Our mothers can drive us crazy! It’s reassuring to see that Jesus’ relationship with his mother wasn’t straightforward. Mary’s disappointment with young Jesus when he disappeared in Jerusalem was just the beginning… Jesus’ family didn’t always understand him. They may not have seen eye-to-eye, but Mary doesn’t give up on the relationship. She becomes a true disciple. It takes some years for that to happen.
It’s sometimes hard to understand our relationship with our mothers. Our mothers relate to us from when we are very young and vulnerable, so there are a lot of layers to unpack. Some people do the mothering role really well, others do a tolerably good job, and some people are not good at it.
That makes Mother’s Day a complicated holiday. Most Mother’s Day cards idealize the relationship. I’ve never seen a Mother’s Day card that says, “Well, you gave it a good shot,” “Thanks for trying, “ or “It’s OK, I forgive you.”
I’ve often heard people comment that as they grow older, they appreciate their mothers a lot more. But that is not the case for everyone. When we are young, we tend to make excuses for our mother’s addictions, neglect, or cruelty. Maturity can mean realizing that we have a parent that has let us down in major ways.
This Sunday we’ll be talking about mothers. We want to celebrate good relationships, which is what we all would like to have. But we need to admit that in the community of faith there are hurting people…mothers who realize they have fallen short, children who are on a long journey of forgiveness.
This week’s prayer: We all need to be loved unconditionally, just for who we are. Thank you that some of us have experienced that kind of love from our mothers. Thank you that even when mothers let us down, you bring other people into our lives to mother us, in small and big ways. Thank you that even if major mistakes happen in intimate relationships, you are a God who knows the roadmaps for reconciliation. You’re always standing there with a sign saying “Forgiveness this way. ” Amen.