Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Story, My Song: Mother-daughter reflections on life and faith by Lucimarian Roberts and Robin Roberts

Lucimarian Roberts' name may be recognized as the mother of television personality Robin Roberts, but her own story earns her a place of respect and admiration all her own.  Raised in a struggling black family in Akron, Ohio, Lucimarian never saw poverty or her race as agents of certain failure.  Instead she placed her faith in God and set about using her unique musical talent to glorify her Lord.  In this short, but powerful book, Lucimarian looks back on her life.  Each reflection is accompanied by a hymn that had impacted her life and also by a short comment by daughter Robin. 

 As Lucimarian's alcoholic father lost one job after another, her mother turned to domestic jobs to keep the family fed. The young girl never pined for things or goals she could not have, but along the way, others saw her intelligence, drive, and talent.  A grade school teacher followed Lucimarian's accomplishments throughout her childhood and was instrumental in the high school helping the young black girl receive a scholarship to Howard University in Washington, D. C.  I was very impressed by the structure and opportunity offered at this all black college in the 1940's.  One time First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt attended a tea there for young leaders of the school, and Lucimarian spent time chatting with the First Lad whose concern for all people stayed with Lucimarian throughout her life.

The book follows Lucimarian;s life from that troubled childhood to her years of opportunity in Washington, D. C. and throughout her adult life as wife of  career Air Force officer Larry Roberts and mother to their four children.   Larry was one of the original Tuskegee Air Men, only recently recognized for their WWII courage.  Twenty seven different moves marked their military career, most of them before the military was fully integrated.  Often the family would not be able to find housing on base, and many times Larry was the only black officer, making Lucimarian the only black wife.  But in every community, the family found a place to worship, found a place within the community, and quietly changed perceptions.  The strength of the family's faith in God's plan is evident in every move.  This is not a book relating how badly minorities were treated (which they were), but a book that recognizes God's hand in changing people's attitudes and His personal hand in caring for this family.  Lucimarian explains it this way: I have found the best way to change a person's prejudice is to model a Christlike life.  Only then are we able to rise above bitterness, anger and revenge.  After all, God is the Creator of us all, no matter what the color of our skin. Most interesting was her description of how the family made a home when in Turkey, even making friends with Muslim neighbors.  Most poignant is the death of Larry in 2004, the 2005 hurricane that devastated her home, and Robin's public battle against breast cancer.

Now in her 80's. Lucimarian herself faces health issues and  the inability to live alone.  Yet daily she goes to her piano bench, which she describes as her refuge, the place she goes to meet with God. 
This book would have made a lovely Mother's Day gift as it is an affirmation of the power mothers have in shaping their family's view of life and God. Most older readers will enjoy looking back at Mrs. Roberts' extraordinary life.  At the same time, I think younger people should read titles like this to appreciate those who have chosen modeling Christ rather than embracing the latest blame game.

I found myself thinking of my mother solid influence often as I read the book.  I was also busy highlighting sections to reread.  This is a small book with BIG impact!! I give it a five star recommendation.  I received a copy of this book for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.
My Story, My Song

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