Monday, May 10, 2010
How Many Mothers Do You Have?
I celebrated Mother's Day yesterday by calling my mother and going to lunch with my sons and their mother (who is also my wife). I expressed my gratitude to both of these women for being such wonderful mothers.
I still remember a sermon I heard on Mother's Day ten years ago. It asked the question above and expanded my understanding of motherhood. All of us have mothers beyond our biological mother if mothering is viewed as a nurturing role. You could restate the above question as: Who are the persons who have nurtured you in your life?
Among my mothers are grandmothers, aunts, sisters, my wife, and friends. Not all of my mothers are female-- there are several male relatives (including my father), friends and mentors who have nurtured me in important ways. In raising our sons, I have both mothered and fathered them.
God, who is usually portrayed as a father, is also a mother. God give us life, like a mother, and nourishes and nurtures us like a loving mother. It is no accident that the Greek word often used in the Gospel of John for Holy Spirit is female (paraklete). This word is also translated as "counselor" and "comforter," both terms that convey nurturing love.
Therefore, I give thanks for all of my mothers. Without them my life would not be as whole and as abundant.