Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

The Bible tells us to honor our mother (Exodus 20:12). For some of us this task is simple and natural. For others it is difficult and contrived. Some mothers are nearly perfect. Others have made so many mistakes that only God can clean up the mess. Either way, God says, “Honor your mother.”

My mom, Bonita, is imperfectly perfect. For the last twenty-five years she has been a single parent. Despite her demanding job as an accountant and parenting my three older siblings, she loved me like I was the only one to love. I ran track and cross country in high school and college. She drove thousands of miles to see me run around a 400 meter track countless times. She was my biggest fan – celebrating the victories and encouraging me on the days I wished I was on the golf team instead of being a distance runner. She is not perfect, but as far as moms go, I am blessed. She enjoys and loves her many grandchildren. But she still loves me like I am the only one there is to love.

The role of being a parent is holy and sacred. Even if the parents are neither holy or sacred, the role of parent is still sacred like the role of pastor is still sacred even if the pastor is a scoundrel. Being a parent is ordained by God, the creator and sustainer of life. Being a parent has responsibilities and rights. The responsibilities are many.

Entire books have been written on parenting: but praying, playing, listening, and modeling a Christian life are a good start. These responsibilities are for the parent of a six year old child and the parent of a sixty year old child. The rights are many as well: smelling the hair of a sleeping baby who has recently been bathed, laughing with the child exploring life, watching the child running races or dancing dances or singing songs, witnessing the child become who God wants the child to be, and having that child care for you when you are no longer able to care for yourself just like you once cared for the child when he or she was not able to take care of himself or herself.

Today is Mother’s Day. God’s command to honor your mother applies today as it does every day. Honoring them doesn’t mean putting them on a pedestal or worshipping them. It means seeing them for who they are and who they are not. It means loving God and our neighbor as faithfully and selflessly as mothers at their best have tried to love us. It means listening to them, praying for them, playing with them, and taking care of them to the end of their days on earth.

To mom and all the mothers reading this—Happy Mother’s Day!

[Thanks for Frederick Buechner for his inight on Mother's Day]


Anonymous said...

Hi Craig,
You hit on so many worthwhile points I'm not sure where to start.
Mom's are people too and yet because they have committed to motherhood, they are capable of behavior and sacrifice that awes all of us. But free will is tough. Sometimes mom's (and dads) don't meet our expectations, probably because they've exceeded them so much.
As their children we should strive to cut them an iota of the slack they've given us over many, many years. It's called growing up and sometimes we don't do it that well.
I know too that if I've made the same commitment to my mother that she made to me I can't help but do everything in my power to make her life what she wants it to be. That's called gratitude and we ought to show it more often.

I don't want my mother to get older, lose the ability to care for herself or manage her own affairs but I know that if that day comes I'll return everything she gave me a hundredfold.

It's simple, she's my mom.

Thanks for your thoughts on this,

Craig Finnestad said...

Hey Doug,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Very insightful and compassionate. It sounds like your mother is a blessing to you and that you are a blessing to her.

I was thinking that another word for "slack" may be "grace". Kind of a technical point, but I think that the parent - child relationship is one that can both model and embody grace.

Thanks again for sharing!