Celebrating Mom- Mother's Day 2024

Midweek Faith Lift

May 15, 2024

Celebrating Mom-Mother’s Day

Rev. Deb Hill-Davis


Spiritual Passages

May 6, 2024


           Fernando Tatis, third baseman for the St Louis Cardinals, hit two home runs on April 23, 1999, at Dodger Stadium. Twenty-two years later, April 23, 2021, his son, Fernando Jr., shortstop for the San Diego Padres, hit two home runs on the same date, April 23, in the same stadium, Dodger stadium. “It just showed our alignment," Fernando Jr. said. "It’s reassurance that there's a higher being."


           "The very act of reviewing one's own values stands as a marker for us all. It reminds us that it is possible to learn as we go through life. It is even more important to be open to doing it and willing to report it. Life grows us. Life shapes us. Life converts us. Life opens us as we age to think differently, even about ourselves." - Joan Chittister, The Gift of Years


          Affirmative Prayer for today:  Mother/Father God, whatever our relationship with our parents or with our children, we pause with gratitude for how those relationships have grown us, opened us to learn and expand each day of our lives. We are so grateful and we say Amen.


We have no idea what kind of relationship Fernando Sr. and Fernando Jr. had but clearly, they had a strong connection which the younger man described as alignment and described as reassurance of the reality of a higher being.  There is a 22- year difference between parent and child’s accomplishment and we have no idea what kind of growth, challenges and so on they each experienced with one another.  But it is true that life shapes us, converts us and opens us, which is what the parent child relationship is all about, on both sides.  It is truly life changing for all when we open to the learning and the growing all through life.


The idea of Mother’s Day and honoring “mom” is a relatively new concept, one that is not anchored in ancient traditions or spiritual writings.  In truth, as Clark shared with you all last Sunday, the notion of sex and religion and women and religion is a complicated mishmash of veneration, patriarchy, power and dominance.  Honoring women on one day for the one thing they are able to do that men cannot do seems like tokenism in some respects.  Until you pause and realize the truth of things, which is that everyone who is alive is here because of a woman who gave birth, everyone, no exception.  That is actually a lot of power when you pause to appreciate it!


The journey of parenthood is a challenging one in which you are often unsure and sure at the same time.  It is easy to get caught up in the energy of “doing it right” or “doing it perfectly” or at least doing it a whole lot better than your own parents.  The reality is that in our humanness, we studiously avoid the “mistakes” our parents made and go on to make a whole bunch of our very own new mistakes!  It is interesting in our culture that we subscribe to the notion that children should be guaranteed a happy childhood, and I am not so sure that is true.  That does not mean it is ok to abuse children, but holding space for them to experience suffering of some kind is part of the journey of parenting, for sure, even if you are a part of that suffering, which is often the case. 


Jesus didn’t teach about parenting, after all, but he repeatedly taught about forgiveness.  No one is guaranteed a perfect childhood and perfectly human parents are not really able to provide that anyway; so let’s let go of that illusion and embrace forgiveness. We would all be healthier emotionally if we held the space to allow ourselves, and the children in our lives, to grow. I love this quotation by Brene Brown,


          "Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. It's choosing what's right over what is fun, or easy. It's choosing to practice your values rather than simply professing them."


She always cuts to the chase about what is real, and the funny thing about kids is they usually know the difference.  When we act out of alignment with our values, which is inevitable, it is most helpful to be honest about it.  Anything less than that rings hollow and is always registered, if only silently.


We are learning, so we hold space for the moment of grace between “what is no more” and “what is not yet.”  What we used to do/say no longer works and we have no idea what to do/say next.  This tension is the sacred place of grace, where the power and Presence of Spirit is active and present in our relationship with our loved ones, children, parents et al. and with ourselves.   There is that moment when we fall, when our humanness shines through and we really mess it up and our children realize it. 


It is our fall from grace as parents.  It messes with their sense of order as they strive for independence and freedom.  It often happens during adolescence, but it can happen at any time and multiple times for that matter.  It creates a sense of disorder when parent and child both really see each other for the very human beings they are.  It is not an easy or happy moment.  Both parent and child want to be seen and not seen at the same time.  It can take a lot of time to acknowledge and admit that this happened, sometimes a lifetime.  But there is no true freedom or real maturity until it does for both parent and child.  The quote from philosopher John Paul Sartre is relevant here, “Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.”


There is the fall from grace, and then the recovery from the fall, which is once again to see one’s light despite the stumble and then allow it to shine. As it says in the gospel of John 12:24 “Part of us has to die if we are ever to grow.”  The new order, which emerges is the capacity to see both/and, the human and the divine in one another, parent and child and still find a way to love each other. What has to die is unique to parent and child, and yet is so often the same.  The need to be right, the need to control, the need to be in charge, the need to have the final say and on and on and on.  All of it is part of the life changing growth that happens to parents and children throughout life when they are open and receptive to it. 


It is kind of like that Divine Alignment that the father/son baseball players experienced through baseball in the opening story.   It is not easy and it is often messy to find your way to a new order in any relationship, but one with history and baggage like parent and child can be especially difficult and challenging.

When that does happen, it is a life-affirming joyous recognition and reunion that is filled with laughter and tears.  The verse from Proverbs 23:5 describes it well:

Proverbs 23:5  “When your eyes light upon it, suddenly it takes wings to itself, flying like an eagle toward heaven.”  And there is an incredible run of two home runs!


This Mother’s Day, 2024, allow yourself freedom to appreciate all the aspects of your relationship with your mother and with your children or children you teach or have cared for: the good, the bad, the ugly and the home runs because it is all part of our incredible growth story as divine human beings.   As the poet Mary Oliver wrote; "Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it."


During our last time together several weeks ago, we explored Taoism, which is a delightfully appropriate paradigm for our journey as parents and with our own parents.  This particular closing poem by Liz Newman is particularly meaningful.



And in this life, we will constantly be pulled

           between love and loss

                    grief and gratitude

                            pain and purpose.


But how brave it is

               to allow yourself space

                          for the tension,

                                 to know that the seemingly opposite things

                                        can all be true at once


And to hold them all

            in your hand at once

                      and in your heart at once.


~Liz Newman


Happy Mother’s Day!


Blessings on the Path,

Rev. Deb