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]