As a young social worker, I was taught about schizophrenogenic mothers, mothers who were responsible for their children’s schizophrenia. In the day it was the norm to hold mothers accountable (actually to blame them) for all of the mental dis-ease that befell their children and families. Perhaps it is in that spirit that I share this apocryphal story about everyone’s and no one’s in particular mother. . .
There indeed was a mother who was known throughout the neighborhood for her quest for perfection. She spent her life bemoaning the circumstances of her life. Nothing was ever quite good enough, nothing satisfied her.
Life went on in the village. Days came, and days went. People got up, went to work. They laughed, they cried. They did all the things that people do in the days of their lives.
One grace filled summer day the sun burst through the fog that had risen from the ground after the nights storm had ended. A rainbow hovered over the mountains, and the sun spread sparkling light over the gardens and fields in a blaze of glorious color and light. It was one of those moments that took your breath away and left you inspired with the beauty and grandeur of your town and our world. It was an “ahh moment” if there ever was one.
Surely even that mother would see the beauty and joy of life in this!
Father Poplowski called out to the mother, “my daughter is this not a most glorious day?”
And the mother replied, “Well it may be Father, but will it last?”
Well, of course not. Nothing lasts forever. The sweetness, the joy is in the moment – perhaps made even sweeter in the knowledge of its evanescent ephemeral nature. Nothing lasts forever, Nothing ever could. And, yet somewhere in our youth or childhood, we must have found something good. And so, let us re-claim the lost innocence of youth and childhood. Let us learn and remember to take our joy, our happiness, our hope were we can find them, where we can create them.
In Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope, Joan Chittister reminds us of the sunflower – that beautiful plant which even in shadow turns its head towards the sun. Chittister christens the sunflower the patron saint of those in despair. She offers us this guidance from the people of New Zealond: Turn your face to the sun, and the shadows always fall behind you.
Today, this day, let us all make the effort. Let us enjoy beauty where it finds us, let us embody the sunflower and each turn our face to the sun!