Mothering the World
This month we’re reminded of the all-encompassing and critical role that mothers play in our individual lives and the world. While our personal relationships with our moms may be good or not so good—they’re all different, that’s for sure—one thing we all have in common is we were born of a female parent, the technical definition of the word mother. Yet mothers are so ubiquitous in our world that the term has long been used to mean other things too: source; origin; a woman in authority; maternal tenderness or affection; or an extreme or ultimate example (“the mother of all green buildings”). It has also been turned into an adjective (referring to the acting as or provision of parental stock, derived from one’s mother) and as a verb, “to mother” (to care for or protect like a mother). And like all human characteristics, issues and endeavors, this one too is addressed in our instruction manual, the Bible. Motherhood is one of the important and well-integrated roles our creator made for women. God chose a woman to give birth to His son, Jesus Christ. Mary is the most significant mother in the Bible. And although scripture contains no explicit definition of mother, God provides various descriptions of His expectations for this important role:
· Starting early, Genesis 3:20 states, “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
· Then in Exodus 20:12 and Leviticus 19:3, God commands, “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you,” and “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father.”
· Isaiah 66:13 tells us, “One whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
While Mother’s Day is a relatively new holiday, various versions of it have existed through the centuries. Philadelphian Anna Jarvis , whose mother had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health, created our modern Mother’s Day on May 12, 1907, when she held a memorial service at her late mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia. Within five years, virtually every state was observing Mother’s Day, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday. Although Jarvis had promoted the wearing of a white carnation as a tribute to one’s mother, the custom evolved of wearing a red or pink carnation to represent a living mother or a white carnation for a mother who was deceased. Over time the day was expanded to include other women who play maternal roles, such as grandmothers and aunts.
While most of us appreciate our moms, it’s not something we tend to dwell on unless something threatens that most special person in our lives. Otherwise we use Mother’s Day to try and show her how much we love and appreciate her. I can remember remarking to my own mother, as I was packing up to move to a different town than hers, “I’ll pay you back for all you do for me.” At that my mother proudly stood back and responded, “You can never repay me.” I’m reminded of the song where a little boy hands his mother a bill for cutting the yard, doing the dishes and taking care of his little sister—and then, of course, his mom hands him a bill that begins with, “For the nine months of carrying you, no charge. For staying up all night with you while you were sick, no charge,” and on and on, ending, “There is no charge for my love.”
Our goal with this month’s Natural Awakenings is to give you food for thought as you celebrate Mother’s Day. My favorite article is Marlaina Donato’s short one, “Mothering the World.” She brings to life the “verbing” of the term and shows us how tending to what we love and find challenging flexes our “mothering” muscle, whether we’re picking up trash along a hiking trail, whipping up a sweet treat for a bake sale, marching on Capital Hill to stop a gas pipeline, or offering a reassuring hug. I also love Carrie Jackson’s feature article, “Resilient Mothering,” which explores how the pandemic has affected everybody’s mothering, ultimately in a positive way, by making us more resilient—whether we were ready for it or not. It’s encouraging to take a step back and see this silver lining in our lives.
On the local front, we share several homegrown stories of female resilience in our article “North Texas Women in Wellness.” It was eye-opening and heartening to hear these women discuss their deep-felt commitment to healthy living and natural therapies and protocols.
This month’s issue is full of timely and actionable information. It is our hope that you will find something that inspires you to live your healthiest life on a healthy planet.
Blessings until next month,