Every year, my husband hopes to win the Research Award at his university. He deserves it. But every year, he is passed by. This year, he asked others not to nominate him so he wouldn’t get caught up in it all again, so he could keep his focus on what really is important.
I feel the same way about Mother’s Day. I have hoped for some Good Mother Award to drop down from heaven. And this year, I am changing things up, like my husband with the Research Award. I’m changing my focus from myself to the world.
The other day at the on-ramp to the freeway, we passed a young woman all dressed up, with a sign that said, SOUTH. A man in a tie-dyed shirt sat on the roadside nearby. I looked into the woman’s face and instantly knew she wasn’t yet a woman. She looked fourteen, though tall.
Then my usual internal dialogue kicked in–the big discussion I end up having with myself on freeways about calling 911 for a non-emergency. I hate calling 911. This time, Mother-God-in-Me won. I called.
It felt like the most important thing I’d done that day, even though I knew this girl might hate that I’d done it, and that it was possible that she’d end up in an even worse situation by going home again, or by ending up in foster care.
So, now I had to pray, to be a mother-out-there-who-cares, to be Jesus and Mother God to this girl. I’d possibly changed the course of her life, and I had to care.
This is what Mother’s Day is about. It’s been a long time since I read about the 19th century writer and feminist, Julia Ward Howe, who started Mother’s Day in 1870 as a way for mothers to honor their dead sons by rising up against war. This is her proclamation:
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
Several author-bloggers, like Brene Brown, are “taking back Mother’s Day” in her name, and encouraging women and men to give a maximum of $25 to the Compassion Collective which supports Syrian refugees and homeless teens. I contributed to this on Tuesday, and it felt so good to be a part of something so big, that starts as just a simple wish in each of our hearts for others not to suffer.
I’d already decided to get over myself and had my ten-year old pick out a World Vision gift (seeds and farming tools for a family). But now I know that this is truly the spirit of Mother’s Day: justice. It’s caring for the hurting in the world, reaching out our motherly wings to gather in Jesus’ chicks, finding Jesus’ lost sheep and carrying them home.
The cards and gifts will fade, even their memory. But the love shown to those who suffer builds and spreads and creates a new world.
Happy Mother’s Day!