Mother’s day is a special time of year that we can be grateful for our mothers living and deceased. We can thank God for both those who have naturally given us life as well as those who have nurtured us to being the people we are today.
I remember one phrase from my mom that pretty much has become a “philosophy of life” that I try to live by each day. “Let’s have ice-cream…with chocolate sprinkles when we can!” This is very much a reality for me as I live a missionary life. Basically, life is short and we only have a certain span of time to be with the ones we love and all those people who make up the tapestry of our lives. Don’t get lost in the trivialities. Keep the important things important.
I grew up in Kenya with a part-farm and part-city experience. Mom loves farming and along with that, she loves dogs, cats, chicken, cows, orchards, and gardens…and so we were blessed to have them growing up. Something about her love for nature and the care of God’s creatures and creation would, in time, grow on me. Everything is gift. We are stewards. The chores around the home would become my life lessons on responsibility (even if I didn’t like some of them). Even more precious were the lessons I learned about how to handle people over the handling of things. It was crystal clear that each person, no matter how they may be, needs to be loved and cared for, to be treated with respect, and to be given another chance. I learned from her to meet each person and accept them right where they are. I guess that’s why mom knows so many people!
A touch of the city life would bring with it an expansion of my childhood horizon of dreams. It was from mom that I would come to appreciate the love for life, dance, and good humor. She enjoys all kinds of music anywhere from vibrant tunes that we danced to with our jammies on Christmas morning as kids to an oldie goldie by the Bee Gees. Not to say that life was all rosy and smooth going. We have lived some hard times as a family and yet, even so, mom has challenged us to see beyond. In some of these dark times, it was the tender way in which she drew me out to pursue things that I would never have imagined. Perhaps a fine characteristic of the way that God works with each one of us is that he knows and sees our potential and constantly draws us out of ourselves so that we can be the best of who he created us to be.
I hope this Mother’s Day will be an opportunity to give thanks for the moments of joy or sorrow that we have encountered with the mothers in our lives. For all the lessons learned and experiences lived – blissful or challenging – may they remind us in a tangible way, that God works so tenderly for our good in our lives through theirs. So, don’t let the day pass by so quickly this year. Be sure to “enjoy some ice-cream…and some chocolate sprinkles if you can!” Be sure to say thank you mom and of course, thank you Lord. Everything is gift.
Sr. Jacqueline Jean-Marie Gitonga, FSP