For some , such as those who are estranged from their mom or who've recently lost a mother, Mother's Day might seem a hard time. Hurtful even. But, I've learned, it can be a time to grow in understanding that you can never be without that mother-love. Nor can your mother, for that matter. God's mothering is constant, consistent, and continuous.

My mom passed on shortly before I graduated from high school. I'll never forget her last words to me: "God is your Father-Mother." I did my best to remember her emphasis on Mother. Two things from her memorial service stayed with me and helped get me off to a good start. The first was a Bible verse: "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I [God] comfort you" (Isa. 66:13). And the second was a hymn, which begins, "O Love, our Mother, ever near" (Margaret Matters, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 232). And I did feel God's comforting love—in the kindness of neighbors, teachers, friends, family.

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That next year, a lot happened—all the end-of-high-school stuff, the beginning-of-college stuff, and, in between, working and preparing for a new chapter in my life. There were many times when I would have naturally turned to my mom.

What helped me during this time was a statement from Science and Health that my Sunday School teacher pointed out: "A mother's affection cannot be weaned from her child, because the mother-love includes purity and constancy, both of which are immortal" (p. 60). This said to me that since my mother's love couldn't be weaned from me, neither could I be weaned from it—from knowing it, feeling it. No, I didn't communicate with my mom, but I did continue to feel the purity and constancy of her love—often expressed in interesting ways. For instance, as college neared and I had so many "ask your mom" questions, a letter came from the dorm-mom. It was warm, motherly, and answered all of them. And when I finally went off to college, my two brothers helped me, and I welcomed their counsel.

I was doing pretty well until I found out, at a planning meeting, about my sorority's upcoming Mother's Day Weekend. It was a really big deal, an annual event. And as a pledge, I was required to be there and help. The hardest part was learning I was the only girl whose mother wouldn't be coming. Back at the dorm after that meeting, I was feeling so sorry for myself that I couldn't sleep. All I could do was cry.

Finally, trying to rise out of this pity party, I turned on my light and reached for my Christian Science Hymnal. After thumbing through it, I came to Hymm No. 174, which begins, "Like as a mother, God comforteth His children" (Maria Louise Baum). I read it over and over, and soaked up every word. But a few lines were particularly meaningful to me:

Comfort is hope and courage for endeavor. I hadn't thought of hope and courage as being qualities of comfort, and this expanded it to me. From that moment, I called this upcoming command performance my "endeavor"; and I trusted God to give me the hope and courage to do it.

Joy must endure, Love's giving is forever. I'd seen enough of Love's—God's—giving to know it never stops; so, I couldn't miss joy. This promised me that I could not only go to the annual sorority tea, but enjoy it—be happy and belong there.

Comfort of God, that seeks and finds His own. Both seeks and finds—how comforting to know that He was seeking and finding me, not the other way around. That's what a good mom would do—seek 'til she found her own, not wait and hope they'd find her.

The next morning, an idea came to me so clearly it had to be from God: "Invite the sorority housemother to be your mom for the day." Although I hardly knew the housemother, I acted on the idea. Tears came to her eyes as she smiled and accepted my offer. She'd always attended the event, but never as a guest.

The day came, and it wasn't hard for me. The housemother and I had a great time, and I got to know her and appreciate her unique qualities of mother-love, too.

Years later, I read something in a letter Mary Baker Eddy had written to two pupils: "Help others and you are helping yourself, help yourself and you will help others" (Mary Baker Eddy to Ira and Flavia Knapp, January 28 [no year given], L03374, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection, The Mary Baker Eddy Library). And I realized I'd seen proof of this, that Mother's Day.

This year Mother's Day will be celebrated on Sunday, May 14, in the United States.

May 15, 2006

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