By: Clare L Hurrelbrink
Today’s reflection is dedicated to Sophie, one of our second graders at FXW who just lost her mother. At the celebration of her mother’s life, Sophie’s dad so eloquently and affectionately shared stories of his love.. his heart, although now broken, beats holding on to his memories of her. He spoke of Providence at work in their lives, describing how they met. Their love story was no coincidence. Friends and family will help Sophie and her dad in the coming days…for Providence placed them in their lives. Providence is defined as “divine guidance or care; God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.” God calling her home was providential. Mother’s Day is singlehandedly one of the most profound, emotional, and blessed days of the year. Witnessing Sophie’s strength and perseverance these past couple weeks has both inspired and saddened me, as the memories of my own mother’s untimely death 38 years ago came rushing through my heart. Back then I stumbled upon the first steps of my own journey as a ‘motherless daughter’. With a strong foundation of faith, I knew God had wrapped me in His loving arms…it felt like a warm and toasty blanket on a cold day. I believe today He has wrapped Sophie. I have long forgotten many details of those first few days, weeks and months after her death. What I haven’t forgotten are some of the memories that warm my heart…25 goodnight kisses every night, wearing Chanel #5, singing in her church choir, Lilies of the Valley, and sweetly singing “Good Morning Mary Sunshine” to us every morning. She left me with her spirit, her strength and her passion. Our loving God cares for all of us without ceasing so we can grow in faith and in His love. He helps us to abide always in Christ, our true vine. As mothers, our branches are endless, so also is our love. These branches of love constantly reach out and touch our children, spouses, families and friends. These branches of love know no boundaries. A mother’s gift asks nothing in return but a smile. There is a Chinese proverb “an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.” Chinese folklore uses the image of the red thread to describe destiny. It says that invisible, red threads connect newborn babies to all the people who will be important in their lives. The threads shorten as these people, bound from birth, come together. Our belief that God guides our paths sometimes leaves the faithful troubled. How do we reconcile the idea that God has a divine plan with the reality of losing someone we love too soon? In the face of such difficult challenges, we often don’t know where to turn. As simple as it sounds, Jesus offers us an answer in John’s Gospel: “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The greatest lesson a mother can teach her young is how to love one another as well. Motherhood is filled with questions, comfort, discipline, hugs, words of encouragement, and unconditional love. Motherhood can also be filled with distance, uncertainly, fear, and harshness. Relationships between mothers and children are messy, complicated, frustrating and joyful all at the same time. Motherhood is by far the most demanding, exhausting, worry filled, joyful and celebratory job in the world. Pope Francis believes “To be a mother is a great treasure. Mothers, in their unconditional and sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism; they are the greatest enemies against war.” We remind ourselves that we are able to love as Christ loves because we are immersed in the Paschal Mystery. We must love with compassion, mercy, and forgiveness, and work for a just world. The worship aid from the celebration of Sophie’s mom included the following quote by Anne Lamott, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” May God’s grace hold our mothers and those seeking motherhood in the gentle palm of His hand. Blessings for a delightful Mother’s Day!
Clare Hurrelbrink is a Religios Ed. teacher at FXW.