To be honest, if you knew my mom, you probably wouldn’t describe her as one of those overly cheerful, bubbly, doting moms that shower her kids with constant words of love. You would never accuse her of leaving loving notes on the bathroom mirror, or in my lunch box. You know the ones, the folded napkin that when unfolded says, “I love you! You’re the best! Go get ‘em!” You see, she grew up during the generation of Fathers, who rarely showed any emotion at all, and actually used words even less. That was her father. She told me recently, he did, at least, leave her a handwritten letter shortly before he died, telling her how proud he was of her, and that he was sorry for not telling her more he did love her and wished he had said it more often. And for her, this was enough. You see, it wasn’t her fault, that she wasn’t the cheerful, bubbly, doting mom, who constantly showered me, my sister, and brother with loving words. She came by it naturally. Yet, even though it wasn’t her style, without knowing it, she taught me the lesson of the Greatest of These.
Paul, writing to the Church at Corinth, ended one of the most popular, and most authoritative writings about love, this way, saying, “And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13. While most equate these verses with weddings, marriage, and the love of a man and a woman, I believe they describe a mother’s love perfectly. The word, charity, speaks of a “Love that gives”. And I cannot think of a better example of a love that gives than the love, the charity, which a mom gives her children. When I think of all love that my mom gave me growing up it is overwhelming. I mean the meals, the clean clothes, and clean sheets, were a given…but after these came the room mother and class parties, the PTA, score keeping at every baseball game, sitting in the stands watching basketball, bundled up at football games, bandaging a skinned knee, mending a broken heart, taking homecoming and prom pictures, and hugging goodbye as I left for college…and did I mention the meals, the clean clothes and the clean sheets? No one demonstrates charity, a love that gives more than mothers do.
Motherhood has, at times been referred to as, “A thankless job” (even more so for a mother of boys) which brings me to my next point. When I think back about ALL the love my mom gave, I sometimes, okay, often times feel a sense of guilt for all we put her through. For what seemed at times, like constant fighting between a two brothers, sister, for the ungrateful attitudes, the temper tantrums, the little white lies, the not so little white lies, the missed curfews, the broken hearts, for the time I asked, “please don’t give me a good-bye kiss when you drop me off at school today”, and for the times I didn’t call to let you know I was okay, it was charity you still displayed. Why? Paul said it this way when speaking of Charity, “(It, Charity) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;” 1 Corinthians 13:5. I simply call it a “Mother’s Love”.
Perhaps the greatest lesson my Mom taught me about Charity is that it is unconditional. Paul’s said of Charity, that it “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a). The one thing I know about a mother’s love, sadly because I tested it more times than I should have, is that a mother’s love, my mother’s love, was there no matter what I had done. I always knew, above all things, I could go to my mother who would love me and do her best to make whatever mess I had made, better. She didn’t always approve, and many times she was disappointed, but she always loved. Without knowing it, her ensample of God’s Love, has made it easier for me at times in my life when I feel unlovable, to understand the Love that God has for me. That even at my worst, He, like my mom, loves me.
I am happy to say, that because of the lessons that my mom taught me about Charity, I learned, without understanding, what to look for when it came time to “choose” a wife. I thank God, that He prepared the perfect bride for me, who displays Charity to me daily, and who has continued the lessons modeling them flawlessly to our two boys.
As we near the “Wedding Season”, the invitations will start arriving, requesting the honour of your presence at the marriage of one of your cousins, perhaps your niece or nephew, the child of an old friend, or someone you have to think long and hard to figure out exactly who it is that is getting married, you will no doubt see, read or hear from 1 Corinthians 13. It’s my hope for all of the moms who may read this, you will be encouraged in remembering the lessons of Charity and think of a “Mother’s Love”. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity”
To all the Moms out there this Mother’s Day, from All their Sons, (and Daughters), We Love you more than we have ever showed, and perhaps more than you may ever know. Thank you for your Charity; your love that gives.