Belated recognition for the sacrifice of mothers

For many years, I've had a bias against Mothers' Day. I'm not against the concept, it's a private grudge. My own mother died 40 years ago and my ignoring of the celebration has been payback to the universe for that perceived injustice. But time heals and occasionally makes us wiser, writes Ron Rolheiser.

Now, on Mothers' Day, I'm always conscious of my own mother and find good reasons to celebrate. You don't have to be alive to nurture someone, and such is the case with my mother. Jesus told us that we receive someone's spirit more purely after they have left us and I know that's true.

Forty years after her death, I am more conscious of who my mother was and what she gave me than I was during all the years of my childhood when she was alive and her motherhood embraced me tangibly.

What my siblings and I are now conscious of, more clearly than when she was alive, is that we drew a long-straw. We had a good mother. It's as simple as that. In everything that was essential, she gave us what's important: security, protection, a sense of being wanted, a sense of being precious, adequate food, adequate clothing, the underlying sense that life is good, and, most of all, the sense that we are in the hands always of a God who is trustworthy.

None of this, of course, came perfectly. My mother wasn't God. She had real limits and so did the energy and the resources she drew upon to nurture us. We were a large family and were chronically strapped economically. We had enough, but just, just enough. There were never any extras. That was also true for the attention and the affection she could give out to us individually.

She didn't have the time, energy, or luxury to dote on any of us individually, even as none of us ever doubted that we were getting as much from her as if each of us had been an only child. But still, all of us felt her limits and live with the effects of that today.

FULL STORY Mothers' Day (Ron Rolheiser)

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