When I feel invisible, my mother sees me in her mind and heart. When I experience joy, no one is happier for me than my mother. When I’m in the throes of depression, no one has more compassion for me than my mother. When I accomplish a major feat, no one celebrates more than my mother. When I’m rejected, no one stands stronger for me than my mother. When I wallow in self-pity, I can hear my mother’s voice repeating her mother’s words, exhorting me to serve others instead of feeling sorry for myself. And when I’m shivering while everyone around me is sweating, I know that somewhere my mother is experiencing the same thing.
Six years to the day since my first entry in this blog, which I have woefully neglected over the past year, I still feel many of the emotions that I did back then, albeit for different reasons. God has delivered me from the pain, bitterness, and shame of my divorce. I’m still prone to fits of depression, though. Loneliness, as well. I often feel the weariness of just existing rather than really living, trudging through the humdrum of everyday life, merely ticking off days on the calendar. I’m blessed with a career that I love, but going home to an empty house every day gets extremely old, even for an introvert like me. I feel like a phantom sometimes, or that I only show up in other people’s peripheral vision, never directly in their line of sight. All of my sharp edges have been filed down.
Three things keep me going when I’m in the valley. 1) Jesus is Lord: of the universe, of humanity, of my circumstances, of my life. No matter how off-axis the world seems, it isn’t going anywhere unless He says so. 2) Jesus will never leave or forsake me, even though I leave and forsake Him all the time. Others may be fickle toward me…and some certainly have been…but Jesus won’t even avert His eyes from me. 3) My mother is praying for me. All the time. Without ceasing. And if I need advice or encouragement, she’s always there to provide it without judgment or criticism.
I often hesitate to tell her when the bad times hit because I don’t want her to worry. I came by that instinct honestly, though, because I got it from her. She never has wanted my sister or me to worry about her. It’s a testimony to her selflessness, something that I see in my sister and saw in both of my grandmothers. God must have created mothers to be living examples of what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves.
I can never repay my mother for her love for me. But that’s kind of the way it works with parents and their children. My best present is to live my life the way that she taught me to so that I can be a positive reflection of her and my father. Even a couple of years from turning 50, I still have no greater aspiration than to please my parents. I thank God that they’re both still here. I don’t take a single minute with them for granted.
I would be remiss this year if I didn’t mention my great admiration for single mothers. People spend a lot of time decrying absentee and deadbeat fathers, and rightly so. That abdication of responsibility is the cause of so many things that are wrong with society today. But we need to spend more time praising, encouraging, and helping single mothers. These women have more on their plates than the rest of us can fathom. I’m thinking of one I know in particular. How she balances all of her responsibilities while raising a happy, successful, talented child is beyond my comprehension. God must give some people more than 24 hours in a day.
As a man not having the privilege of being a father but who has a father who has exemplified all that a responsible dad should be, seeing men turn their backs on their families is truly galling. If you’re a single mom, I salute and applaud you. May God bless you with a joyful Mother’s Day.