Before you start throwing things or sending off letters calling for my investigation by the FBI, FCC, FAA, CIA, or IRS, and before you organize rallies to burn me in effigy, hear me out.
I am not against mothers. Just because wounded men on the battlefield cry out for their mommies and not their daddies, I am not bitter. I am not grumbling that the standard of purity in our culture is ‘Mom and apple pie’ instead of ‘Dad and apple pie.’ I can deal with those things.
However, if I’m not mistaken, there is a certain proportion of otherwise good and kind members of our population who would agree totally, though secretly, with the statement written above, that Mother’s Day stinks.
An analogy may help here. A good friend of my son is a young single female. Now, while she might not be so blunt as to say that Valentine’s Day stinks, she has adopted an alternative name for the day. In her mind, Valentine’s Day, the day of love and relationship and connection is rather known as Single’s Awareness Day (S.A.D.). To those longing for a relationship, the day only draws attention to the fact that they are alone. It is not a day to look forward to.
The same logic impacts Mother’s Day. It is a great day to celebrate the sacrifice and love and affection that we have received from our mothers – the very thing that leads soldiers to cry out for their mothers. We ought to find everyway possible to honor our mothers.
But as well on that day, the very effort we make to single out mothers has the corresponding effect of singling out those who are NOT mothers. If we ask, as is done in some churches, for all the mothers to stand, we have effectively recognized all of those who are not mothers. They are the ones still sitting.
Among those sitting is the young married woman who for five years has been trying to conceive a child and has been unable to do so. Mother’s Day sadly reminds her in a public way of the deep hurt she carries with her every day.
Sitting there as well is the mother who has lost a child to disease or violence or miscarriage. Perhaps this was her only child. The day heightens her pain and emphasizes her loss. Few of us can imagine the pain that brings.
There are also among us women who have conceived a child in unfavorable circumstances. Courageously fighting against the flow of our culture, they choose to give that child life and to place it in an adoptive family that is able to fully care for it. But on Mother’s day they are reminded of the difficulty of that choice and the emptiness of what might have been.
For these, and others like them, Mother’s Day, well, stinks. And I feel for them. I hope you do to.
We ought to honor mothers. All I ask is that we be sensitive in how we do so. Take care that you do not single out those for whom the day is agony by isolating them from those to whom God has given a family. Pursue privately those for whom the day bears a special pain and give them a hug or a card or a word of love and encouragement. And as you pray for your mothers, pray for those for whom motherhood is at present only a distant dream or a distant memory.
To be so thoughtful of others is, or should be, well, as ‘American as dad and cherry pie.’
The above was submitted to the Bradenton Herald for publication on Saturday. Not sure it’ll make the cut, so here it is for the world… or the two or three of you who read this blog… to see.