Friday, September 22, 2006

Mothering with Love

Is love a many splendoured thing? Or simply something that we slap over amidst controversies or difficult discussion? Found this reflection from Patrick McNamara on Augustine pretty intriquing.

"Love is in labour with some, becomes weak with others; strives to edify some, dreads to be a cause of offense to others; stoops to some, before others stands with head erect; is gentle to some and stern to others; an enemy to none, a mother to all."

What caught my eye was 'mother to all.' Love is not a romanticised image of boy+girl=love. Neither is it a heart+arrow connotation of Cupid. Love must be tough says James Dobson. The Apostle Paul's widely quoted verse 1 Cor 13:13 says: "And now remains these three, faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love."

Mother. Love. Tough. Greatest. The image of a mother is one of the closest ever to defining love. All of us came into this world out of our mother's womb, often with tremendous pains that no words can ever describe. Babies feed from the mother's breast and establishes a relationship that none of us can verbalize. The love from a mother in caring and nursing a growing child is something few men can ever dared to boast of.

The words "To mother someone" has become denigrated in our society. It is used derogatively to dispel any attempts whether direct or indirect to encrouch on a person's independence. "Are you trying to mother me?" is something that is equal to "Hey, back off! Don't start telling me what to do. I know how to live my own life."

We must recover the sense of mothering in the sense that we offer another person a listening ear that is non-judgmental, but with an attitude of gentle guidance. It is like saying: "Go on, I am here if you need me." It is like a nearby boat accompanying, encouraging and being on standby for a lone swimmer attempting to swim across a 100 mile channel. It is like saying to a friend, "Press on. I am cheering for you!"

Mothering is not a bad word. It is one of the most beautiful images in life.


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