Mother’s Day, May 10, 2015

You don’t love because, you love despite; not for the virtue, but despite the faults.

William Faulkner

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Who but God can grant us the strength to love despite?  No one.  And who but a mother possesses this gift?  Few but mothers, and those who have been loved by a mother who loved us despite our faults, and the faults and troubles of this world.

In “loving despite” is the germ of fight, of faith played out everyday and courage that comes from it.

I am one who has been loved by such a mother.  I often say in loving me she saved my life, literally saved my life.

She loved as a single parent.  She loved in poverty.  She loved in exclusion to her needs, life’s distractions, gray cold days, in yesterday’s styles, an absence of earthly pleasures, meals that did not extend to her so I might eat, her losses and life’s uncertainties.

She loved despite my faults, my needs, the twists and turns in my journey to adulthood.

She loved when there would be reason not to love and in this she showed that the heart is far superior to reason – a lesson lost on many today.

When you love as Jackie Sylvester did, you mediate God to an unknowing child, and others who to this day will say of my mother: “there was no doubt that she loved you …” and, “she was someone special … ”  and “I liked her so very much.”

People see those who “love despite” and they are moved, taught a lesson for the learning, a life lesson, a lesson to live by. In loving me, my mother taught others and loved them too … and taught them love.

My mother, loving and living as Faulkner describes, was (but a pinch over five feet two inches and 100 pounds) indomitable.  In sports we would call her “a gamer,” “a tough out.”  And, what a sense of humor was interlaced in her determined disposition.  The humor made each day do-able, gave us a spark of resistance necessary when odds are long and food and work are short.

“Come, hell or high water” her task was to get me to manhood and she never put herself before me or that sacred task.  She raised me to leave the nest.  Loving despite the inevitable departure that is a mother’s job to complete. Success for such mothers is seen in our leaving.

What good mothers do is let you live and grow, and in that we learn that we are never apart – for no one who loves so selflessly can ever be lost to you, or you to them.

Now that I am older and see my son with a wife and child, and have lived many days to know many things, I think of my mother everyday; I come to see that I was blessed despite all short comings because I had a mother who “loved despite.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all.  I love you, Mom.

Shalom.

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