What Happens When God Can be Mother Too?

Mother God Loves the Bully, Too

Yesterday, Marshall told me more of how the girl at school hurt him. He actually had told her he didn’t like the violent things she said, but she kept saying them. She’d threaten him in various ways to get him to watch her horror- based Toontastic videos: “I will drink all your blood if you don’t,” or “I will choke you if you don’t.” He was afraid she would do just what she said, so he complied. He said, “It was horrible.” Marshall says she did this kind of thing to the two younger girls in the class, too.

I know now why he said—or where it came from—that he’d choke me, at the psychologist’s office. He never knew what choking was before this girl. Just makes me angry and sad.

I’ve been reading Tatoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyd, a Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries in the gang neighborhoods of L.A. He talks about having to face the challenge of loving the kids who murder the kids he loved.

And of the mothers. One mother’s oldest two sons were murdered within one year. She ended up in the ER one day with heart problems. Suddenly, a teenage boy was brought in right next to her. He’d been shot several times.

It was certainly a boy who was in the gang who’d shot her sons. The team was working hard to save him, but he was dying. She knew her friends would say to pray for his death. But she knew also she could not wish another mother to go through what she’d been through. She began to cry for the boy and prayed for him to live. And he lived.

This is the great love of Mother God, who takes the bully under her wing, as well as Marshall.

Yet, I wonder, how does Mother God feel happiness, delight, in each of her creatures, no matter what they do? I guess the same way I feel delight in my kids no matter what they do. The delight is the default, after the pain, after the anger. Always delight eventually.

But there is still pain. For two days, Sam has wanted to swing in the back yard in his toddler swing. I can see his beautiful face this way. I sing “back and forth” to him in a sing-song way, and he smiles at me like a light was inside him.

If I pretend I am someone else, I can momentarily erase the dullness in my eyes. The sadness and grief go away, and I can meet Sam in his pure, new delight. But as me, I want to hide my eyes from Sam (though I don’t). He needs an adult to mirror his joy.

To mirror Mother God’s joy. Boyd writes, “Delighting is what occupies God, and God’s hope is that we join in. That God’s joy may be in us and this joy may be complete. We just happen to be God’s joy. That takes some getting used to.”

Yes, it does, and calling God “Mother” is helping.

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