Mothers are the sine qua non of life. Without them, simply put, we would not be. Children honor their mothers by the creation of art pieces, cards and gifts, as only they know how. For their tender ages, they grasp the meaning of motherhood as best they can. We might not always appreciate our mothers, but with age and experience , those of us who reflect on our mothers (on Mother’s Day or any other time for that matter,) have opportunities to think of the elusive depth of motherhood.
Nancy, a woman I had known for over twenty years, died recently . I was honored to preside at her committal service in the family’s historic burial place. The family had placed her ashes in an old metal garden watering can, which she had used for years to nurture the plants she grew throughout the summer. The family had borne the watering can with its precious contents first to church for the service, together with spring blossoms from her yard, and then to the cemetery. As we stood around the place of burial, each family member named one of Nancy’s qualities that they would take into the future with them, so that the gift of Nancy would go on through them. Those gathered spoke of Nancy’s balance, evenness, her generosity, the way she wrote notes to people at just the right time, her dependability, her faithfulness to God and family.
Think about your own mother, whether you felt “good” about her or not. What qualities did she have for you to emulate and carry into the future?
And think of Mary, the Mother of God. There would have been no blood of Christ had there not been first the blood of Mary. The Yes of Mary made possible the Yes of Jesus .
We may have been fortunate enough to be born with the assistance of a nurse or midwife or a woman with practiced hands. Today we think of the children born to refuge mothers in transit, mothers in war zones, mothers just before they themselves have died, the mothers of the disappeared in various countries of our world. Far from being downers, thoughts like this allow us to linger over the courage, sheer determination, abiding trust and acceptance of women all over our world.
Motherhood, rather than a private aspect of our lives, is a powerful public image of the human desire for a future.
At its deepest, that’s what we celebrate on Mother’s Day.
~Sister Joan Sobala