Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ode to My Mother

This past week I realized not only how much I miss my mother, but what I miss about her - and the profound gift that she is to me. Toward the end of last week (9 days ago), I had that, "Hmm, I miss my mom." On Tuesday of this week, I was able to articulate why. It all started with this picture:

No, I did not draw this at age 5. I drew this at age 32.

On Tuesday, my co-workers approached me to do this little activity. Apparently, this is a technique that child therapists use. Using your left hand, you are instructed to draw a picture of yourself as a baby. I drew a picture of me (the baby), with my mom safely holding me - and we are both happy.

Next, you write your name above your picture. Then you ask/answer, "How are you feeling?" (My answer, "Sad.") Then, you choose any number and write it below.  After that, you ask and answer a series of questions. You write the question with your right hand, and answer it with your left.

The theory behind all of this is that the number chosen indicates that at that age (5), you felt that way (sad). When I asked myself the follow-up questions, the answers indicated that my sadness stemmed from uncertainty/worry.  My co-worker said, "Oh, Jessica! Were you sad a lot as a child? Or...were you worried?"

Sad? I don't think I was sad a lot as a child - but worried. Yes. I worry. I don't handle change very well. Well, really, I don't handle uncertainty very well. Lately, there have been several things in our lives that have me feeling very uncertain.

What this picture revealed to me is that when I feel uncertain, the first - and only - place that I really want to be is in my mother's arms. In her her home. There have been a few times in my adult life that I have felt overwhelmed, pressed in on every side, and all I want in that moment is to be home. I want to be with my mom.

Currently, one thousand miles separate me from my mother's presence. 1,000 miles keep me from spending a weekend on the farm - away from all the hustle, bustle, heat and noise of the world. Whether I am 5, 15, 25 - or 32, my mother's presence reassures me that I am okay; that I matter; that there is more to life than my present trouble.

I wrote this poem on Wednesday:

You are my resting place.
In your space, I encounter peace.

I hush,
I pause,
I breathe.

In your embrace, I can release.

When the world clamors,
pushes too hard,
calls too loudly,
presses in on every side,
and causes the light to be darkened within -

it is your calming voice I want to hear,
your touch of reassurance to be near;
reminding me of
what matters,
what lasts,
what endures,
what is good:

You give me a place to stand;
 the courage to fly.
You give me
a place,
a peace,
a purpose.

As I wrote this, I realized that in this way, my mom was being Christ to me. What a gift!
My mother's presence to me - is how the psalmist speaks of God's presence. A harbor in the storm; a rock; a lighthouse; peace...she has not supplanted God's presence in my life - she has channeled it. How beautiful! How blessed! How treasured.

I am beyond thankful for this gift that my mother has given me. In light of the gift she is to me, I realize, also, that God has given me a gift in recognizing this. While my mother has been the embodiment of this peace, I believe that God is now asking me to find this peace within Him, my heavenly harbor - and with my husband, my earthly harbor. Embarking on a new chapter, cultivating this relationship with my Lord and with my husband will make my mother proud. While she has provided me a safe place to land all of these years, she has also encouraged me to use my wings. To fly high - to explore broadly - love deeply and live abundantly. She does not constrain; she pushes me to embrace my calling. For her, I will be forever grateful.

I love you, Mom!


Kathy Rohrig said...

Jessica, thank you for such a wonderful Mothers Day gift! You are such a blessing to me, I love you and am so proud of you! Hugs to you!!

Lisa Schmidt said...

What a lovely tribute to your mama. She is blessed to have you as a daughter!

And that's a crazy exercise. I think I would have drawn me all by myself. Yipes. I love that you are resting within your mama's arms. That is really cool.