Sermon Mother’s Day, May 14, 2017
Wow! What a fabulous day to do a fabulous thing: honor our mom’s. This day and all it brings forth including all of you is sheer perfection. I delight in it. I invite you to join in the delight and significance of this day.
Today, I join you in celebrating with joy and love and kindness the hardest job in the universe–motherhood.
And, I join you in recognizing the most important people in the entire universe: mothers.
We honor all mothers: grandmothers, step-mothers, adoptive moms, foster moms, wanna-be moms, soon-to-be moms, and unofficial moms, those who haven’t given birth—all of us who nurture and express our maternal self, the Divine Feminine, no matter what.
We honor all who serve with humility, devotion, determination and love. Who do the nearly impossible task of being gentle and strong, kind and tough, patient and loving all day, and sometimes all night, long.
On this day, we remember mothers because they practice the saying that all of us Centers for Spiritual Living folks have heard and repeated many times quote “We believe in the eternal goodness, the eternal loving-kindness and the eternal givingness of Life to all.” Unquote
These words are what all moms—birth mothers and non-birth mothers, named and unnamed, known and unknown—have a deep desire to be and do.
To be the Eternal goodness, that’s the knowing that something wonderful exists and is always available no matter what; to demonstrate love; to be the loving essence that is always present
To be the Eternal loving-kindness, that’s knowing that we are surrounded, and wrapped in warmth and acceptance and are never separated from this caring, compassionate presence and that love and kindness are freely given at all times in all ways to all persons including ourselves.
To be the Eternal givingness that’s knowing that Life says Yes to us, always, in all things; so mom’s want to be the yes-sayers, to be the positive force, the energizing force at all times, in all ways, to all people.
So, today I rejoice in this most important celebrations of the year: Mother’s Day.
And I remember both my grandmothers:
The one who left her home, family, and friends in Czechoslovakia with her new husband to travel to France to board a ship to come to the land that had streets of gold, this wonderful country of ours.
And the one who kept her family alive in the mountains of Appalachia and who fought for unions and economic justice
Few would call these women successful. They had careers that are rarely called careers and even more rarely called jobs: they practiced the career/work of wife, of mom and community organizers.
I am so very grateful for both of these women. Both did a great work.
Take a moment. Remember your grandmothers; remember all the great and wise things they did or if you weren’t lucky enough to have known your grandmothers, remember the wonderful things you’ve been told about them or that you hope were so about them.
Renew these kinds of memories now and then wish your grandmother’s a Happy Mother’s Day.
And I remember
Mrs. David Stewart. I told you about her. She’s the wife, mother and community organizer who brought phone service to my Appalachian farming community.
I remember Mr. and Mrs. David Ice who paid the way for all the kids in my church to attend summer church camp year after year without fail.
I remember Mike, the high school bus driver, who put up with all the high school boys. These boys would do everything possible to make him leave them behind day after day so they would have an excuse for not going to school. He was an unofficial mom to those boys, nurturing them, protecting them, seeing to it that they did the right thing.
I remember Mrs. Hutch, the 4-H leader, wife, and mom, who made certain every kid in my community had the opportunity to join and participate in 4-H. She was another community activist 4-H is a leadership training for farm and country children much like the Scouts only there’s no requirement for things like uniforms that farm and country children might find a bit pricey. Mrs. Hutch took countless children under her wing. She was an unofficial mom to children who weren’t her birth children.
Again and again, she went out of her way to make certain children got to meetings, got to contests, got the supplies, materials and information they needed and went to 4H camps and trainings.
“So what if you got a white ribbon for your demonstration of how to measure flour, next time you’re get the purple,” Mrs Hutch would say and guess what, the next time you would.
None of these people will ever be in the history books, no one will ever give them an award, but consider how great their service was to God, country and community.
Each of these persons were really good mothers and really good leaders. They nurtured, they built solid teams, they saw the potential in each child they served. They built on the strengths they saw and encouraged all of us to go beyond the right here and right now. They inspired, guided and they asked of us. We were encouraged to do things, to step out, to leave fear behind.
Take a moment. Recall those people who did the work of mom and by so doing made a positive difference in your life and the lives of countless others. Wish them all a Happy Mother’s Day.
And I remember all the inventors, researchers, educators, musicians, artists, writers, workers of all kinds, all those idealists and creatives, known and unknown, named and unnamed who gave birth to something new and was a parent to it, causing their idea to grow and be part of this world.
Take a moment. Recall all those persons who’ve made a difference, who aren’t normally thought of as mothers or parents but who did bring newness to this world and then caused that newness to grow. Wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.
