How does one honor their mother/mother figures in this time? How do we share our presence from a safe distance?
As I think about how undeniably unique Mother’s Day will be for us this year, I find myself reflecting on three experiences that might be helpful for you, as well, during this time of physical distancing.
1) This Mother’s Day, let’s learn from the experiences of those who have not found Mother’s Day an occasion for celebration or joyful connection. How have they navigated this holiday? My own mother died when I was seventeen. Though I have other mother figures in my life and children of my own to celebrate with, there is still a shadow of grief that hangs over Mother’s Day for me. Many others have lost their mothers, have had abusive or absent mothers, or have lost children. Give yourself permission to grieve physical or emotional separation from your mothers/mother figures this year.
2) I have noticed that distancing has actually brought me closer to my community and my global family. That may sound paradoxical, but our Christian faith is riddled with paradoxes that – if embraced – will help us be more whole and holy: “the last shall be first” (Mt. 20:16); “in order to save our lives we have to lose them” (Mt. 16:25); “in order to become great, we must become servants” (Mt. 20:26). Exploring our modern-day paradoxes may be the most healing thing we can do right now. This Mother’s Day, allow the distance to make you closer.
3) Lastly, as I think about Mother’s Day this year, I have been thinking about mothers who are in poverty or who are on the receiving end of injustices that threaten their livelihoods and the livelihoods of their family members. We certainly could learn a lot from these mothers about what it means to persevere in times of trial. Women of Color may well be the most oppressed group of people historically, and still today. And yet, they persevere. I recently read a snapshot of Women of the Modern Civil Rights Movement put together by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (click here to read). This article lifts up the fact that African American women were left out of leadership roles in the Civil Rights Movement, despite that they had an active and central role in it. From bus boycotts to school integration to voting rights and the March on Washington, African American women put their very lives on the line for equity and an end to structural racism. Role models including Fannie Lou Hammer, Coretta Scott King, Thelma Glass, Georgia Gilmore, Claudette Colvin, Josephine Baker and many other women instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement show us what it looks like to persevere in difficult times.
May this Mother’s Day provide us with an opportunity to reflect on what it will look like to persevere in this difficult and uncertain time. May we honor our mothers and mother figures by birthing a new way of being attentive to them, ourselves, and the world around us.
A Blessed and Holy Mother’s Day,