Mother called again, just to talk. I was swamped with so many things to do I couldn't spend 10 minutes on the phone talking about this or that. My rather fast-paced life has made it difficult to find much "front porch" time.
Care for senior parents or family members can begin with great expectations and a genuine desire to love, but end up feeling like a heavy burden.
I love my mother, and my desire to be kind and give her the time she thinks she needs is genuine. But on this particular day, I just didn't have it. When I gently told her that I couldn't talk, she became angry and reminded me, "Remember you have a mother."
I didn't say it, but the first thought I had was "Oh, do I know it." She seemed more like a problem than someone I love, and it hurt.
Mother and I have always been close. Years ago she told me that if she ever became demanding, as her mother had been, I should tell her and she would change. She doesn't seem capable of that right now. I feel it would only upset her to remind her of that conversation.
Love for peace and harmony in our family and a deep desire to find a solution to this uncomfortable situation led me to think about what constitutes motherhood. This situation deserves my best effort in Mom's time of need.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, gave a spiritual interpretation of The Lord's Prayer, in which she referred to God as Father-Mother (see "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pages 16-17).
The mothering qualities that a woman or a man expresses, such as nurturing, patience, grace, purity, and peace are actually expressions of the motherhood of God Herself. Since they have their source in God, they can never be absent, even if a person is not expressing those qualities at the moment, any more than television signals are absent if a television isn't turned on. They are there; we need to tune in to them.
Because God is everywhere, His spiritual qualities are always present. There is never a quality of God absent. Mother is still the same wonderful mom I love. She is God's reflection of divine qualities.
Another passage from Science and Health I find supportive is: "Love never loses sight of loveliness. Its halo rests upon its object. One marvels that a friend can ever seem less than beautiful" (page 248).
Thinking of Mother as the expression of God rather than as an aging mortal, makes loving her easy. Looking for Godlike qualities and focusing on those help me keep a perspective that is uplifting and supportive rather than judgmental or critical, as she works through this challenge of aging. I can forgive what isn't in her nature and cherish what is of God. Mother is now teaching me a lesson in patience and love that I'll benefit from greatly.
Next week we have six days together at a beautiful lake in the mountains. I expect to hug, talk, love, and see in Mom the heart of Love I have always known and been cherished by, remembering that God is the unchanging source of all goodness.
Though I speak
with the tongues
of men and of angels,
and have not charity,
I am become as sounding brass,
or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift
of prophecy, and understand
all mysteries, and all knowledge;
and though I have all faith,
so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
Charity suffereth long,
and is kind; charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself,
is not puffed up,
doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil.
I Corinthians 13:1, 2, 4, 5