The following is an edited version of a post first published on January 2, 2012. I wrote it when my mother was still living at home and I was trying to help my father with her.
My sister and I can carry on conversations using just things my mother says.
For instance, my mother often says, “If you say so.”
This is usually in response to something she doesn’t believe to be true. Like, she’ll be preparing a meal for, say, 150 people. (150 is her favorite number.) I’ll say to her, “Mom, there are only going to be five of us for lunch today — You, me, Dad, Mary and Laurel.”
She’ll look at me with a look that says, I don’t believe a word of that. But out of her mouth will come the words, “If you say so.”
It’s a phony acquiescence. She’ll continue right on making 150 sandwiches.
Or, she’ll be getting ready for church, and I’ll say, “Mom, today is Tuesday. There’s nothing going on at the church today.”
She’ll answer, “If you say so,” and then continue getting ready for church.
She started saying it as a cover for her memory loss. It was easier than arguing.
The reason I wanted to start off the new year with those words, though, is because they tie in so beautifully with something else I’ve been thinking about. I’ve been thinking about how the earthly life of Christ was book-ended with two statements of yielding.
First, when the angel told Mary she was going to have a baby, she responded with,
Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.
I’m quite sure there must be a translation out there that translates her words as, “If you say so,” not in an I-really-don’t-believe-a-word-of-it way, but in the way I would like to be able to say them to God. A yielding.
When Jesus was praying in Gethsemane before his death, he said these words,
Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours, be done.
Can’t you just hear the “if you say so” in there?
“Father, take this cup away from me, but, if you say so, I’ll do it.”
When God asks me to go through something, I’d like to be able to say, “Okay, God, if You say so.”
I want 2012 (and now 2017) to be an “If You Say So” kind of year, a year of yielding to the Father’s will. I want to be like Mary and Jesus, who, facing trials and uncertainty, still trust God’s overarching plan.
However, I want to be sincere in my words — not like my mother just saying words to smooth things over.
If you say so.…
Simple words from a person with Alzheimer’s.
Words also to live by.