Mothers Day is messy for me, a different kind of wonderful-hard-precious-messy every year.
I know I have loss issues. They muddy up just about everything I do, in a really wild and beautiful way that I’d never wish away. Grief and the missing of a piece of my heart means that my heart hears softer and feels deeper and sees brighter than it did before it fractured and mended back together. It beats stronger in my chest now that it did then.
Since I sent part of myself to heaven - my tiny baby who waits for me there - there are some events, some seasons, some stories, that hold a little more space and weight.
I am late to the Ahmaud Arbury party, and the Covid party, and the politics party too, and just about every other touchy confusing heartbreaking party out there; admittedly because it gets real messy in my mind and heart. I haven’t until this moment dipped my toe in the political/social commentary water because I was raised to know that’s an invitation for a fist fight (and in my modern adult life, a total internet assassination).
Sadly, most of these issues aren’t political at all, and it exhausts and confounds me to no end that we force them into being political. Because issues are about people - and people are sacred. But the politic ship is messy and broken and angry and riddled with agendas – and to an average American woman (me) it feels like we're raising NO ONE up to adjust the sails. I know those good leaders are out there. We just can’t seem to get them into enough places of leadership that make an impact.
Mothers losing their children isn’t about politics.
Mothers losing their children is a siren wailing that our humanity is bleeding.
I don’t want to be a better liberal or conservative, or a better Political Party Member. I want to be a BETTER HUMAN BEING. I want to be a person in the world who sees the lost and the last and the least of these precious people – the little people. Children who need adults for help. The adults who need other adults to speak up and make waves.
I know it’s possible to love God and simultaneously hate him for breaking your heart. Just like it is possible to love people and simultaneously hate them for breaking the world at the same time too. Not the kind of hate that embitters you towards God or towards people… the kind of holy rage that boils up inside you and blinds your eyes with tears until you turn it into fuel to get your boots on the ground and do something about it.
I am just one person. And it all feels so big.
What can I do?
Our friend Katie marches for babies. I can’t quite do that yet, I don’t know why and can’t even really explain. My muddy loss garbage makes it hard. But she marches and we write checks. It’s what we can do.
I can ask hard questions of myself and press on my own uncomfortable thoughts. I can stay in a place of humility and be willing to learn. I can admit that maybe what I thought and did and said before was wrong, and start listening to people who are doing it right. My polite silence was a chicken card I can’t keep playing anymore.
There are mothers losing their children every day. To malnutrition, to poor care, to lack of money and education, to disease, to unhinged school shooters, to abuse, to racists, to bullies, to shame, to addiction. I can’t understand it. I will NEVER understand it. So until I can get these blurry tears out of my eyes and figure out how to turn them into fuel to get my own boots on the ground, I will support the people who are already there.
- I will work hard to earn and save money so we can write the check.
- I will socially distance and wear a mask so we don’t spread the virus.
- I will teach my children that every human being is created in the image of God, who loves us fiercely and unconditionally. No matter how badly we muck things up down here.
- I will teach my children that we are only as happy as our saddest friend. We are only as healthy as our sickest friend. We are only as lucky as our unluckiest friend.
- I will teach my children that nothing, NOTHING, gives them cause to mistreat or abuse another human being. They and they alone are accountable for their behavior and choices.
- I will teach my children that when we find ourselves saying “somebody should do something about that,” WE are that somebody.
There is a mother who lost her son, while he was out for a jog. I don’t dare assume the arrogance to throw judgement or a political ax or an opinionated slant on this, because that statement is fact: There is a mother who lost her son, while he was out for a jog.
I am a mother who lost her son.
I am a mother who lost her son, a mother who is willing to move mountains if it means another mother never needs know the pain of burying a child.
I don’t know what that mountain-moving looks like yet for me. This is all new. It took me more than 10 years to gain even a little understanding my own pain, so as that blurry-eyed grief is turning to fuel I’m staying curious and humble and quiet (well not really anymore I guess) and I’m looking toward the people who are doing it right. The people with their battle-worn boots on the ground.
It’s no coincidence tomorrow is Mothers Day.
There are no warriors on earth like mothers. A mother will fight to the death for her children. A mother will fight to the death for anyone’s children. Because there’s this strange part of motherhood that makes you love something outside your body more than you love your own self. I love something outside my body on earth and in heaven too, and that double-realm split magnifies my love a thousand times, stronger every day.
I have learned the best way we can love our children is to love ourselves first. And that means getting our mental junk right. It means getting our heart stuff right. It means being able to look ourselves in the eye and know that what we’re saying on the outside matches who we are on the inside.
Because whatever’s bubbling up inside of us is what our children learn.
I want my children to learn courage. Selflessness. Awareness. Care. Action. Faith. Wisdom. Humility. Perspective. Confidence.
I want my children to learn love. No exceptions.
Because God is love, and God loves his children.
That’s all of us. No exceptions.
Happy Mothers Day, loves.