Mother’s Day has been a challenging one to navigate in the church over the years. For those who are mothers or who have the good fortune to have a good relationship with their moms, it is a day to celebrate. However, for those who are grieving the recent loss of a mother, those who struggle with infertility and still long to be mothers, those who have a more “complicated” relationship with the mothers or no relationship at all, it is a difficult day.
Rather than avoid it altogether, it can be a rich, if not always celebrative, day for all of us. We certainly want to acknowledge and affirm the gifts of God’s grace mother are. For those who celebrate mothers, wives, daughters and all women with children there is a lot of richness in saying, “Thank you, and I love you.” For those who have recently lost a mother it is a day to turn toward real grief. Simply realizing it could be a hard day and planning time to be alone, visiting the grave, or reaching out to a sibling or friend to share memories about a mother who has recently died can be healing.
Even for those who have no relationship with their mothers or those who struggle to become mothers, there is a place for Mothers’ Day. Who has been a true mother to you that your mother could not or would not be?
Women I have known who have had to deal with infertility have said how painful and isolating it can be. While they try not to dwell on it, it always seems like “everybody else is pregnant.” Something I have learned is that hard issues that I want to avoid usually have a way of creeping into my brain anyway. Now when these unwanted reminders show up, I ask myself, “What have I learned from…?” What have I learned from having cancer? What have I learned from aging? What have I learned from being White in this time of racial reckoning? None of those questions are easy to answer. The first answer I give to all of them is, “Nothing.” But then living with the question, slowly the answers come: Gratitude for the blessing of feeling good today; patience with myself I haven’t had before; and to first listen deeply to the pain of others.
Whatever it may mean I wish you all a very meaningful