Sunday, May 8, 2011
A Daughter's Song
The following is a piece I wrote for Mother's Day in 2008. It stands eternal.
It is said that before we come into this world we choose the family we will be born into, receiving the foundation for the lessons our souls need to learn during this lifetime. I think this is only partly true. The part I find untrue is the implication that it is all about the individual. If I chose to come into my family, they also chose to have me. There is a bigger picture that most of us fail to see.
I wrote a letter to my daughter once letting her know that she was an answer to a call for Love deep within the hearts of her parents. Yet, I think it goes wider than this. I think each child born to a family line is an answer to the hidden hopes and dreams of all the hearts in a bloodline. I think this is why there is that boring chapter in the Bible called Chronicles. All those people, generation upon generation, eventually brought into existence Jesus Christ, Son of God.
God is doing his work, and with each child is the hope of lifting a bloodline to new spiritual heights, bringing us ever closer to Him Who truly calls to us.
If we choose to look upon the family, or conditions, we were born into with disdain, or shame, and to see ourselves as victims of circumstance, then we do our families a great disservice, and are repeating the same mistakes they made. The mistakes are what need to be overcome.
If we look at our parents and blame them for the unhappiness in our lives, because of the way they raised us, because of the mistakes they made, do we, even for a moment, consider where they learned to be that way? If each generation is busy pointing their fingers backward then we continue to carry the mistakes forward. How far back do the errors go? Where did the first error occur? Who knows? We only know that which was given to us to overcome, and if we can overcome, which to a large extent is to let go and forgive, even one error made, and pass the wisdom and good we learned from it onto our children, then we have helped to lift a family line into something better, and helped make the world a better place.
I don't know any parent who, deep in their hearts, doesn't look upon their child and hope, sometimes against hope, that their child will not make the same mistakes they made. Deep within the heart of every soul is a call for Love, and deep within that call is the prayer for one to come who can bring Love where they are afraid Love is not.
I awoke one day to the call for Love in my Mother's heart. I saw and felt her love for me, and her hidden hope against hope that I would return that love in spite of her mistakes. I saw that the very mistakes she made was the call. And from there, slowly, I could see the call in my father, who I had blamed for abandoning me. I could see the call in my grandmother, who I blamed for and believed hated me. I could see the call in my grandfather in his alcoholism. They meant no harm, and it was nothing personal against me. I saw the need for forgiveness in them all. If I did not forgive, then I ran the risk of making the same mistakes, or new ones.
I saw that, yes, my mother made mistakes, and I carried the burden of them. Yet, for the first time, I also saw that she gave me something else. She gave me courage, determination, persistence, honesty, strength, and a fierce loyalty and protectiveness to those we love. She gave me perseverance, and kindness, and the ability to give beyond oneself.
St. Paul said to "Lay hold of the best gifts." For many years my focus was on the poor ones. Ones born from my mother's mistakes. But here, I could finally see what she had given me instead of what I thought had been taken. And seeing what was given, I could use it to turn my gaze backward, not to blame her, or any of my family, for the burdens from their mistakes, but to forgive what was done and to finally bring the light of understanding and Love into the dark places of ignorance where they believed Love was not.
My mother gave me the very gifts I needed to overcome! And as I have traveled this journey she has been by my side, sacrificing, for many years being blamed in anger and rage for the miseries in my life. Why did she stay with me? Because she saw in me what I could not see in myself. That I was an answer. She had Faith that the answers she sought lay deep within me. That in my struggle to overcome the burdens placed on me, she also would be freed of the same burdens. How could I not honor her? How could I not honor all my family? If I struggled to be free, I also desired their freedom.
I love my mother with a love that has grown everyday. Not so long ago I never would have believed that I could make such a declaration. She and I, if we chose to be together before we came into this life, chose a rough road to travel. But if I can reach back and find the light of understanding in what she did, or didn't do, and pray that in me it be turned to good, then the evil I thought I saw there is nothing more than a spring board to use to strengthen a family line that believed it was weak. And in turn I can pass forward that good to my child, and perhaps my grandchildren, with the secret hope of each generation evolving into something better. Bringing to the world something better. Bringing to the world a little more Light, a little more Love, to shine and bring warmth to those in the darkness of ignorance where they believe Love is not.
Thank you Mom for walking with me on this incredible journey. Thank you for the mistakes you made with me, so I could learn from them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the Love and Faith you had in me. I will continue to give my best effort to honor you and your beautiful life, and the sacrifices you made for me.
Maya Angelou said, "We do the best we can with what we know, and when we know better, we do better." I know better now, mom, because of you.