Mother’s Day: In Celebration

I waited.
A rare Sunday morning at home amp’d up by the knowledge that there was something special about the day, I waited. The question of going to church put to rest ’cause of health issues, I tried basking in the glow of a blissful morning in bed with no immediate requirements for getting up, a cup of coffee waiting on the bedside table graciously brought to me by my husband. 
Then, the sound of light exuberant footsteps down the hall, the eight year old (and only boy) in his Spider-Man jammies appeared around the corner waving a piece of paper. “Happy Mother’s Day!” He cheerfully said and handed me his card. And for a few minutes, I felt full with the acknowledgment of my self, my purpose, my vocation. Oohs and aahs uttered and every nook and cranny inspected, studied, discussed, and celebrated, the boy left, and the waiting resumed. Coffee sipped and returned to its bedside post, I think I may have actually folded my hands and pursed my lips, maintaining my station like some frozen, bitter, thin-lipped spinster.
See, I’m the mom here.
 There are five children in my care aged 8 to 17. I stay at home to care for and educate the younger ones, though my specs matter less than the role that ‘Mother’ does on this day. If you’ve acted as mother, been one, longed for one, longed to be one, need a gift for one, are wrestling with your thoughts towards one, Mother’s Day feels big. And for a few smug, lonely, self-righteous moments this morning, I felt cheated out of what I was owed. As though my title is what ought to have earned me accolades instead of my merit.

 They’re not here right now. That’s big all by itself. I’ve joked the handful of times that the library or bank ladies have pointed out my lack of children-presence that, “I don’t know what to think about!” when the kids aren’t with me. I joke, but it’s true. And just now, with no one to think about, no one to consider but me as I’m hungry and in need of a meal, what in the heck would I do were I to sustain continuous days of such a lack of consideration? What would I think about were my thinking not continuously interrupted by a smaller, younger, newer person inevitably in need of something whether it was a meal, or a word, direction, or instruction? What would I produce were I left to think about anything I wanted for an unchecked length of time? I don’t know. And frankly? (I realized to my utter surprise and joy) I don’t care.
 Because it’s not time for that. Right now, I have the rare and blessed privilege of caring for others. It’s not optional (which is probably the only reason I’m still doing it). If I don’t show up, if I don’t figure out the meal, the schoolwork, yeah, maybe someone else could step in, but there’s only one me. There’s only one me who knows these children quite the way I do. And that’s pretty darn cool.
 I keep a journal for each of my children, and though I don’t write nearly as often as maybe I originally intended, I try and write at least once a year as a way of “checking in.” I’d planned to record in words all that I inevitably wouldn’t record in keepsakes or photos. Like all things motherhood (caring-for-anotherhood), it was an easier thing to think about than it was an actual keeping-up-with-in-real-life thing. But it turns out that as I write, I know things about these people in my care. If being a mom wasn’t so terribly humbling for all the mistakes, it might be terribly heady as a power trip. You know some things about some people. And if you don’t, you should. 
Maybe that’s the lesson. Mom’s? Celebrate knowing some things about some folks and in that, use that knowledge to build up and empower them in a way no one else on earth can do. Mom’s? Or those-acting-in-as-mom’s? Think about how much you know about those in your care. If there are some gaps, celebrate this Mother’s Day by getting closer… ‘Cause there ain’t no replacement for a mother’s love; unless it’s a damn fine substitute. Earn your “Happy Mother’s Day!”
‘Cause that’s all our opportunity. To be the thing-that-no-other’s-willing-to-be to another human being. A love that sets aside all its own agenda for the sake of another. Mom’s? Celebrate the opportunity. Mom’s? Celebrate looking forward to doing better. Not a mom but aware of Mom-Power? Celebrate getting to be a damn fine substitute. 
Ain’t nothing like a mother, people. Ain’t nothin’ like love. And if the two aren’t synonymous for you, they ought to be. Love like a mother. Love like you wanna be loved, wish you’d been loved, imagine being loved. And if you’re the mom wanting celebrated? Be celebration-worthy.
My kids are awesome. Did they deliver what I wanted? Maybe not in the way I wanted, but love isn’t about what we get. It’s about what we can give. 
A good mom celebrates what she can give. Not what she gets.

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Puckered up 

Energy turned inward turns sour.

A relaxed grip

A look outward

Expended on these in my care

And all that wasted tension

Softens

Morphs

Spreads as something useful and

Warms outward in healing waves.

Love is an avalanche of healing fortitude.

 A mountain

 An ocean

 A steppe

 A fjord

 A forest.

Life’s entire ecosystem.

Not a locked up tension-puckered-toothless-soured littleton.

It’s vista?

Always breathtaking and

Further than the eye can see.

No cheap, temporary, quarter-paid-for-a-limited-view from some man made platform.

Every crevice, ultimate horizon, expansive silence and thundering roiling

Its claim.

Bringing belonging,

Springing forth,

Love changes everything.

All that’s worthy responsively?

Praise and thanks and glory remembered,

Celebrated, savored, taken in and poured back out. 

Dear, dear Jesus. All and every smallness and bigness. Deeds done and undone… To You, my Lord. All offerings to You. Praise!



“Send forth your light and your truth,

      let them guide me…

Then will I go to the altar of God, 

      to God, my joy and my delight…

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

      Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God…”

                                        (Psalm 43:3a, 4a, 5a)

Taste and See

Nudges and Glimpses of ebullient quality,

Encroaching, hurting troubles

Serve up all their own 

Flavors of glory.

