Thursday, May 10

calling all angels (moms)


"I like turtles because they remind me to stay focused, and I like giraffes because they remind me to hold my head up high and look towards the sky."

---Frohna Amstrong

Frohna told me a story about her friend who visited a beach a few years back. This beach was secluded, and therefore was home to many wildlife families. She was taken out to sea on a little dinghy to explore the neighboring islands and beaches. As she sat, watching the waves, a turtle approached the beach. Slowly but surely, she was on a mission (the turtle, that is). As time passed, this big momma dug a deep hole--maybe the size of a baseball, but as deep as a trench--in the sand. Then, she began to lay her eggs. Frohna's friend watched in awe, this event that typically takes place on National Geographic of the Discovery Channel. Who was she to witness such a miraculous and spectacular life-show? Just then, the giant sea creature began to cry. Well, what seemed to be crying at least. This woman watched the turtle's eyes fill with tears, and then watched with wonder as those tears slid down her solid, stone-like face, around the curls of a mouth every mother would recognize. She pondered, what was this turtle thinking or feeling?

It could be that laying eggs is just as rigorous for a turtle as it is for women to give birth (the most likely probability). But she couldn't help but remember all those things she had learned on those animal documentaries. These little sea turtles, when they are finally hatched, have like, a 12% chance of survival. First, they've got to make their way from the beach and into the deep waters. Here, they'll encounter seagulls, and birds, and larger predators who might scoop them up. And on those little awkward legs, covered by a tough shell, the trek can't be too easy. Once they're in the water, there are thousands of other creatures looking at them like little hors' de oeuvres. (In case you've forgotten my hatred towards the "circle of life", even this makes me tear up.)

So maybe, just maybe, this momma is thinking to herself, "Oh, I love these babies so. Already, I know who they are and I know that they are mine. And already, I know how hard life will be when they encounter it. When they finally arrive, they'll be bombarded with the struggles of life. And my heart grieves for them, already."

This could be a stretch, I know. But I know this is what Mary was feeling when she heard the news that she was carrying baby Jesus. She was told she was the mother of a baby who was bringing peace to the world, but would suffer greatly for it. And when we have a child, that’s what we hope for too, right? (Speaking as a want-to-be-someday-momma, I just predict this feeling.) We want our children to have a world of great opportunity, freedom, happiness, and safety, but we also see the other side of the coin that says there is a battle raging against such things.

If you woke up in the United States today, you heard Obama's new stance on marriages and his personal thoughts on the topic. You might have also heard that America ranks as #23 on the list of best places to be a mother. #23?! Our nation may be a little estranged, but we’re certainly still a great nation...

You know that around every corner is another decision, another debate, another chance for victory or defeat. But you still have those babies, in spite of all of it.

Rihanna sings a catchy song--"we found love in a hopeless place"--she says. It's true; we seek love in the midst of wars and politics, because that's what we need, what we desire. We yearn for love, even when it seems so far away. We yearn for children even when we know it could be difficult for them.

You won't find Frohna on Google or Wikipedia. She's a mom of one who frequents my office every Wednesday. We talk about her adventures and her son's adventures. She's been a "cop" (her words), he's now a policeman. She's been a truck driver and a jewelry maker, he's also in theater. This mom has taught her son that even in the face of danger, you stay focused. You act like the turtle who raced the hare, with your eyes on the finish line, even when ol' fluffy is bouncing around trying to distract you. She also taught him that in a life filled with crime and hate, to keep your eyes towards the heavens; create beauty and happiness, because you were created for them.

To all the mommies--new ones and old ones, all the mothers of wisdom and grace, all the grandmas and aunts and wives and sisters and little girls, Happy Mother's Day. You were given the heart of a mother--the heart that knows and sees tragedy and difficulty, but you love deeply and fully anyway. You were created beautifully, thank you for sharing that beauty with the world.


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