The posts began to appear early this week. One by one, friends started to post on Facebook this article by Anne Lamott. Then, this article appeared. I’d read the first when it was initially published. I waited until now to read the second article. I so appreciate these words even though I really don’t want to read them. I would really rather hide under my covers until Monday morning. Because I’m having one of those lonely days where I’m checking Facebook way too much. So, I watched today as my friends profile pictures changed to include snapshots of their mothers. This is apparently a thing where we try to comfort ourselves by surrounding ourselves with internet community. But, it doesn’t work. Especially now. Because Mother’s Day is tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning, I will have to lead worship and try to praise God when all of these wonderful women I serve will be talking about breakfasts in bed and special treats from their little ones and husbands. And I will think of my mother. I will think about how much I wish I could surround her with that love. And I will feel a little empty as I do every year. Because my mother died when I was seven years old. She was sick when I could have burnt pancakes for her. I don’t have any sweet memories of this day. Not with my mom.
|My wonderful stepmother, my serious dad and me.|
But I have a stepmother. I was blessed with this wonderful woman who has loved me when I can’t bear to call her “mom” because I’m afraid of losing that connection to a woman I lost at 7 years old. She has been my mother for more than 20 years. And I am so completely grateful for that love. So, three weeks ago, when the cards first appeared in the supermarket, I tried to choose a card for this wonderful woman. But I couldn’t. Because none of those pink, frilly cards said what I needed to say. I searched high and low for a card for a step-mother or an adoptive mother. Or something like that. But there wasn’t anything like that. I only found those words that we always say about mothers — those words that feel so hollow and foreign to me. Those words that are so full of my own grief that I can’t reframe them into the blessing I have received. I didn’t buy a card. I walked out of the store in tears.
Tomorrow, as I preach the good news of Jesus Christ, I will try not to let those tears show. I will try very hard not to let my complicated feelings about this holiday cloud the experience of God’s people. But, I already know that someone will be disappointed that the only thing I said about mothers was a faint reference to God in the prayers. It won’t be enough for them. I know that. I hope that they can find that space somewhere else tomorrow. Because I really can’t find the words for it this year, if I ever have.