Monday, May 13, 2013

Post Mother's Day Thoughts

If you came here hoping for a meditation for the Feast Day of Julian of Norwich, it's here.  Lutherans and Anglicans celebrate her day on May 8.

I thought about writing a Mother's Day post yesterday.  But we were up early, headed to Key West with my brother-in-law and his wife.  My Mother's Day post might not have been anything you wanted to read anyway.

I'd have said talked about all the money that we spend on one day, and all the money that we don't spend on mothers in 3rd world countries.  Or our own country.  I'd have probably talked about all the mothers who can't afford to stop working, Mother's Day or no Mother's Day.  I'd have probably lingered on various social justice issues.

Maybe I'd have talked about how much families spend on this one day, on things that are fleeting, like restaurant meals and flowers.  Why not buy Mom some shares of stock for her special day?

I'd have wondered how many pastors were going off lectionary to talk about mothers, even though many churches don't talk about motherhood at all for the other Sundays of the year:  just Mother's Day and perhaps Christmas Eve.

Maybe I'd have talked about creative acts, like making a baby, and how that could give us insight about God.  Maybe I'd have talked about mothering an adolescent, which could give us insight into the ancient question:  "How could God let this bad thing happen?"  We're not puppets controlled by God.

Maybe my feminist self would have come out railing against the idea that woman should be defined by their wombs.  Maybe I'd have celebrated the 20th century developments in birth control that allow us to control our fertility.

Or maybe I'd have just taken a gentle way round and posted a poem.  When I read this poem, I see my sister with my nephew when he was younger.  I also see a feminine face of God.


The pediatrician tells her to change
her bedtime practices with her baby.
All her friends agree: "Just leave
the baby in the crib. Let the baby cry."
In this way, the baby will learn self-comfort.

The evening compresses with the wails
of a baby not skilled at self-comfort.
The mother sleepwalks through the day,
but even her bleary eyes can see a failed
domestic policy. For several generations,
parents have left screaming children to self-comfort.

Now a nation careens from bottle to bodies to fudge,
looking for love.
Never before have so many members of a country gulped
anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants.
The unmedicated drink wine or scotch
or eat whole cakes for dinner.
With a shudder, the mother looks at the angry
offerings of a popular culture raised
on this belief that they need to comfort themselves.

She returns to the rocking
chair, the nightly ritual craved
by herself, her baby, and several billion citizens
of a scary world that's short on comfort.
She sings nonsense songs and smells
her mint tea seeping on the windowsill
keeping the horrors at bay.

1 comment:

rbarenblat said...

Oh, that poem is gorgeous.