Mothering as Service

Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning.

LOVE must be put into action and that action is service.

– Mother Teresa

 

I’ve been a mother for over five years. It doesn’t seem like a long time numerically, but it feels like eons to me. I realized recently that part of the reason for this was due to my immense resistance to the role. Ask any of my girlfriends and they’ll tell you I don’t hesitant to complain about the truth of WORK, DISCIPLINE and PATIENCE this role requires. And I fail… often…. losing him in public places, skipping meals b/c I’m just too exhausted to cook, putting him in clothes that left painful marks that I even winced at, and taking advantage of every opportunity to drop him off with relatives to give myself a momentary mama-vacay.

Yet these outward behaviors only reflected the inner struggle I was experiencing. I didn’t want to be a mother. I thought it would require too much of me, sacrificing my dreams and goals. That giving and giving would eventually deplete me and I’d be resentful of him silently awaiting his 18th birthday to then be free to live my life. These are the fears that float through my awareness every now and then. Yet  instead of clutching to some idea of the perfect mother in my mind, I could release, and choose to follow this growing desire to be of service to this magnificent human child.

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My childhood was filled with stories of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and even the Black Panthers, not only as icons of the Civil Rights movement, but as examples of actionable-service. They sacrificed for an inner calling to inspire, root and demand an equitable community. In essence, each represented dynamic and self-less love. In the lessons of their stories, I was taught to not only strive for those standards, but reach them, embrace them, practice them. Love.

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Service requires that act of reaching for love. And mothering is one of the most prominent ways that our society embodies service. This is why I think the celebration of mothers is so essential. It breathes new awareness into our recognition of that service. It reflects our true gratitude for those who have supported, aided, rescued, embraced, accepted, devoted….in a word: loved. All of us have had a moment of this, whether it was from our biological mother or some stranger who helped us carry a ripped bag of groceries whose contents were saved from a concrete impact.

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My life has been saved from concrete impact, many times, by the women, men AND children who have chosen me as an acceptable receiver of their compassion and love. And on this mothers day I’m grateful to honor my own journey in shifting my perception of being a mother of resistance to one of privilege. I recognize the honor entailed in serving others. I deeply respect those who exemplify courage, elegance, grace and patience. As I learn to practice this way of mothering I recognize that I am magnifying the dynamic energies of Love on the planet. And what could possibly be more valuable of a service to our human-family than that?

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