“I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:3-7
Sunday is Mother’s Day and I am a swirl of emotions and not sure I can be coherent about them. A dear friend suggested that we should do away with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and all of these days that bring both joy and pain to so many. That pain isn’t just about death, although losing a loved one means those celebratory days hurt for a while. Rather it is the pain inherent in all broken and imperfect relationships that raises up on these days. I recognize this pain, but I’m not in favor of giving up a celebration of an ideal simply because reality often falls so short – maybe even always falls so short. Instead my hope is that we fine tune our relational antennas to sense those who are hurting and to support, love, encourage, and pray for them – to bring them ‘before the Father from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name’ (Ephesians 3:14, 15).
Kristin, Becky and Joni came into my life and granted me the title ‘Mom’. That hasn’t changed even though Becky has moved to heaven. So today and this weekend I delight in Kristin, Becky, and Joni and what they mean to me. I delight in grandchildren – Amity and Dara, Helen and Patrick – what joy to have them in our lives. My deeper grief this year is for Amity and Dara as they navigate the dark waters of not having their Mom for this first Mother’s Day since her death. There are no ‘things’ to fill this void, no words, only the love and prayers of Daddy, grandparents, family, and friends.
I have to confess that to some degree I’m looking past Mother’s Day to this coming week and Becky’s graduation. In some ways my eye on that event muffles my experience of Mother’s Day. Steve and I will be together with Jacob, Amity and Dara in Omaha, Nebraska at Creighton University to celebrate Becky’s achievements as she is awarded a posthumous Doctorate of Pharmacy. So bittersweet. Everything in me wants to be the invisible and permeable shield for this family as we experience these days — to shield from more hurt, but to allow joy and celebration to the core of our hearts. This is crazy thinking – I am not capable of being this for myself let alone anyone else. I am so blessed to have the opportunity just to be there, to fully experience this, to love on and pray for Steve, Jacob, Amity and Dara, and to laugh and cry and remember with each other and Becky’s friends.
“Lord, I open my hands to give You this weekend and this coming week in all of its beauty and sadness and swirl of emotion. Work in the coming days and hours and seconds to glorify Yourself and to show the truth of Your love and beauty in the midst of our sorrow and loss. Keep my desire to control and fix things at bay even while you keep me sensitive to Your work in me and others. All my trust is in You Good Father!”