By Barb Arland-Fye
Social media can fill our hearts, break our hearts or give us indigestion. On Mother’s Day, many posts, some expected and some unexpected, filled my heart to the brim. Many mothers have given their children not only the gift of life but a nurturing foundation on which to build their lives.
Many of the posts I viewed and read provided me with inspiration as our diocese embarks on the next leg of our synodal journey — to grow as a welcoming Church that engenders a sense of belonging. The moms in these posts show us the way.
Sue, a family friend, posted a touching, pictorial tribute to her late mom, Pat, promising to remember the many years that Sue got to wish her mom a Happy Mother’s Day. Sue remembered the cards she created for her mom in grade school and the breakfasts and brunches they enjoyed together. Sue’s mom was like a second mom to my siblings and me when we were young children. I remember one summer morning waking up, going downstairs and seeing Sue’s mom in our dining room. She had spent the night watching over us because my mom and dad were at the hospital where my mom had just given birth to my youngest brother.
Another friend, Janet, posted a copy of a handwritten note that her mom, Ruth, now deceased, sent to Janet on her birthday. The note described the day of Janet’s birth and the challenges awaiting her arrival but concluded with this affirming phrase: “you were worth it.” Janet, directing her thoughts to her mom, wrote, “I do believe you are celebrating with all mothers in heaven, including our Mother Mary the mother of Jesus, who I pray to every night. Happy Mothers Day in heaven.”
My friend John posted a photo of his wife Cathy and their daughters Brenna, Kelley and Collette, writing, “Happy Mother’s Day to the most important Mothers in my life.” He posted two other
photos, one including his daughter-in-law, Barbara, in which he expressed appreciation for her as a “Beloved Mom within our family.” The other photo features a snapshot of his own mom, Kathryn, now deceased. He expressed his admiration for the example she set as a mother.
My friend Beth, wrote about her mother, Elizabeth “Betty:” “Our hearts remain near to each other in all that she taught me. From Mom, I learned to call on the Blessed Mother and her Son Jesus. I hope to be like my Mother, who while a woman of strong spirit, was a woman of empathy and compassion for God’s little and humble ones.”
Father Nicholas, a pastor in our diocese, posted a Mother’s Day prayer, accompanied by a photograph of Pope Francis gently touching a statue of Mary. The prayer moves me because it acknowledges the joys and challenges of motherhood, gives thanks to God and asks God to bless and equip mothers for the journey.
Blogger Mike — a fellow pilgrim with his wife, Helen, on our Catholic Messenger Pilgrimage to Ireland — composed a poignant Mother’s Day tribute. This excerpt moved me:
“I hope you grew up with a loving mother who only wanted the best for you. If you didn’t, I’m sorry. A loving mother is a true reflection of God’s love for you. Maybe your mother left this planet earlier than you wanted. I’m sorry for that too. I do have some good news for you… She’s cheering for you. She can’t wait to embrace you when it’s your time to depart. And if you have one of those mothers who didn’t live up to your expectations, the best thing you can do is forgive her. Only God knows why she wasn’t capable of being a loving mother. Let go of those negative memories and be thankful you are here because without her you wouldn’t exist.”
My own mother has always wanted the best for me. I posted this tribute to her: “Celebrating Mother’s Day wouldn’t be possible without my mom, Mary Oxboro Arland, my confidant whose love and support blesses my pilgrim journey on this earth!”
One post that touched me deeply features a photo of my son Patrick and me, walking on a nature trail in the Twin Cities. He wrote: “Thank you for being my mom and you helped me become the man I am today.”
(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye at firstname.lastname@example.org)