this particular point as I read Esther this morning. Normally, when the book of Esther is talked about, we discuss her bravery in approaching the king in order to save her people. But Esther would not have been in that position had it not been for her cousin Mordecai. We are told that Mordecai took Esther in when her parents died and that he raised her. If it wasn’t for Mordecai, where would Esther have ended up? We will never know the answer to that question but I think it is fairly safe to assume that Esther became the woman that she did thanks in part to the loving care that she received from Mordecai.
I was blessed to be raised by two incredible parents with my siblings in a wonderful home. My parents raised six children and they had done their duty! But when I left my ex husband, restraining order in hand, my parents opened up their home to me and my two children and took us in so we would have a roof over our head. My parents loved my children! They helped take care of them when I got a job so they wouldn’t have to go to daycare. My daughter started Kindergarten that year and my mother would get her on and off the bus every school day. My father built my daughter a brand new doll house because her father had burned her old one. My son was not yet in school so his days were spent with Gramma and Grampa. I think he got his love of “tinkering” from hanging out with Grampa! My parents rearranged their schedules and their lives in order to help provide a safe, stable, loving, caring environment for the children. There was no way I could have financially swung raising the children on my own and if it wasn’t for them, I’m not sure where we would have ended up! I would have done my very best, but quite frankly, the financial numbers didn’t add up! They stepped in, when the children and I needed it the most! That’s not something I can ever repay, but for which I will always be grateful!
I would be willing to hazard a guess that if you looked around in your church or your neighborhood, you would find similar stories. It may be slightly different, perhaps the death of a parent, or a parent who is in the military and away on deployment but the outcome is still the same. These are individuals who step up and do the right thing without question. Their impact is huge and yet so many go unrecognized!
Without Mordecai we would not have Esther’s story. Without families who choose to sacrifice and raise their young relatives we would not have such wonderful success stories of children who turn out well. Perhaps it’s time we recognize and acknowledge what these individuals have done and continue to do in the lives of young people. Perhaps it is time to thank them. Perhaps it is time to ask them if there is anything we can do to help? In celebrating the success of all the Esthers in the world, let us not forget to acknowledge the contribution of the Mordecais! The world is a much better place because of them!