Tuesday, May 1, 2012

For Mom, with Gratitude

In the month of May, we celebrate one of the most popular holidays on the calendar, Mother’s Day. It is the day in which millions of people honor the vessel in which God used to usher in our life. As children, we identify our parents in their roles and hardly ever consider that before we came along, before there were any children, our parents, like many of us had dreams and aspirations of their own. As children, we grew up focused so much on what our mother's may or may have not done right, instead of focusing on what she did do right. A perspective of your mother in which your focus is directed towards more of what she did do right and what she did do well considering her circumstances can empower you beyond your imagination.

For example, when my mother died in 1975, I was thirteen-years old. At a time in which I had many questions about life, I had to experience the world without the sage advice of the one who was used to give birth to my life. The first year after my mother’s death, I experienced a great sadness and uncertainty about life. My mom had always provided me with a sense of security because no matter the situation, her genius of being resourceful always found a way through and out of a circumstance. She had a faith that moved mountains and the tenacity of a bulldog.

Strength is in the Eyes of the Beholder

One of the most profound lessons that I learned during the first year after my mother’s death was that when I focused on what she did right and what she did well, I felt a sense of strength rising up within my spirit. When I viewed my mother and all that she had suffered in her life with a heart of compassion I was able to “see” my mother from a different vantage point. I saw her as the woman who had learned to take the cards she had been dealt in life and do the best she could with them.

I saw a woman who embraced life and wasn’t willing to allow the opinions of other define who she was or what she should do. I saw a woman with a lot of moxie considering the times in which she was raised. I saw my mother doing the best that she could with what she had. I saw a woman who lived in the “ghetto” and yet refused to be defined by the “ghetto”. I saw an imperfect human being, just like myself, doing the best with what she knew. I saw a woman striving to get her GED in her mid-40s before she unexpectedly died. I learned from that, to not settle in life when you know you can do better.

My mother was not perfect. She didn’t need to be. In the span of thirteen years she had deposited a core faith and confidence in my spirit that would enable me to rise above my depression from her death and come to know first-hand the power dwelling in my spirit. It is from this perspective of strength, I would begin to take on and challenge the limitations that so easily beset us in life, if we are not mindful. Focusing on my mother’s strengths helped me to get up close and personal with my strengths. In my deepest valleys, it is having this “knowing” of my inner-strength that has helped me to keep pressing on and through challenges believing in the same God of my mother to help me overcome and win in life.

What is the perception that you have of your mother? Are your expectations realistic considering all that she has had to encounter in life? Are you expecting an imperfect being to be perfect? I'm sure if you look close enough, you will see many of the traits I found in my mother in your mother. As Mother’s Day approach this year, it is my hope that for those of you with mothers who are living that you do the best you can to love on her as much as you can. Nourish a relationship with your mother. Stop putting off what you can do today for your mother, tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us. For those of you, who have lost your mother, I pray that you are comforted with God’s peace and love. I believe that as women, if we cannot see the imperfections of our mothers and still show them honor and respect, it is difficult for us to look in the mirror at ourselves and honor and respect the one looking back at us.

I can hold my mother in such high esteem, not because she was perfect, but because I believe in my heart she did the best that she could and that is good enough for me. RIP, Willie Mae Capers. Your physical body is gone, but your spirit still soars in my spirit. I am forever grateful to be your daughter. ~ Jackie Capers-Brown.