Thursday, May 6, 2010

Learning from Mother

I am not one who dwells on sentimentality. I care deeply but generally I am not one to get caught up in emotions. On Mother’s Day, for instance, I rarely preach about being a mother. I usually acknowledge Mothers somewhere else in the service and preach on the lectionary. Now, sometimes the lectionary lends itself for some mention of the ministry and love of mothers. And, when it does I go with it.

I became aware early in my ministry that some people have real issues about their mothers and fathers. You only have about 20 minutes in a sermon; so, it’s not enough time to open something up and get it closed back, especially if it’s a family issue. For some, Mother’s Day is a painful thing.

Having said that, Mother’s Day reminds me to give thanks to God for my mother. If you had or have a good mother you should be grateful. My mother died back in 1991, way too early for me. She was only 63. Her death was one of the most difficult with which I have had to deal.

As we come to Mother’s Day, consider this question: “What did I learn from my mother?” My mother was certainly not perfect, but she was good. What did I learn from her? I learned:

1. Faithfulness. My mother was a single parent to my sister and me. My father and she did not get along and split up early. I was one year old when my dad left. I never knew him. I spent some of my life regretting that loss and dwelling on what I missed. Somewhere along the way I came to appreciate my mother whose faithfulness made her stay with me. It’s not the parent who runs that defines you; it’s the parent who stays.

2. Faith. I learned that my mother truly struggled over divorcing my father, even though he was gone and never coming back. Still, she felt that her faith would not let her divorce him. She never gave her permission for divorce. He went to Georgia to get the divorce; she didn’t show. I encouraged her to let him go. Didn’t matter. She wanted to do the right thing by her own convictions and beliefs.

3. Love for the church. Every Sunday of our lives, as far back as I can remember, my mother had us in church. None of this: “I don’t want to go…” No, we were Christians and Christians go to church. That little church where we grew up was not perfect. I remember some know-down-drag-outs. That’s alright, my mother’s commitment to Christ and the church rubbed off on me. You could say that we didn’t have anything else to do. I would say that my mother’s priorities started with commitment to the church.

4. Compassion. My mother often showed care for people that no one else seemed to notice. Many times I would be with her and we would see someone who didn’t look very promising to me. My mother always gave people the benefit of the doubt. She would say: “He didn’t have a dog’s chance…” or “Bless his heart…” Some old, hardened person who had made a mess of his life. My mother would treat them with respect.

I learned many other things from my mother. I learned the main things, the commitments that still dominate my life. I am grateful to have had a good mother.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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