Yesterday was Mother’s Day and lots of families filled the pews as they sat together showing each other off. There were new babies and grandmothers and moms with corsages. We gave out flowers to all the women and I told some funny things that children say about their mothers. I also indulged myself and told a couple of cool stories about my mom.
Some churches honor the youngest and the oldest mothers, but I never liked doing it. (Who wants to be the oldest mother?) I didn’t mind blessing the youngest mothers, even when they were fifteen years old and really didn’t need to be raising a kid at that age—if anyone needs a blessing, they do.
I gave it up the year a nineteen year old woman seduced a fifteen year old boy and had a child by him. I didn’t want to honor her; I wanted her arrested (I felt the same way about the older guys who got the fifteen year old girls pregnant).
I am always aware that this is not a happy day for everyone. We always have a few women in the audience who wanted desperately to have children but were unable to. Our church has more than a few mothers who have lost their children in the last year. Some people did not have happy childhoods and the happy sappy family stories mock their hearts. Plus, while I spoke, I was aware of one mother praying in the hospital waiting room that her grown son will survive the terrible injuries of a freak accident.
I picked one of the Ten Commandments and spoke of what it means to honor our fathers and mothers, and just why this is the only command with a promise—that those who do so will live long upon the earth.
As children, we do what we’re told, and that’s part of honoring parents. As adults, we come to the place where we honor them by caring for them in their old age. As for those who had painful childhoods, who did not have parents worthy of honor, I usually ask, “are you sure about that?” Sometimes it is right to give our parents a break even if they made bad mistakes but they did the best they could. Then I suggest that it is right and good to show mercy where it is needed and that that’s a kind of honor. We find healing when we practice that kind of honor and I suppose that will help us live a long time.
Many grieve for our parents, which is also a kind of honor. The pain can be a testament of our love for them, I suppose.
Call me a kill joy. It’s an occupational hazard that I spend the happiest times of the year ministering to people who are at terribly unhappy. I don’t want to bring everybody else down, but I spent at least a little of the hour asking people to shoulder some of the burden of our saddest people.