From One Child To Another
My mother told a story when I was in my college years. It was in response to my going into bars and entering foosball and pool tournaments. I told her, and it was mostly true, that I ordered Diet Coke when I was there, and stayed away from the women. I did order Diet Coke. I found the women irresistible at times. She told her story, as a woman that had made it through the “going to the bar” phase.
Mom smoked cigarettes against her parents will. Her strict religious upbringing allowed her to feel as if she was rebelling somehow by smoking cigarettes. She also went to bars with her friends, in an effort to fit in, and as a woman, garnered the attention of men that were there, and as the story goes, one man in particular, who played football for the University of Tennessee.
As it happened, the story ended with this football player being, what I call now, “a classic turd”. There may have been a drink thrown, there may have been improper language used, and if I picked up the story correctly, it left my mother feeling hurt and depressed. The story was not told in an effort to make me feel sorry for my mother, but in an effort to show me that actions, especially with regard to relationships, matter a great deal.
What my mother became, in later years, was a compassionate, kind, and caring woman. Always thinking of others (both family and strangers) before herself, and a lover of all that was good in the world. She forgave my transgressions against the upbringing that her and my father sought to provide. She encouraged my doing what I love verses what I could do well. She gave of her time, her will, her money, and herself, in ways that became only more imaginative with her being bound to a wheelchair in later years.
My first-hand experience with mothers was shaped by all that my mother had been through, all that my mother had become, and all that she allowed herself to become through her passion for those she loved. She loved everyone. While nobody wants to think of their mother being ridiculed in a bar by some overly muscled football player, it was a part of what made her the woman she was. While her intent with the telling of that story might have been to encourage me to treat others with respect, it served also to let me in on a little of what created the woman she was.
Everything worked out, and afterwards, and my mother and father found each other over a game of ping pong, in a student center, on the now run down campus of Hiwassee College. Neither of them graduated, though both could have taught courses on many things. By all outward signs, they were successes in their professions, and my father, still living, is loved by all he meets, just as my mother was when she was living. But there is nothing about their profession, or their ability to make it in the world, that I enjoy more than the stories about friendships and what lengths they went to in order to help those they met.
Especially the stories that I can tell about how they have helped me. I hesitate to say that after the three or four years since my mother’s funeral that she is not with me. Somehow my mother lives on, but perhaps not in a heaven, on a cloud, playing a harp. Maybe in a more real way that is related to the world that she physically left. Maybe in a way even more real than I might imagine.
We would like to believe there is a place where our loved ones go, that offers few tears, just after they leave this earth. This may be true. We want to believe our deceased loved ones are now our guardian angels in life. This may be true as well. We want to believe that they lived their lives in a way that gained them admission into eternal bliss. And as I have said, this may be true. I have not passed that way, so I do not know for sure.
Without forming an opinion on any number of sacred texts. Without consulting the leader of this or that religion. Without asking mediums or psychics what my departed mother might be speaking about such things in these times. I can say, she is with me. This is why.
If I am in God, and God is in me (I know that is a stretch to some), and the kingdom of heaven, as described by those I admire, is “now”, then no matter where my mother finds herself, as one absorbed by the kingdom of heaven, she is now with me in a way that was not possible before. The love she had for me in physical form can be multiplied and shown in new ways as a part of the kingdom of God that is not limited to one form. Am I dreaming? Am I deluded somehow? I do not think so.
Those you love, those you miss terribly, those you feel have gone from your seemingly growing lonely life, are with you. Just as you do not know the chemical composition of the air you breath to sustain your life, you do not know what makes up the kingdom of heaven in which you now live. Or even, what makes up the Divine with which you interact with daily.
It is not so much that your loved one is gone, it is that you have graduated from the need to see a physical form when you need that love. The love your mother gave was from God, through God, and in God. Now, it is, as I often say, “on steroids”. It is still there. That love is being given to you in a way you may not yet know how to receive, but it is there.
Mothers Day, for me, is a chance to form such opinions, as I do not have a mother on this earth in physical form. Life is sacred. Mothers are sacred. What happens when mothers pass is sacred. We live in a world where a mother’s love could be used in so many ways. Sure, we could criticize our mothers, we could think about what we lacked, or we could take the example of nurturing life and bemoan all the imperfections that come with the trying of a thing, but we celebrate the miracle a mother is… and continues to be.
Take these words at face value. Little more than keystrokes placed in my spare time. It is not my intent to create in you a belief, but it is my intent to nudge you in a way that make new possibilities become more possible. My hope is that you find some comfort in knowing that love is real. My hope is that you know that love is waiting in great volume behind a dam of what we call “self”, or “ego”, and that whether you let it drip through or destroy the dam, the only thing holding that love back is our ability to receive.
Happy Mothers Day. From one child to another.