Poems & Writings
For Mother's Day
Great Mothers of the Bible
The Mother of All Living - Genesis 3:20 -
more specifically of Cain, Abel and Seth (and several unnamed others).
I guess if we are to commence in
chronological order, we would have to begin with Eve, the mother of us
all. And she was the woman who made THE monumental, mind-blowing,
affects-everybody-forever mistake. So she probably deserves the
bad rap she gets. But it wasn't like there were any other women
around to make it instead of her, right? Maybe she was the first
to partake of the fruit just because she was the only one who could
remember where is was in the garden (women just know where stuff is).
You have to feel a little bit of sympathy
for the girl who didn't have a mother to ask about how things were for
her back in the day. when the kids had a temperature or were
teething she just had to figure it out on her own, but then again,
nobody could look at her and tell her that she was doing it all wrong.
And sure, she got us into epidurals, but she had the mother of all
heartache, too. Her sons were involved in the first homicide
(without Nintendo and violence on TV to blame it on). She was the
first mom to have to bury her child.
Bathsheba was well-named as it was her
"bath-ing" that attracted the attention of King David. Their
illicit affair resulted in the birth of a son. David tried for
some damage control by sending her husband out to war, back to the house
hoping for a copulating cover-up, and then out to the frontlines to get
killed. (And we think we have seriously evil plts in our current
movies.) David got his wish - Bathsheba's husband was killed in
battle, and David thought he had gotten away with it. Nathan
confronted him and David repented bitterly. But we enver really
hear how it all affected Bathsheba.
Their sin is well documented and the
effects to David's household long-lasting. However, a son was born
from their union and Solomon turned out to be a peaceable ruler whose
wisdom was legendary. Bathsheba's motherhood gives women hope
that, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy and the
birth of your child, God can redeem any situation. You never know,
you might just have the wisest person ever on the planet staring back at
you from that high chair.
If there was ever a mom whose life would
have made a great screenplay for a Lifetime for Women movie, it would be
Jochebed. You just have to give it up for her and the midwives
who, in their act of civil disobedience, allowed Moses to be born.
Those midwives, when asked by the pharoah why they were not killing the
boy babies as commanded, replied that the Hebrew women were "too
vigorous" and popped those babies out before they could get there!
Thus baby Moses was born but had to be
sent down the river (literally) with his sister as lookout, only to be
pulled out of the water by the pharoah's daughter, who secured the
services of Moses' biological mom to nanny him. Talk about movie
script material! Oh wait. They've already done that.
Anyway, Moses' mom shows us that the determination and ingenuity of a
desperate mother can result in surprising circumstances. Oh, the
places you'll go!
FINALLY - MARY
- Talk about your Personal EPT... I mean Mary's was early, EARLY! And
accurate, too. Angelic visitation definitely qualifies as a sure
thing. But the favored girl had to have some concerns because
unwed pregnancy was a little different back then. You could get
stoned for it. I'm sure she was very relieved to find out that the
angel had given her beau, Joseph, the same message. and yes, she
was going to give birth to the divine gift of heaven, but, as any mother
knows, all gifts come with some work attached. She still had to
change the Baby Jesus' diapers, soothe him as he teethed, teach him to
walk, and clean up his skinned knees. she had to cook the meals
and wash his clothes and do all the things that moms do for their
children. It's interesting the places we see Mary pop up in the
gospels; for example, at the temple sending out an APB for her boy.
(I believe I might have grounded Jesus if he told me that he was just
doing his father's business, but no such reaction from Mary is
Another of my favorite mother moments of
Mary's was when she was at the wedding feast apparently exasperated with
her thirty-year-old son for not doing that "thing" he could do with the
water. When Jesus seems to refuse to come through the way she
knows he can, she goes around him and tells the servants to get ready to
do something for him. And Jesus does the miracle. I would
have loved to have been there to see the looks pass between mother and
son that night. And then we see Mary at the crucifixion.
