I am painfully conscious of the awkwardness of me writing this post, but, alas, that will not stop me.
It's about Mother's Day.
I have seen churches where it is a kind of competition, with the mothers standing up and prizes handed out to those with the most or the oldest or the youngest. This, understandably, has been criticized as cruel to the bereaved or barren.
Our current church, trying to be more mindful of the variety of human experience, recognizes *all* the women at once. I understand the sentiment, but I don't really see the point. Why call it Mother's Day, then? It's like having all citizens be recognized on Veteran's Day.
But I think both approaches misunderstand the holiday. (For one thing, why is this part of church? Isn't church supposed to be about, well, God? But that's another post.)
No, we're even missing the point of having Mother's Day. Did you know the woman who brought Mother's Day about as a recognized holiday, Anna Jarvis, did not have children? Mother's Day was never about claiming honor as a mother. It was about giving honor to our mothers.
Back in the day, as my grandmother taught me, everybody got a corsage on Mother's Day. Red if your mother was alive. White if she was dead--because loss is also universal. It wasn't about a status some people had achieved and other people hadn't. It was about being grateful for the tremendous gift of existence.
Not everyone gets to be a mother, but everyone had a mother. Someone's body nourished yours before you even knew you existed. Someone risked her life to give you yours, and will always bear the marks of it. Someone (maybe someone else) put food in your mouth when you still didn't know what your hands were, taught you to use food and the toilet. Maybe they did it badly, even cruelly, yet still they gave you the moon and the stars and that is something to be thankful for.
Perhaps if our focus on Mother's Day was outward, on gratitude and not status, we could better share it without slighting anyone.