This week I read about a 6 year old whose dog had to be euthanized.
As he sat with his parents, stroking the sleeping dog, they discussed the question, “Why do people live longer than dogs?”
The boy surprised them with his answer. ”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”
”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay for as long as we do.”
Loving everybody all the time and being nice – that’s quite a tall order.
Mothers’ Day is about love. It’s about honoring mothers: birth mothers, real mothers, and all who have mothered in the sense of supporting, nurturing and encouraging. Originally meant as a special day to remember mothers no longer with us, it has become a day to honour all mothers.
Let’s not forget that we all have a role as mothers, as carers. Love is omnipresent, so we all have the gift of love within us. We can choose how much or how little we express that love. It covers love in all forms, love for all those whose lives touch ours in any way, love for all people everywhere, in fact all beings everywhere, and love and respect for Mother Earth on which we live.
Love is one of our 12 Spiritual Powers. The question is, how do we express that love?
Perhaps a first step is forgiveness.
At Julian’s last class on Prayer recently, he led us in a meditation on Rocco Errico’s Attunements, a series of statements based on The Lord’s Prayer, for us to “attune” to the spiritual. One was about forgiveness. “We realise and acknowledge the value of forgiveness for ourselves and others.”
I did a lot of forgiveness work in my early years of Unity, especially of my father. Many of us need to forgive our parents and other early influences in our lives, to let go of old resentments, and to clear the way for love. And as the Attunement states, we need to forgive ourselves for things we wish we hadn’t done, or wish that we had done. We have always done the best we could at any moment in time, and we need to love ourselves as we are. I like to think I forgive as I go these days, but still find situations that need a more conscious process of forgiveness.
Unforgiveness is the biggest block to our ability to be an expression of divine love. When we let go of old hurts we open the way to appreciating life every day.
I was taken with this story on forgiveness, shared by NZ SEE student Rachel, in a recent Sunday Service talk. The story from the NZ Herald comes out of the attack on the Mosques in Christchurch.
Farid Ahmed, whose wife, Husna Ahmed, was gunned down at the Al Noor mosque, said he would give accused gunman “a hug” if he could. “I was asked, ‘How do you feel about the person who killed your wife?’ and I said, ‘I love that person because he is a human, a brother of mine,’” Ahmed, who was left paralyzed six years ago by a drunk driver, said. “I do not support what he did. He got it wrong. But maybe he was hurt, maybe something happened to him in his life … but the bottom line is, he is a brother of mine.” He added, “I have forgiven him and I am sure if my wife was alive, she would have done the same thing.”
With all the tragic expressions of hate in our world today, we need to turn the other cheek – turn away from the negative and uphold the Truth that Love is Omnipresent – everywhere present, in every human regardless of how they may have been brainwashed out of expressing the love within them. Here is a man who first forgave the driver who paralyzed him, then forgave the white-supremacist terrorist who killed his wife and 50 others. We could well say, :
“Let there be Love on earth, and let it begin with me.”
I liked Prince Harry’s comments on the birth of his new baby, and the tribute he paid to all women who go through child-birth. My mother used to say that after its over you forget the pain in the joy of holding the new baby. She forgot 9 times – I was No. 10! The new royal father’s big brother Prince William said, “Welcome to the Sleep Deprivation Society!.”
For some of the mothers in the Bible, becoming a mother at all was a challenge, they were the so-called “barren mothers”.
Charles Fillmore uses the term “barren” for certain men and women, symbolizing negative thoughts as well as unfulfilled feelings. Metaphysically, the older women who were unable to conceive represent our feelings that cannot bear fruit, ie negative feelings. There is usually a miracle that results in them becoming fruitful and producing healthy, important babies who became Hebrew patriarchs or prophets.
An example of this is Hannah, who became pregnant after the priest Eli saw her praying in the Temple, “pouring out her soul to the Lord”. She became the mother of the prophet Samuel, who she dedicated as a child to the Temple, and he went to live there and train under Eli.
Samuel is the prophet that heard the Lord calling him in the night, and Eli told him to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”. (Not Listen Lord, your servant is speaking!).
That was the start of Samuel’s long service as a priest, a judge, and a prophet. He was open to listening to the guidance of Yahweh, and used what he heard to warn and to uplift the people. He later anointed the first two Hebrew kings, Saul and David. Hannah, for her sacrifice, was rewarded with 3 more sons and 2 daughters.
The MBD says of Hannah: “the soul, because of its high aspirations, its consecration to God and much earnest prayer, established in grace and favour, receives that which it desires….”.
Her long-desired son Samuel represents our “spiritual discernment: that in us that has conscious contact with God and learns of God.” Samuel in us is willing to be open and receptive to divine guidance, and to act on it.
So it is through these two, representing our feelings and thoughts that are open and receptive to Spirit, that we can be willing and able to receive divine guidance, and to put that guidance into action for the highest good of all.
This is also what Mary, mother of Jesus, did. She signifies the divine motherhood of love, as well as intuition, open and receptive to the birth of the Christ.
Another example of love in action is Mary Magdalene, who the MBD calls: “A wonderful lesson of constancy, love, faithful attachment, and service. Wherever she is mentioned, the power of love, devotion and service is revealed. Her whole life and all that she had were apparently dedicated to Jesus the Christ.”
Our challenge this Mothers Day is to express the Divine Love within us, in the best tradition of loving mothers. To be willing to love, to let go of all that is less than love, and to listen to the Christ within that teaches us how to live a good life, how to love.
- How can we follow the wisdom of the 6yo who had to say goodbye to his dog – To Love everybody all the time and be nice to all?
- Who can we reach out to that is in need of a kind word or a hug?
- Do we need to put aside some of the busy-ness of our lives to reach out to others, family or not?
Living life to the full means to be willing to let go of resentment, listen to Divine Guidance, and to actively and consciously practice love of in all situations. Happy Lovers’ Day!