Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day: The gifts that, really, matter

A dear colleague in ministry, Rev. Andy Stoddard, shared this pastoral post offering hope to the broken-hearted facing Mother's Day. What caused me to pause and really allow his words, like a soothing salve, to pour deep down into the plethora of piercings that dot my heart is I know he is a fellow sojourner of the broken way. Coming from someone else I would have scrolled right past it dismissing these quips as the fluffy stuff Hallmark cotton candy cards are made of. 

I'm not really sure when this cynical bent first crept in. It was definitely after the death of my 12 year old son, but before the death of my mother. I think it just worsened after my mom blew us all out of the water by taking her life. And now it's sometimes difficult to listen to others try to offer advice, tips, help if they have not been heart crushed as well. (I don't share this like it's a good thing. It's a growing edge for sure.) 

Those that have lost children. Those that have lost their mothers.

Somewhere in the middle of those two lonely sentences, twin pillars of tragedy, you will find bits and pieces of my shattered heart. 

And no Mother's Day breakfast in bed, no carnations offered by precious children at church, no Sunday afternoon fancy brunch, no creative gifts that say, "I know you," no thoughtful cards, over the top Facebook accolades, or being offered chill time by the pool will take away this throbbing ache. 

(Now Kirby family: if you happen to be reading this--this is NOT your cue to take back all the darling gestures you have planned for your wife/mother or are now cooking up in response. Let's not go crazy here! And let the record state: I take back my earlier declaration, "We are just gonna skip Mother's Day this year." A Mother's Day happy or two never hurt anyone!) 

I'm just trying to say the broken dreams, shattered lives, loss of child or mother or both type of grief runs much deeper than what cards, chocolates and kisses can fix. 

I know this.

Andy knows this. 

And some of you reading know, too. 

I'm sorry this is a part of your life's tapestry (and mine). I'm sorry you are dreading facing another holiday that reminds you of your great loss.

And so, THANK YOU, Andy, for reminding me I do not cringe at the thought of celebrating Mother's Day alone.

I do not cry alone--Like yesterday when I completely freaked out a young sales associate at Dick's Sporting Goods. He will probably never ask another lady with her back to to him, "Mam, can I help you find anything?" For fear she might turn around and scar him for life by a mascara stained, blubbering, snot shooting out of her nose mess!  What exactly do you say to a person bent over completely overcome by grief that was triggered in a hot, unexpected second by DSG's clever "Give a Gift that Matters" Mother's Day ad campaign vomited from wall to wall? Apparently you say nothing. Because, honestly, you don't know what to say. You just stare back at her wide-eyed. Frozen like a statue. 

I do not dread tomorrow alone. 

 I chose to remember
Just as Jesus wept beside the tomb of His friend Lazarus, so now He weeps with all the brokenhearted.

And I weep with you, too, dear, brave ones. I hope and pray both you and I will be courageous enough to dream new dreams, to deeply love once more, to approach tomorrow a bit more thankful for the gifts we have--The Gifts that, REALLY, Matter--Family and friends to laugh with, love, and share this crazy, awful, beautiful, mascara ugly cry life with--The greatest treasures we can hope for on Mother's Day or any day.  

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