|photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net|
Then there are the churches who give a gift to a mother. I visited a church a few years ago on Mother's Day and was handed a Mother's Day gift. I hung my head and said I wasn't a mother. (I have always wanted to wait until marriage for children. Because I am not married -- in a huge part because I was taking care of my mother as her health failed -- I am dismissed on Mother's Day.) The greeter smiled at me and said, "Take it anyway." Know how happy that made me? It wasn't the trinket he pressed into my hand, but it felt like he was saying, "It's okay. You're valuable, too. And I don't want to make you remember the pain of a loss you never have had."
What about the gifts of "Oldest mother present" (Who likes to tell their age), "Youngest mother present" (often times a baby herself), "Mother with the most children" (remember there are those who have lost children either by miscarriage or by childhood disease or accident -- please don't bring up that pain).
Another time I was in church on Mother's Day and the pastor was giving a sermon about how mothers are so important and they can influence their children. He was emphasizing this just a little too strongly, I thought. Yes, mothers have influence, but sometimes the best mothers can have a wayward son. During the sermon -- until she left because she was sobbing -- was the mother of a child who wasn't in church. The sermon made her feel like a failure.
Is it important to honor mothers? YES! It it important to honor women? YES! Are there women who want to be mothers who aren't? YES!
So, please, as you are thinking of Mother's Day celebrations at church, remember those who might be feeling pain on this day and plan your celebration accordingly. Why not give a small gift to all women and talk about the mothering spirit? Or even not mention earthly mothers and make the focus on Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Even if we don't have children, she is someone all women could aspire to be more like her.
Just please remember those who might find pain in this holiday.