i received a mother’s day card the other day, and was surprised by how moved i was. it’s a gorgeous card that talks about a mother growing her garden with love and kindness, wearing beauty in her smile, carrying hope in every pocket, even as she teaches us to walk gently upon the earth, patiently planting seeds of love wherever she goes.
my path hasn’t included the literal versions of motherhood, and while it’s felt very right to me, there are times when i have been tempted to feel wistful. but even in those moments, there is a greater awareness of the vastness of what it means to mother and be mothered, and how each one of us has the opportunity and privilege to nurture, advocate, defend, watch over, love, appreciate, celebrate, cherish, embrace, give witness to the people in our lives, and even more broadly to do this with a great, loving, forbearing, and fierce heart for the world.
i have a good friend who has taught me a great deal about this kind of love, love that stands relentless and constant, even in the face of rejection; love that claims its own even while it sets them free; love that holds a light to shine out darkness; love that knows way past knowing that who we are will always be something profound, precious, unique, necessary.
i think about the song by John Legend, “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child…a long way from home” and the primal yearning to feel mothered, cherished, held as the apple of someone’s eye, safe, secure, adored, delighted in, loved. there’s something about this longing that transcends human experience…something that can only be described as a hunger for heaven, for a confirmation of inherent relevance, belonging, an assured connection with all that matters, a deep and certain sense that no matter what our lives have been like, we are holy, sure, undamaged, complete. Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way: “The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.” She also talks about the demand for spiritual, practical, Christian healing as “the babe that twines its loving arms about the
neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart.”
i love this image..even the present possibility that each one of us can reach out, respond, wrap our arms around the imminent presence of an all-encompassing Mother Love; that even as we do, we call forth infinite care from a boundless loving heart–that knows us, calls us, and in turn shows us the unspeakable worth and significance of our lives. this turning, this hungering prompts awakening that dispels longing, a self-contained certainty of the sacredness of life, a love borne of the infinite, that cannot be contained, but shines its impartial, borderless presence everywhere.
Jesus gave us extraordinary glimpses of the power of the divine mother Love–the only real and revolutionary power–so simple and fundamental, earthshaking, transforming, inherent, at hand. and yet we chafe at its demands, feel unequal to its possibilities, even while Love compels our longing for it…prompting, insisting, demanding that we discover the true homeland that lies within us, the spiritual oasis of peace and freedom that pours forth unquenchable abundance. the longing is not a message of absence. it is simply a waymark pointing us toward home; tracing the design of Love’s hand within us–the surety that we are all made for glory, all of us awash in Love’s omnipresent light.
Mary Baker Eddy’s poem “Mother’s evening prayer” covers it all.
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.
Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.
O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, — since God is good, and loss is gain.
Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
“Lo, I am with you alway,” — watch and pray.
No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven’s aftersmile earth’s tear-drops gain,
And mother finds her home and heav’nly rest.