Faces on Faith: If mama ain’t happy . . .
May 14 is Mother’s Day. Contrary to what some may think, the holiday honoring mothers was not founded by Hallmark Cards. In fact, there was to be nothing commercial about the special day!
In the United States, Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Ms. Jarvis, who never bore children herself, promoted the holiday to honor her own mother, who was a war hero caring for the needs of wounded soldiers. Her intention was that the day would include recognition during worship at churches and synagogues across America, with children taking the time to write a note of appreciation to their mom.
The florist and greeting card industries quickly responded to the holiday, generating a multi-million dollar weekend in tribute to mothers. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar.
I realize that for many people Mother’s Day is awkward. Not everyone had a great mom. In fact, some have had mothers who left them with deep wounds. And many moms feel a great sense of failure. Women who have lost a child, or who could not have children struggle through Mother’s Day. So for many, Mother’s Day can be a painful day.
Motherhood however deserves to be honored. The sacrificial nature of bearing a child and pouring one’s life into that precious one often tip toes around the edges of miraculous. When I think of my own mother, raising five sons on a small pig farm in Missouri, I am in awe. At the age of 41 my dad suffered a debilitating heart attack, which impacted our family dramatically financially, sociallyand in every other way. My mom was amazing those years, supporting and honoring my dad in every endeavor, while stretching meals that made the family feel like our resources were bountiful. Often as she served up the platter of fried chicken I can still hear her say, “Remember to save the neck for me. That’s my favorite.” And she ate it like it was.
Mom was far from perfect! She was tough. She was not religious, and had an uncanny wit that could cut you off at the knees. Once in my teens, when I was preparing to go off to college, I told my mom I was going to miss her. Without missing a beat she said, “You’d miss a wart off the end of your nose too!”
I am grateful for my motherand grateful for who mothers are and what mothers do. As someone once said, “every mother is a working mother.” Soputting aside all the commercial frou-frou, I say, “Hats off to you, Moms.and may God Bless You.” And to all the sons and daughters.let me encourage you to write that note.say that prayermake that call.and honor mom.
-Dr. Daryl Donovan, Sanibel Community Church