“Honor your father and mother.” Sound familiar? Probably because it’s one of the Ten Commandments— depending on your faith tradition, it’s number four or five, to be semi-exact. This is definitely something I try to do at any opportunity. I mean, they deserve the ultimate credit for my even being here! But they didn’t stop there. They have lived their lives pouring into my heart important truths and values that continue to shape me even today. And they’re the most generous people I know.
When I think about my mom, I know she’s not perfect, but she’s awesome. Oddly enough, she and I seem to have been created out of the same mold in a lot of ways, so that some of her imperfections are actually the same as mine. But also, many of her strengths are mine, as well, thankfully.
I’m convinced GOD definitely knew what he was doing when moms were invented. Here’s why…
- She knows compassion. It seems like God must have built into mothers an extra gene for compassion. You know, the gene that allows you to understand…heck, even feel another person’s pain, and then respond appropriately in a way that honors the hurting. This is particularly true when the person in pain is your child. It can feel like the world doesn’t give a rip how we feel most of the time, so to have a mother validate your struggle is amazing.
- She knows how to be present. You know that thing that people do when you talk to them and you just know they aren’t listening? As if the thing they’re thinking about has to be so much more important than what you’re saying? Yeah, that. Moms are awesome at not doing that. To come home and be fully noticed does wonders for a child’s (or even a grown man’s) self-esteem.
- She knows what you need. Sometimes even before you need it. Yes, feeding your belly is something that my mom is amazing at. I don’t know how (for about a half a century) she’s managed to make sure that there’s always something delicious for our family to eat. But beyond food or anything physical, moms knows what we need emotionally.
- She knows God. I’m not sure how this one works, but perhaps since she knows the pain of creation, the transcendence of unconditional love, the hope of what might be, and the strength to carry us all up and over any mountain, she’s closer to God in character than the rest of us. I’m thankful my mom has been my personal spiritual compadre through all these years, able to process and discuss things with me like nobody else.
Some of you don’t know your mother. Some of you grieve the loss of your mother. Some of you don’t get along with your mother. I’m sorry. And I hope that, somehow, you’re still able to experience some of the beautiful mother traits in another person, or even better, in God. But something tells me that if you would meet my mom, she’d hear your story, give you a big hug, and make sure you had a good meal. Ask for the tator-tot hotdish. It fills in all the blanks.
Mark Smeby is a singer and author living in Nashville, Tennessee. He travels the country sharing his message of hope through stories and songs, whether in churches, bars, or prisons. His book “The Messenger: A Journey Into Hope” is available anywhere books are sold and the companion CD is available on iTunes and all digital outlets. His “Live Hope Minute” daily radio feature is heard on nearly 200 outlets across the U.S. and Canada.