Maternal Meanderings

Three quarters of a blissful year were spent within the hospitable lair of my dear lady’s womb.  We had everything that we needed, did me brother and me:  nourishment, companionship and love – more love than perhaps was necessary, but by no means were we looking to complain.  We were hoarders back then; glad we were, as today we must draw large draughts from the reserve that was laid back in the day – a day in which we lived, moved and had our being within our dear mum’s belly of maternal love.


We knew the length and breadth of her love, as well as its height and depth.  There was nothing else to know for the longest time.  She was, Mum, Mummy and Mother all rolled into one magnificent incarnation, a maternal mode from heaven that transposed itself in various “maternalities” (I know; I know:  I made the word up in honor of our dear one!) of our life together.  She blessedly loved us, unconditionally and totally; we blissfully loved her, unabashedly and wantonly.  


There’s nothing quite like it; is there?  The Savior’s love is all that may compare, only that which provokes greater rivalry or which elicits more transcendent devotion and, notwithstanding their respective spheres, gives forth such mutual esteem yet also such affectionate competition.  It’s the nature of the thing; like it or not.


Jesus knew well the “dichotomy of complementarities.”  He loved His mother; dearly and with deep affection.  He addressed her as “Woman” which, by today’s standards, is a tone-laden term that would elicit a terse rebuke of chauvinistic disrespect; then, it was an expression of tender endearment, which is how Jesus felt truly towards his mother. 


Still; He had to put her in her place, for she must be blessedly second to His devotion to His Father in heaven.  “Why were you searching for me?  Don’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2.49).  “Dear woman, why do you involve me?  My time has not yet come” (John 2.4).  The one, when they couldn’t find him; the other, when Mary wanted Him to provide more wine for the wedding – both expressive of a mother’s sense of prerogative.  But He twice obeyed her, having made His point.


Yet, when hanging from His cross at Calvary, He looked upon His mother below him, awash as she was in bereavement and shock, and lovingly entrusted her to his best friend John:  “Dear woman, here is your son” and, to his friend, “Here is your mother.”  We then read that “from that time on, the disciple took her into his home” (John 19.26, 27).  He both distanced Himself from her, yet made loving provision for her.


The womb was such a lovely place, but the umbilical cord must be severed.  The lengthy nurture was bliss, but responsibility assumes its rightful place with time.  The lesson remains the same; though, as Jesus knew better than anyone:  Mothers are incomparably beautiful, as is our Heavenly Father incomparably glorious.  The one, by the very nature of things, must defer to the other.  Praise God for the divine gift to us of mothers!    


Bradley E. Lacey (May 2017)