I love my mom. She was and is a woman that cares and gives of herself freely. She taught me how to give great gifts, how to smile through hardship, and what true sacrifice is for ones family. If anything my mom has showed me what a motherly love should be. In church-y contexts too often we are asked to think of God-the-Father’s love for us – and as much as my father loved me wonderfully – a knowing of a “God-the-Mother’s” love should also, and as much, be considered when knowing and trying to grasp the Divine. My earthly mother’s love has given me a grounding for knowing the embrace of empathetic love, the love that sits and cries with me, that hurts when I hurt, that makes me laugh when I need it most, that’s a little naughty, an adventurer, and a lover of new ways home. Reflecting on my mother’s love, and knowing that the God-within loves me in such a way, has been a freeing realization.
No matter what type of mother we’ve had I believe every woman finds other mothers to guide her throughout her life at the right time and place. These women may guide us on our journey, or sit with us in the muck of life when we just need a rest from it all. To me these women are examples of a bigger love that exists within the universe.
I have found some incredible mothers along my journey. Some mothers that just listened, some that were direct, and some that showed me through their lives what it means to be a truly free woman (nomadess).
Marilyn was a mother to me while I was in Washington, DC. She sat with me weekly over coffee and bagels while I cried about my financial situation when I had become overwhelmingly in debt. She gave practical advise, wisdom and gently helped me pry open the truth of my situation that I was too ashamed to really see. She was also my first spiritual mother who gave me space to question my childhood beliefs and embrace new concepts.
Marilyn introduced me to my second mother, Barbara. We met in South Africa before I was married (which is quite something considering I met my husband 2 weeks after arriving in SA and married shortly after). Her beautiful mountain top home is a spiritual retreat where every few months I would find the peace and escape from life. Just like her home, she is full of warmth, laughter, joy, and love. Her life is a poem, and her poetic words provide deep pearls of wisdom through colourful stories and ideas. The times I have spent with her have left me encouraged and empowered.
Celia and Diana were mothers to me during my darkest time. A time when false church “mothers” were telling me that I was to be a “perfect wife”, that I needed to “just submit”, to know my “role” as a wife, and to “just love” – basically to not be who I was created to be. These two women, let me vent, let me question, let me be angry. And by giving me that space I began to understand what my true role was to be – it was to be Me: to know myself; to love myself; and to first and foremost give up on being perfect. Their support paved my journey to becoming the real me (which I am still on a very new journey of discovering). I had never really known what I wanted in life, until these two women accepted me for who I deeply was. Perhaps they saw me before I saw myself.
I write this post today, because Celia, a mother not just for me, but also for many other women, and especially to her two beautiful daughters, has finished her earthly journey. Two years ago, during the same week she found out she had cancer I was out of the country on a trip to escape the dark place I was in. I received an email on my birthday from Celia’s daughter to say that her mom was in the hospital, they had discovered cancer, and she had just undergone massive surgery. The email went on to say that Celia wanted to make sure that I knew she was thinking of me on my birthday and to send her love. Through her pain and all that must have been going on, she thought of me.
The Mother-heart of God, the love that the Divine has for us all, it’s in the love that mothers, whether biological or not, have for us. And in a way it is up to us to recognize these genuine mothers in our lives, to heed their advice, accept their embrace, and remember that because of what they have shown us, we will get to be mothers to others some day.