Cover photo by Aziz Acharki, Unsplash.
Honor your mother and father. That is a command familiar to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.
From the Qur’an we have a number or verses discussing mothers and fathers and their honored place, including this one:
“We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth” (46:15).
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that heaven lies under the feet of your mother. He also acknowledged the importance of a mother with this famous hadith:
A man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet ﷺ said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet ﷺ said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet ﷺ said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet ﷺ said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim).
A whole society setting aside a holiday to honor mothers (and fathers next month) is a wonderful thing. So again, Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂
But let’s also depart from the standard well wishes for two other important considerations.
How many people are today aware of Mother’s Day as honoring peace and opposing war?
Anna Jarvis is most often credited with founding Mother’s Day. She fought hard to keep the holiday set aside to honor mothers was not co-opted and commercialized by “the hordes of money schemers.”
It was Julia Ward Howe who apparently added the antiwar spin. She is perhaps best known for writing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” She promoted “Mothers’ Peace Day” in 1872.
“Howe called for women to gather once a year in parlors, churches, or social halls, to listen to sermons, present essays, sing hymns or pray if they wished—all in the name of promoting peace,” said Katharine Antolini, an historian at West Virginia Wesleyan College and author of Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother’s Day.
Similar can be said of Martin Luther King Day, which still contains the welcome message of racial harmony. Yet has also been scrubbed of its pro-peace and anti-war message, which was very much a part of King’s original speeches and writings.
Restoring the Full Message
Each of these holidays contains a part of the positive message while scrubbing another part. The less palatable message (to some) has been sacrificed to inoffensive sentimentality.
We can bring back the fuller meaning by sharing with others the lost aspects. It’s utterly obscene to me that human beings, for all their progress, have not found peaceful ways to settle their differences.
Still, in the era of so much sophisticated technology, we are killing each other over dominance, resources, and who knows what else. In fact, we’re using the products of our intelligence–that very sophisticated technology–to slaughter people with greater and greater efficiency. When does it end?
Can we be as devoted to peace as we are to material progress? When you look all around the world today, what do you see? I can’t help but think of the question asked in that famous song by The Black Eyed Peas: “Where’s the love? ”
I wish we could trade that brain power for a little more wisdom….and a whole lot more love.
A Day of Broken Hearts
Holidays can be wonderful, but they can also be incredibly painful. Mother’s Day, in particular, can be a sad day. A painful benchmark that opens wounds and brings tears instead of joy.
Children who have lost their mothers, and mothers who have lost their children. Mothers and children who are estranged or otherwise separated from one another. Women who wanted to have children but for whatever reason never could. The possibilities are endless…
With people having so many different experiences and circumstances, a person can feel very alone. It’s hard to spend the day nursing a broken heart while the rest of the world is saying, “Happy Mother’s Day.” I want to remember these people too. Those who may for whatever reason be sad or hurt, and acknowledge what this day might mean for them.
Everyone comes into the world by way of a mother. That at least is universal.
What experience we have beyond that can differ greatly. So with that in mind, my Mother’s Day wish is peace and blessings to absolutely everyone, everywhere. To all the Children of Adam, all around the world.
Whether this is a day or joy, or a day of sadness…or meh…just another day, I wish you love. 🙂