Mother's Day is this weekend, and it has me thinking about a number of different women in my life-- none of whom are likely to have an easy time with the holiday this year.
A college friend lost her mother suddenly in January.
A really wonderful blogger lost her son a year and a half ago.
My favorite girlfriend's mother lost her husband last fall.
Another college girlfriend lost her mother back when we were in school, and still grieves.
My husband struggles with the mothers in his life.
I love my mother, and am trying to live with some extraordinarily difficult things in our relationship.
Another blogger struggles with her relationship with her son, which is nothing like what she expected.
A friend from a former congregation still grieves not being able to have children.
Another friend has shared about her experience with the "mommy wars," and how hurtful women can be to one another about their mothering choices.
One of my oldest friends isn't in contact with her mother, after years of emotional abuse. She struggles with that absence, and also with the hostility with which people react to her estrangement.
This is not an easy holiday, and it reminds me of something one of my favorite bloggers writes about. She hates when she shares about her family's tragedy, and someone says, "Oh, I can't imagine what that's like for you." For the longest time, I couldn't understand why this was so upsetting to her. After all, I don't want to presume that I do know what she's feeling! And, because I respect her so much, I sat with the idea during my quiet time one day. Praying with it was like having a dam burst open-- I felt like the words delivered a huge wave of isolation, condescension, pity. "I can't imagine" suddenly struck me as code for "that sort of thing couldn't exist in my reality, it doesn't happen to people like me." I've had some experience with that. There are wounds in my own family that carry stigma, and people don't want to be able to relate, they don't want to imagine that the grime and the pain could touch them.
On this Mother's Day Eve, I'm holding all these people listed (and more) in God's light. It's a weekend of deep and ongoing prayer for me. There is a great need for tenderness and nurturing right now. Will you join me in my vigil?
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