Mother’s Day touches a variety of powerful emotions. As I begin this blog post, I immediately think of my young friend who had her first baby a week-and-a-half ago. Knowing her, she’s undoubtedly tickled pink about celebrating her first Mother’s Day as a mommy. She’ll probably eagerly check her Facebook page all day tomorrow for Mother’s Day greetings. I plan to be among the many who will leave one.
For her, Mother’s Day is full of joy and newness. She will remember to acknowledge her mom, her stepmother and her grandmother, as she always does, but this year will have a different sweetness for her. And I find myself rejoicing with her.
I also think of my college chum who raised three sons. She navigated through their teenage rebellion, in its varying degrees of complexities. That family faced serious struggles, one of which nearly destroyed her with the sort of anguished grief that only that child’s death could have surpassed.
But, praise God, the boy didn’t die. He and his brothers straightened out and grew into responsible young men. Yesterday she proudly posting a picture of a Mother’s Day bouquet her oldest son sent to her. I felt her joy palpably despite the 3000 miles that stretch between us, and my heart danced with hers.
But I also think of a friend who couldn’t get pregnant. Circumstances prevented her and her husband from pursuing adoption. She spent Mother’s Day curled up in bed, finding it unbearable to go to church and endure sermons on God’s blessing on motherhood. And I remember sitting through a Mother’s Day service with another friend who silently wept the entire time because she had suffered the latest of many miscarriages earlier that week. Finally I think back to a few short years ago when my friend (at the time only 15-years-old) bravely came to church on Mother’s Day, shattered because her mom had lost her battle with cancer just the night before.
My heart broke for these dear women. For them, and many like them, Mother’s Day means deep emotional pain.
I also experience discomfort on Mother’s Day, receiving no gifts, cards or flowers. Well-meaning people sometimes assure me that I’m a spiritual mother to many. I never hear such words at other times of the year. And really, I’d like a pretty gift bag with yellow tissue paper poking out of it (maybe an Amazon gift card inside) or a phone call from my nieces.
Yet I live between the women who celebrate this holiday as happy mothers and the women who suffer through the day with overwhelming sadness. My discomfort only comes from minor selfishness, which I can confess and renounce fairly quickly. I believe the Lord would be more honored if I joined my happy friends in their delight at motherhood and sorrowed with my friends who face the holiday with pain.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. ~~Romans 12:15 (ESV)