Wisdom

For moms, even slippers can be running shoes


It seems to me the adage, “You can’t fool mother nature,” was really a take-off on the original, “You Girlonrailroadtrackscan’t run away from your mother.”

I will never forget the first day I really tried. I don’t remember the circumstances that initiated my bolt out the front door, around the corner to my cousins’ house. They lived directly behind us, our yards touching in a corner across a few feet of fence.

As I ran like the devil was chasing me, I remember thinking, “She’ll never catch me. She doesn’t even know where I’m going.” Silly me.

I rounded the second corner, up their gravel driveway and concrete porch steps to pound on the front door. “Let me in! She’s after me!” I yelled, certain my cousins would know who “she” was.

Relief flowed over me as I heard the click of the front door latch and a voice saying, “I’ll let you in.”

But it took only a few seconds for the emphasis on the “I’ll” to sink in, and to realize the hand reaching out of the door to pull me in was my mother’s.

I don’t remember her words after that, though I am certain there were many. I just remember thinking “how??”

I began to realize that you should never underestimate a mom when it comes to doing what’s best for her child, and that includes vaulting over a split rail fence in slippers and an apron so your daughter doesn’t grow up believing she can get one over on you.

With the wisdom of age, and being a mom myself, I’ve realized it’s not so much a matter of running away from mom, but of mom always being present, and unconcerned about the cost, when a child has a need, even a need for correction.

Thanks, Mom.

 

Image at Pinterest, Alida Bigham, Black and While photos, found at 500px.com.


True strength comes from surrender to the Word of God

Annuncia-thumbDifficult times in life often encourage us to wonder how other people do it. How do they navigate the losses, the pain, the simple day-to-day struggles that life brings with it?

 

Mary is one of those people. We look to her with wonder, considering the challenges of her life as Jesus' mother and the profound losses she incurred. I often wish that Scripture had recorded more of her words and her actions, but even without them, we may find a key to her strength in one sentence of her Magnificat: “Let it be done to me according to your word.” No pre-requisites, no codicils, just surrender.

 

In a homily for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Benedict XVI taught a lesson on Mary and God’s word that is worth reflection whenever we need to be reminded of the source of our wisdom and strength. He said, in part, “Thus, we see that Mary was, so to speak, ‘at home’ with God's word, she lived on God's word, she was penetrated by God's word. To the extent that she spoke with God's words, she thought with God's words, her thoughts were God's thoughts, her words, God's words. She was penetrated by divine light and this is why she was so resplendent, so good, so radiant with love and goodness.

 

“Mary lived on the Word of God, she was imbued with the Word of God. And the fact that she was immersed in the Word of God and was totally familiar with the Word also endowed her later with the inner enlightenment of wisdom.

 

“Whoever thinks with God thinks well, and whoever speaks to God speaks well. They have valid criteria to judge all the things of the world. They become prudent, wise, and at the same time good; they also become strong and courageous with the strength of God, who resists evil and fosters good in the world.

 

“Thus, Mary speaks with us, speaks to us, invites us to know the Word of God, to love the Word of God, to live with the Word of God, to think with the Word of God. And we can do so in many different ways: by reading sacred Scripture, by participating especially in the liturgy, in which Holy Church throughout the year opens the entire book of sacred Scripture to us. She opens it to our lives and makes it present in our lives” (2005).


Mary's wisdom is a mother's wisdom

Visitation, modern, fuzzyThere is an adage that the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother. I would add, after raising six sons and being a wife, the best gift a mother can give her children is to love herself.

This is a wisdom that was long in coming for me, and even though my children are all grown, I am still struggling to learn how to take care of myself.

As mothers, we have a tendency to sink into the mindset that if we can’t do everything perfectly ourselves, then we are bad mothers. Nothing can be further from the truth.  There is not a person on earth who doesn’t have limitations, and to acknowledge our limitations is not to admit defeat.

It is to be wise.

Women helping women is an ancient tradition welling up from the truth that raising children and caring for a family is hard work. There is no work harder, no physical labor more strenuous, no emotional effort more demanding. Without help we can quickly burn out and our children are the ones who suffer from that burn out.

God calls us to one thing – to love as God loves.

This has nothing to do with how many tasks, dishes or children we can juggle at one time; how long we can go without sleep, or how many burdens we can carry on our very human shoulders. 

Love is about nurturing the seeds of potential God has planted in each heart through our patience, our presence and our prayer. It is about respecting the dignity of the life God has placed in our care. It is about giving roots and wings and abundant offerings of forgiveness – not just to our children, but to our “selves.”

 “During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? … Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.”  Luke 1:39-43,56