Disciples may scatter, followers may be in hiding, but a mother stays
when the rest of the world walks away. In fact, Mary is a rich
tapestry of real motherhood; a lot of excitement followed by years of
work and moments of intense pain. But through it all, mothers are
Prodigal Son and the Poison Ivy
by Jean V. Dickson
My father turned to me and
said, “University - I can’t send you to university! You need to get a
job so you can support your sister.”
His words slammed into my solar plexus. I stood there with my mouth
open, wheezing for wind, searching for sanity. And I thought, “This must
be what the brother of the prodigal son felt like.”
In that moment, I empathised with the anger of the son who stayed home.
I too saw red – a river of red blood. The celebration calf slaughtered
before my eyes. A reward carefully prepared for the lazy, dissolute
child while I, the responsible child, got no reward. I, the good child,
was supposed to work to support my sister’s sloth.
I wouldn’t have been hurt by my father’s words if my sister were five
years old and needed looking after. But at 29, my elder sister was more
than capable of getting a job and supporting herself. However, like the
prodigal son, Gail liked spending money - as long as she didn’t have to
work for that money. Gail was as likely to dive into work as a cat
catapult into cold water. Even with a flock of birds on the other side
of that pond, it just wouldn’t happen.
As far back as I could remember, Gail would yell for an hour instead of
doing 15 minutes worth of work. Then, when I was a pre-teen and Gail in
her twenties, she convinced my parents that she was ill - that she
needed to spend each winter someplace warm, someplace expensive. One
night, exulting in her victory, she boasted about how gullible mom and
dad were, believing her when she pretended to be ill.
As much as I hated how my sister manipulated my parents into giving her
the money to go away each winter, I rejoiced whenever Gail left.
Because, hell on earth was only another way to say Gail was in town.
Yes, I had many good reasons to resent my sister. I hated her
manipulations, her lies - the way she would try to embarrass me in front
of my friends, and teachers. The way she would barge into work, refuse
to leave and try to get me fired from my job. How she would take credit
for my work when relatives visited. The many times she tried to make me
late for important appointments.
Oh, yes, I had many good reasons to hate my sister, and I thought about
them constantly. I loved to dwell on all the ways she had done me wrong.
She was an itch that I just loved to scratch.
It was the poison ivy that brought me to my senses.
When I looked at the red, itchy rash on my son’s arms and legs, I didn’t
know what it was. At first, I wondered whether it might be chicken pox.
But then our neighbour pointed to a patch of soft green vegetation
gently shaded by a cedar hedge. “That’s poison ivy. You don’t want to
touch that. You don’t want to even walk through it. Because the poison
will stick to your shoes and the next time you touch them, the poison
will touch you right back.” He paused, then continued, “You should put
up a ‘Keep off the grass’ sign - just until you get it under control.”
Maybe it was because I had just spent an angry hour arguing over the
phone with Gail. But as he said these words, I suddenly realised that I
had spent 30 years carefully cultivating an emotional poison ivy patch.
Each time I took out Gail’s list of sins, I walked over to the edge of
my poison ivy patch. Every time I stopped to dwell on a particular
injustice, I took off my shoes, rolled up my pants and waded through the
ivy. Each time I exulted in my superiority, it was if I had taken off
all my clothes and was rolling in the ivy, rapture radiating from my
face. Afterwards I would scratch my legs raw as I sat happily
contemplating another way she had done me wrong.
That afternoon, I finally realized my emotional poison ivy patch was
more harmful than the one outside. The only way to combat it was to
apply the calamine of forgiveness.
That night, as I kissed my son’s cheek, I once again thought of the
prodigal son. Brushing my son’s hair from his forehead, I understood why
the father killed the fatted calf when his lost son returned home. There
was no doubt in my mind that I too would kill a fatted calf for my son.
And for the first time, I wondered why I ever thought the son who stayed
home was justified in his anger.
That night, as I stood outside my son’s bedroom door, I put a ‘Don’t
Walk on the Grass’ sign in my mind, to match the one outside in our