Mothering Love in One Another
This day when we celebrate our mothers, I am grateful for the lessons in love that my mother taught me. Although my mother died 14 years ago, her compassion for others lives deep within me. There have been times since her death that I’ve been paralyzed by the sadness of losing her. Seeing people seek the perfect gift for their mothers melts those tears that I think have been neatly tucked away. As I wipe away the salty tears with my hands, I recall the greatest gift of love given to me by my mother is always with me. Remembering her unconditional love enables me to reach out to others in like manner. The courage that it takes to live fully again after loss takes time, but the treasures of giving ourselves over to loving others will far surpass any gift we seek to purchase in a market or store.
Growing up on a tobacco farm in Virginia also instilled in me lessons in nurturing the gift of loving others. Although we lived simply, on special occasions such as Mother’s Day we celebrated with family and friends coming from both near and far for a splendid picnic with all the southern comfort foods one could desire. The ham biscuits, fried chicken, deviled eggs, potato salad with dill pickles, pickled pears, honey comb spilling over in a mason jar on a chipped dish, cheesy macaroni, butterbeans, cornbread, black-eyed peas with stewed tomatoes, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, strawberry shortcake with whipped cream on top, and sweet tea lined up on the picnic tables under the large oak tree draping us in its shade were quickly devoured, but the most savory ingredient of love shown to us in supporting one another through the years lives on.
Just as we need food in order to live, we also need this unconditional love in our own lives. My family taught me that it is wonderful to receive love, but infinitely better to give this love to others. As a child I learned a verse from the Holy Scriptures, which is “Love one another.” (John 13: 34) This verse is given as a new commandment to the disciples following Jesus to help them to live out this love in their own lives. This way of living can be challenging, but it is in trying to love others without strings attached that I believe brings us more and more love into our own lives.
Last night I went to a party in a friend’s backyard in Church Hill with lights twinkling in the trees and the sweet melodies of bluegrass music drifting over us like the puffy white clouds darting across the still blue sky. I witnessed this teaching of “Love one another” when our talented friend Kelly paused to dedicate her next song to Pam and Mike who had invited us all there. As she started to speak, her voice cracked a bit with a tenderness that I know only as true love. She looked directly to them and said, “I love you both so much. I would not be up here singing tonight without the love and support that you have given me.” Needless to say, most of us were catching the tears spilling down our own cheeks.
The most amazing part of the evening happened as Kelly and her band sang “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. Everyone listening circled up and sang along. The part that really touched me was when we all sang, “teardrop in my eye, country roads, take me home to the place I belong.” In that moment, I felt the love of which we yearn for in our lives. It’s in loving one another that we belong. To reach out to another in love is what celebrating Mother’s Day is most about. Happy Mothers Day to all! Love is a gift that keeps on giving! This love is always with us!