Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothering Sunday

Today in worship every woman present received a plant. During the children's sermon I spoke of women and how they had impacted our lives (teachers, VBS leaders, trip chaperones, counselors, etc...). I wrapped it into the commitment that all folks in the church make during a baptism to help raise the person who is being baptized in the faith. Then the kids helped hand out plants.

I try to keep it very generic because I know that I am one of the lucky ones.

Three years ago I was not in church on Mother's Day. I just couldn't bear it. Our first child, a daughter, had been stillborn the previous November and although I thought I could probably get through it, I didn't want to... and I didn't want to feel like the congregation was watching me to see if I was going to get through it.

TDH and I took off with our bikes for the weekend to a neighboring county and rode around and stayed at a fancier place than usual and I remember feeling like I was finally in a good place about things and it felt good. I could see young children running around and not feel like it was stabbing my heart... or look judgingly at their parents to determine if they realized how lucky they were or if I needed to take those children immediately.

I am one of the lucky ones because the very next Mother's Day I WAS in church leading worship and it was my first Sunday back following a beautiful three month maternity leave. I preached from the pulpit and in the midst of the sermon about God's love stepped down to the floor, took my young sleeping son from my husband and walked around the Sanctuary saying:

A parent holds the newborn child, I happen to know a little about this now, so you should take my word on it. This child is nothing but a bundle of needs; it does not produce a thing but demands for nighttime feedings, and dirty diapers; lots of dirty diapers.

The parents holding that child were perfectly fine as a couple before that, and before that doing very well thank you, as a single man and a single woman. But since that birth something has changed forever. If something were to happen to that child mom is not sure she would survive. When dad shows up at church the Sunday after the child was born and gets asked, “How is your weekend going?” does he say, “Oh, you know, ok.” I don’t think so.

He’s got a goofy grin on his face and his shirt isn’t buttoned right and he is showing pictures and talking about his child as though it were the first baby ever born.

The God in heaven was perfectly fine; perfectly complete, perfectly perfect. And then, in love, God created. And God became God the Father. God became like a mother, holding her baby, and you became a child of God.

How could we ever think that what happens to us matters little? When you create something you become vulnerable to it. God would die if something took the life from you.

God did die.


I am one of the lucky ones. I know this every time he takes my hand, every time I smell the back of his neck, every time he cries, every time I get to teach him something new.

And so on this day I give thanks for mothers. I also give thanks and pray for all of those who so desperately want to be mothers. I know that this earthly kingdom is a temporary place, but it can also be a cruel place. And when life is cruel... it doesn't feel temporary, it feels like forever.

I pray that you feel God's love and embrace of solace around you. I pray that even in your darkest hours you are able to let God the Mother in to care for you. And I pray that each and every one of you will be one of the lucky ones... and soon.

21 comments:

zorra said...

Thank you for keeping it generic.

I ducked out a side door today to avoid the carnations.

will smama said...

carnations are bad for anything but a mafia funeral.

I'm just sayin'.

towanda said...

Oh. my. Thanks for this. Blessings to you.

cheesehead said...

Sorry. Hard to type. Screen too blurry. Need kleenex--now.

(((WS)))

more cows than people said...

thank you.

Songbird said...

Teary here, too. (((ws))) You really know how to say things.

Alex said...

Peace to you... and Happy Day.

mompriest said...

((WS))...you brought tears to my eyes as I remembered...I had a miscarriage early in my first pregnancy. Not the same, but I know a little of that pain and sorrow. Indeed it has been a joy to watch my two grow up, now 18 and 14. YIKES where has the time gone. Yes. Lucky in so many ways.

esperanza said...

Thanks for this.

LadyBurg said...

Yeah thanks. Our most recent "fight" in staff meeting when I was using this new voice of mine was about Mother's Day. I just wanted to call it Mothering Sunday. It mattered to me. It didn't to Senior Pastor. Mother's day can be hard.

Thank you.

will smama said...

ladyburg - one of the things that happened after our tragedy was that women started sharing their stories with me. Women who had children but remembered the one they lost 5, 15 and in one case over 50 years ago. I learned then that just because someone isn't physically bleeding does not mean that they don't have a very deep wound.

Michelle said...

My parish had a Mass of Remebrance this week for those who had lost children of any age, and at any time (it's an annual event). One of the Italian grandmother's asked me to be the cantor, to sing for them. There were parents there who'd lost children 60 years ago. I wish this had been the homily for them.

And thank you for keeping it low key - after I was widowed, every one of those sorts of things hurt.

will smama said...

Thank you for commenting Michelle, you are right. This aspect of grief is only one hill that folks must climb every time these 'special days' come around. Loss of a parent, abusive parenting, tough family dynamics, etc, etc...

Sue said...

Thank you for this ws. Your sensitivity around Mothering Sunday is a great gift to your congregation, and to all of us.

Grace thing said...

Beautiful. Thank you for this.

Serena said...

Amen to all of the above. Thanks.

Reverend Dona Quixote said...

I am glad I read this today

Cecilia said...

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Thank you, and bless you.

Pax, C.

Sally said...

beautiful, wonderful words- just reaching for a tissue...

April said...

Oh my goodness, I am just now reading this and it's just so beautiful and powerful. How blessed your congregation must be by your leadership!

will smama said...

Thank you all for your kind words.