By Anne Carraux
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.” (Blessed Mother Teresa)
This week, I encountered a wise and amazing mother who is doing something radical. Twice widowed and having raised seven sons, this woman built a house and opened its doors to anyone who walks through them. Gail lives in the home but sees it as God’s place. Her doors are unlocked, and her kitchen is often full of strangers gathering to pray.
When I walked into Gail’s living ministry, The Blessing House, a sense of peace immediately diffused the stress I carried into the door. In flowing, patterned pants and with a smile radiating warmth, Gail called me forward for a hug.
Quietly and joyfully, Gail spoke to me about how blankets and pillows in her home provide a sense of comfort to those who enter its doors. She noted that people in distress need blankets even in the summertime.
“We have to hold onto something when we are healing,” she said.
Yes, Gail prepared The Blessing House to facilitate an outpouring of God’s love. People convene in Gail’s basement for healing and wander her property in search of peace. Families celebrate life with meals at her table or mourn lives lost through grief counseling.
As an hour of time passed between us, I realized that Gail’s home is that of any mother. Although we do not see ourselves as radical in our everyday pursuits, our doors are open by virtue of our motherhood, and we don’t know who God will invite to wander into our lives.
This amazing manifestation of motherhood echoes in today’s Gospel reading. We hear clearly that God’s love resides within us and may transform those around us.
Jesus prays, “Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you love me may be in them and I in them.” (John 17:25-26)
Being a mother is an everyday miracle that need not be tied to biological children. Motherhood is a welcoming spirit: a woman who intuits that her neighboring child needs a kind word or a little snack. Motherhood is the digging deep for selflessness: the realization that another’s need for growth and healing usurp possibly our own needs for sleep, food, or privacy. Motherhood is the constant: the pouring forth of love from God unto those around us.
In the quote above, Blessed Mother Teresa remarks insightfully on the difficulty of cultivating love in our own homes. How easy it can be to let our children isolate themselves in their moments of pain. And yet, our God has blessed mothers abundantly with gifts to welcome our children back into love and joy. Each mother does it differently and beautifully.
I know a mother who speaks so quietly that her children lean in to hear her joyful prayer. I know another so ebullient that her kids laugh with her and skip down the street. I know a mother whose baking welcomes in the whole small town for comfort and socializing. These women are beautiful in their capacity to love through their innate temperaments.
As I look back on my childhood, memories of my own mother flood forward, but most are not tied to a specific incident. I remember that my mother was there. Consistently, quietly. Welcoming me back, nourishing me with food or words of encouragement.
How amazing is God’s love in that He has created mothers uniquely for us and of us! The journey is long, but we mothers are in it together. We are so blessed that God created us uniquely for this great work.
How can you expand your scope as a mother by radically welcoming in those around you? Or, in a daily sense, how can you cultivate your gifts of the Holy Spirit to bring your children peace and welcome in their difficult moments?
Happy Mother’s Day!
About the Author:
Anne Carraux married her college sweetheart and together they embarked on a journey of raising four exuberant children in Chaska, MN. Writing mostly in prayer and to make sense of her journey, Anne hopes her words help readers keep looking toward God, especially when it comes to living joyfully with faith. When not potty training or doing stress-maintenance in group exercise, you might find Anne hanging out in the sunshine with a good book.