And now think of your mom, or moms. Most of us when we understand what mothers do for us realize that we have more than one mom—we have our official mom and we have all those unnamed, seldom called mothers who are unofficial moms, the people who haven’t given birth but still do the things moms do.
These are the folks who along with our mom helped:
- nurtured, supported and took care of us
- raised us to be independent, healthy, happy and courageous
And, taught us:
- to be good neighbors
- to know the difference between truth and fiction, and fiction and outright lies
- to live an upright life
- and, to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem in the situations that face our planet.
Take a moment. Think of your mom. Think of all the people who helped her raise you up. Acknowledge this accomplishment as the great achievement that it truly is. Wish your moms a Happy Mother’s Day.
Today, we recognize those who do the most necessary, the has-to-be-done work of the human race, those who do the work of keeping us alive and well.
It’s such a great celebration that instead of parades, fireworks, gatherings to hear a speech or two and awards banquets we are doing the kind of celebrating mothers want.
We honor these folks—male and female, having the name of mother and those who are the unnamed moms, those who gave birth and those who didn’t —by having a day of calmness, of quiet joy, gratitude, and appreciation because calmness and quiet are what mothers crave the most.
So we mix calmness and quiet with good food, kind words and our best company to say, “We love you. We honor you. We value you.”
We also value the unmentioned, seldom acknowledged mothering work done by people like a certain music teacher and a certain janitor.
A year or so ago, a woman came up to me outside of a Federal Express office.
This is what she said,
Quote “I teach music at a local high school. I was given an extra-large room to use as an office. It had a sink and some cabinets, so I brought in a refrigerator, a microwave, a sofa and some chairs. I stocked the refrigerator with food. I wanted a hangout for the music staff and any of the other teachers who wanted such a space.
I noticed that food was disappearing rather quickly. I figured out that a student was spending the night there. I didn’t know what to do so I kept the refrigerator stuffed with microwaveable dinners and snacks plus other snacks like apples.
A few weeks passed. One of the janitors came to me and asked if I knew –. I quickly silenced him by saying, “If you tell me this, I will have to go to administration and bad things will happen.”
The janitor nodded and walked away, but after that the laundry center was left unlocked with detergent left out; the shower area was left unlocked with toiletries and towels left out.
A few weeks ago at high school graduation, a Hispanic grad said to me, a white music teacher. He said, “Thank you. If you hadn’t helped me, I wouldn’t have graduated. My family found out I was gay and kicked me out. Various friends let me stay at their houses during the weekends, but I had nowhere but your office during the week. Thanks.” He, also, thanked the black janitor for his help.” Unquote
The teacher nodded and walked away. I realized that her heart was overflowing with love and gratitude and a story she did not dare tell others because bad things might result. Bad things like rule keepers who will make certain this kind of thing can’t happen again.
You see, there are others who need and will need the kind of silent support, the kind of unofficial mothering, she and this janitor willingly gave.
These two demonstrated the goodness, the loving-kindness and the givingness of Life to all that Ernest Holmes writes about.
I have no idea where this teacher works or her name. As usual, when a stranger comes to me and talks, I never see that person again.
I only know that she joins all those for whom I am the designated listener, an unofficial mom, when they need a listener most. I am the story keeper for those who need someone they can trust to listen to their story and only tell it when the time is right.
And so, this teacher and this janitor join thousands of men and women who are also unofficial moms, who allow their desire to nurture and be maternal, who allow their desire to take care of, to support and to encourage come forth, who want to be the eternal goodness, eternal loving-kindness, and eternal givingness of life to all no matter who, no matter what, no matter where, no matter how.
These are the people who go out of their way, sometimes putting jobs and careers at risk, sometimes putting their life at risk, to be an unnamed mom; to freely gave support, nurturance, and safety to a child who isn’t theirs, that they didn’t birth.
Think for a moment of all those times when you have been an unofficial mom, have been the goodness, the loving-kindness and the yes-sayer of life. Wish yourself a Happy Mother’s Day.
Let us remember that all the world’s children—young and old—are looking to be loved, accepted, nurtured, soothed and cared for by mother energy.
I thank all of you—young and old—for being that mother energy.
I thank all of us for doing the toughest job on the planet: for being a mom.
I thank all of us for demonstrating Eternal Goodness, Eternal Loving-kindness and Eternal Givingness to all, no matter what, no matter where, no matter who, no matter the cost.
Let us go forth and celebrate all the moms with love and kindness and joy.
And, so it is.