I run into it everywhere. Whole blogging communities focused on the approach of Mother’s Day, celebrating mothers through post threads, comments, tributes and sweet reminiscence.
It stops my breath in me, freezes me.
I can still only remember my mother caught in the chains of brain cancer … brain shutting down, body shutting down, dependent on our home carer and me for everything, even her basest bodily functions. These are the images of her still stuck in my mind, so sharply superimposed over all the other memories that I can’t remember them, the carefree, happy times.
They must be there somewhere. I desperately hope to find them again, the images of laughter, of silliness, of serenity. I feel like a child sitting among a pile of photos, wanting to take all the good ones, the pretty ones from the bottom of the pile, and put them over these other ones. But my fingers grasp at air every time. It is not time yet.
The nightmares return.
They make me want to avoid sleep, avoid my inbox, avoid the internet, avoid the incessant advertisements for Mother’s Day’s cards, flowers and chocolates … the frenzied homages and celebrations by the lucky ones. But I can’t. Not without withdrawing from this world entirely.
So I do the next best thing. I say thank you for the good memories buried below the others, the horrific ones. Even if I can’t yet see them. Just because I can’t find them, does not mean they are not there. They are. They will surface again.
I try to keep on being a good mother myself.
And I remember Him who used one of the most maternal images ever in describing His fervent love for us.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let Me.
- Luke 13:34
He cried, saying this. Wanting to gather us underneath His wings. Clucking over us in protective love.
I come. I submit.
I withdraw into the downy featheryness of underneath-His-wing, pressed against His heart. His heart that is big enough to be Mother and Father.
And all is well. I belong again. Safe. Mothered.
It brings me to stillness, this thought that to Him That Matters Most, it is I who matter enough that He draws me underneath His downy wing.
The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes.
- Isaiah 65:1-2