Center You and

Reoriented, reminded, returned me and I’m (blessedly) back to

Positionally sound.

You:

Filler of spaces

Piercer of light and dark places

Present. Here. 

Sweet, bitter, salty, sour

Regardless of how all this may taste

You nourish. 

Seeing, willing vessels

You nourish

In spite of 

In light of

In love of.

Oh, You,

Author of glory,

Glory-sharer.

All me – all us?

                        Taste and See.

An Ocean

It might sound cliche, simplistic,

Pseudo-poetic

But – and I know I’m not supposed to swear –

But I swear it was real –

There was an ocean and 

It was in me and around me and with and in spite of and in comfort of.

So much water and moving waves that it was

An endless surface and me tiny upon it.

The ocean – 

I just got to be there with it, on it, in it.

An ocean – but no scary – and

It all rose and fell in a landscape of clean.

I was alone – in a way – but also held

Amidst this continuous, absolute, consumptive presence

Not my own.

Weeping, 

Love

(That I don’t deserve) 

Pours out and over my vessel’s rim.

I offer nothing but

Ears to hear

Eyes to see

Asking through belief and

(Sometimes out of desperation and by tenacious, teeth-gritted faith:

Also gifts, these)

Gifts of grace

He shares a whole ocean of love.

I am absorbed, carried, cleansed, filled

To overflowing.

Offering nothing, 

Grateful, overjoyed, so pleased to be HIS.

What else is there?

Where else would be better to be 

Than submerged, cleaned, carried on a whole ocean of love?

Thank You and 

Glory!

Premeditated Posturing

  
Nothin’ like my wretched to bring out yours

And you may mind me saying,

But there’s nothin’ like your wretched to bring out mine.

I know you’re not trying to NOT know me

But you’re not trying TO either

It’s hard to hug so much premeditated posturing

And I’m sorry I walk away disappointed in you

I don’t know why

As your refusal to know me

Is just another reflection of my own ugliness

This isn’t all there is

Praise His Name

This isn’t all there is

Bear with me

I’ll bear with you

Shed this outgrown itchy skin

For a fresh one

That gleams and shines

‘Neath the light

Inviting, welcoming

Ready and new for receiving all you offer

Impermeable to stings and scratches

Forgive my absorption of your ugliness

– please disregard it – 

As if I didn’t have my own to be rid of

I’ve gone and lazily let yours ooze through

Like so much poison all our transgressions

May mingle and choke out the healthy parts

If we’re not careful

I know better

A better way

An excellent way

A less garment-like way

One that doesn’t have to be changed nor shed

One that is rooted in – Who is – love and righteousness

Who never tires, nor offends, nor spoils

Who extends love to a thousand generations

Make us so, Lord. 

Forgive these petty (though still dire) offenses

Be our love

Thank You for Yours.

Love and a Waiting Room

In the waiting room
There’re all these darling couples

All this youth and love

All this wrapped-up-in-each-other sweetness

Primped and dressed for world-presentation

There are undeniable glimpses of the behind-closed-doors them:

Their private life and intimacy’s

Worn out here too –

In the way they look deep

(with suggestions and strains of hungry)

Light touches

The business of their daily’s

Peppered with playful talk and soft laughter

They’re marked by an insulating strength

In their unuttered yet undeniable shared secret

Bound together by the primal-est bindings 

To threaten their unity-strength’s

To threaten one’s own pullulation 

Their occasional comfortable silence carries 

Right back to comfortable sharing

Inadvertently staring 

My can’t-help-it-you’re-so-beautiful sunshine

Tries soaking in theirs

Without interrupting their gravity 

Aware of my olderness and otherness

I’m startlingly struck by and reminded about the wonderfulness of people-potential

When we’re bound together by life and love

Cautioned afresh about the fragility and power of the ties that bind us

All this protected selfish loving and I

Remember our sameness

This part of humanness and

How every love affair’s uniquely its own and

Every love affair’s a wonderful miracle

As common as day

Remarkable as light

All these lovely swelling bellies

Testament to life and hope and LOVE

The preservation and perpetuation of all these 

A love affair of all of us

Vulnerable and Married: together at last

Maybe my reluctance towards intimacy
Is an innate refusal to be possessed

Maybe I’ve bought the wrong lines

Regarding sacred union

Maybe I’ve perceived all the wrong sacrificial requirements

Maybe I’ve seen love (inadequately, tragically, falsely)

As an all “giving up”

Instead of following that gift through

To its more accurately and absolutely “all getting” 

I have kept you over there – arm’s length

(A safer distance, I thought)

Instead of drawing closer

(In desperate self-protection, I think)

And here, instead of “Impressive Impenetrable Fortress”

As my welcome mat

I have “Lonelier Than Ever”

Starving in this false autonomy

I’m sorry, my lover, my darling, and

(I mean it and vow to grow into all those designations)

I will try…

…No.

I will welcome you.

I will be patient

I will be gentle 

I will surrender in right ways

I will treat this ground and the one who shares it with me as sacred.

I will stop fearing the inadequacy of my own self possession

Stop seeing an enemy where there is you:

Welcome guest, honored, cherished, trusted, (wildly patient!) invited friend and lover.