Mother's Day has become one of my favorite holidays, because of a tradition we have established at church in recent years. During the Sunday morning service we have a baby blessing. We honor all of the infants that been born during the course of the previous year. Seeing parents with their babies in front of the entire church is great. During this time of blessing we commit to pray for these children and their parents. It is a great day.
But on such a joy filled occasion, I can’t help but think about people I care very deeply about that are living in the shadow of Mother’s Day. Even today that was the case. As I looked out over the audience during the Baby Blessing, I observed a couple who lost their young son in 2004. Officiating at that child’s funeral is an event I will never forget. They are living in the shadow of Mother’s Day.
And then at the second service I took note of another couple, whom I have grown to love, that lost twin babies at birth. I suspect a vast majority of the folks they come to church with every week are not even aware of that life changing event in their lives. But they too are on my mind today, because they are living in the shadow of Mother’s Day.
As I listed off the names of our newborns and their parents another couple sat within a few feet of me that had to have been impacted by today’s events. They experienced the loss of miscarriage just a few weeks ago. I am such an emotional old man these days that I found I lacked the courage to approach them and acknowledge the obvious pain of the day. But I know for a fact they are living in the shadow of Mother’s Day.
And then there is my friend Bill. He is an old man like me. We graduated from high school together. Bill lost his mother very recently. Today marks the first Mother’s Day without his mom. He will enjoy the day with his family, but I know he is thinking about his mother. He can’t help it, because for the first time he is living the shadow of Mother’s Day.
I can speak with some degree of authority on the kind of shadow that envelope my friends on such a sentimental holiday. I experienced Mother’s Day without my mom for the first time 20 years ago. I am fully aware that such shadows are shaded with the darkness of grief. In 1995, we too celebrated Mother’s Day in the aftermath of miscarriage. Once again we felt as if were living in shadow of Mother’s Day.
Am I throwing a wet blanket on a day that is to be celebrated with corsages, lunch buffets, and short sermons by the cool preachers among us? That is not the case at all. I am simply calling us to stop being oblivious to the most basic needs of those around us. I am additionally thinking about another dear friend, who lost her Gramma recently. And I am thinking of still another classmate, whose wife is facing Mother's Day without him for the first time. He passed away on April 25th. .
A kind word goes a long way. My thanks go out to another high school classmate (who is NOT old by the way). I need to say thank you Kerri for speaking a timely word to Bill. Here is what she said: Bill, I know this day must be a difficult one for you. Just know my thoughts, prayers and loveare headed your way. Your mom raised a remarkable man and I know she is filled with joy looking down on you from above... He is living in the shadow of Mother’s Day, but thanks to Kerri the darkness of that shadow has been lessened today.
Who can you bless in a similar manner today?