Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mothers: The True Olympians

Today is Mothering Sunday or Mother’s day. For most of us it is a day of joy; a day set a-side to celebrate the gift of motherhood. That said this is not the case for everyone. For some it will be a day tinged with sadness as they remember the mum’s they have lost, who are no longer here. For some mothers it is a time to remember lost children, either through un-reconcilable differences or deaths dark shadow. This day I will be remembering those mothers.

I will also be remembering those mothers’s whose children are away at war and who worry daily about them. I will also think of those of us who have never born children who have never experienced that gift, due to a variety of circumstances. I will also remember those, who for whatever reason, find their relationships with their own mothers or their own children difficult, for who today may bring up painful and difficult emotions...I will pause this morning and hold those for whom today will be a difficult and painful day. I will then celebrate motherhood, perhaps life's greatest gift.

A new member of the congregations I serve recently gave me the following piece...It is beautiful...

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is this the long way?" she asked.

The guide said, "Yes, and the way is hard. You will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."

But the young mother was happy, and she could not believe that anything could be better than these years.

So she played with her children, gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams. As the sun shone on them, the young mother cried, "Nothing could ever be lovelier than this."

Then the night came ... and the storm ... and the path became dark. The children shook with fear and cold. The mother drew them close to her and covered them with her mantle.

The children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near. No harm can come to us."

Then morning came. There was a hill ahead, and the mother and her children climbed it and grew weary. She would frequently tell the children, "Keep your patience because we are almost there."

So the children continued to climb. When they reached the top, they said, "Mother, we would not have done it without you."

When the mother laid down at night, she looked up at the stars and thought, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength."

The next day, strange clouds appeared which darkened the earth ... clouds of war, hate, and evil. As the children groped and stumbled, the mother said, "Look up! Lift your eyes to the light!"

The children looked. They saw above the clouds, an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness.

That night, the mother said, " This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."

The days went on, and the weeks, and the months, and the years. The mother grew old and she was little and bent over. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage.

When the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather. At last they came to the top of a hill. They could see a shining road with a golden gate that opened wide.

The mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey. I now know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them."

The children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.

They stood and watched her as she went on alone. The gates closed after her. The children said, "We cannot see her, but she is still with us. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence."

Our mother is always with us. She's the whisper of the leaves as we walk down the street. She's the smell of bleach in our freshly laundered socks. She's the cool hand on our brow when we're not feeling well.

Our Mother lives inside our laughter. She's crystallized in every tear drop we shed.

She's the place we came from ... our first home. She's the map we follow with every step we take.

She's our first love and our first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate us from her ...Not time ... not space ... not even death!

"A Mother's Walk" by Temple Bailey written for Good Housekeeping Magazine in 1933

2012 is Olympic year. To be an Olympic champion takes courage and discipline and sacrifice. The Olympian gives up so much in order to achieve glory, to become the champion. For this the champion is rewarded, they are given the “Gold Medal”. It is also worth noting that they do all that they do for themselves. They do not sacrifice for another. They do not give for loves sake. Yes we honour them with hero status, but should we?

Do we have heroes or maybe heroines closer to home? Maybe there are true Olympians nearby. Do we really need to seek them out? There are those around us who give and sacrifice in courageous and disciplined ways not for themselves but for others. They give purely in love. They give of themselves for others, in so many unimaginable ways. Do they receive medals for their heroic deeds? No I do not believe that they do.

Anyone who gives of themselves in motherhood, male or female is a true Olympian. Today we celebrate the gift of motherhood in this the middle Sunday of Lent. This seems entirely appropriate to me. Lent is after all about courage, it is about discipline and above all it is about self giving love. Motherhood seems to be the perfect example of this.

So today I am celebrating universal motherhood and the love that it so perfectly embodies. Let’s celebrate the mothers we have known and the love that they have naturally shown.

I will end this blog in celebration of motherhood with this prayer I recently found...

A mother's love

“We feel the happiness of true creation when we give birth to a child. The beat of a mother’s heart is wonderful music: bearing the reassurance of dawn, the warmth of noon, the purple sunset. It is in one word, wholeness.”

We come to give thanks for the mothers who bore us and nurtured us; to celebrate the love and kindness we received from them.

We come to give thanks for the children entrusted to us for a little while.

Holy One, Be with us in both joy and the grief they bring.

We come to give thanks for this wonderful creation, for our mother the Earth, and for the glory of life in which we share.


by Kinga-Reka Szekely, a Unitarian minister and mother in Transylvania

P.S. Can anyone argue with Mr T?


  1. Nice post. You might like this poem about mothers.

  2. Thank you Carol...

    "A mother's hardest to forgive.
    Life is the fruit she longs to hand you
    Ripe on a plate. And while you live,
    Relentlessly she understands you.”
    ― Phyllis McGinley

  3. I recognise that reading! :-)

  4. You both submitted and read it last year...thank you