The Sunday before Mother’s Day, while visiting our daughter Susan’s family in Boston, I worshipped in their beautiful church with our 7-year-old Vietnamese granddaughter, Quinlen. Born premature and abandoned at birth, she grew up in two rooms of a crowded orphanage until almost two.
Having recently learned to read, she was enthusiastically singing the words to the historic Irish hymn Be Thou My Vision, also chosen for our wedding years ago. Enjoying the sweet soul of this serendipity connection, I live in wonder at how lives are brought together.
She doesn’t know that the words from verse 5….”Christ of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision” always reminds my husband Jim and me of the searing loss of our 25-year-old daughter Krista. Nor how these words encourage our hope to continue living into this hymn’s vision.
And I don’t know what profound losses caused her mother to leave her fragile infant daughter behind at the hospital. All I know is that grace abounds in this moment and my heart overflows with thanksgiving that she is now a healthy child, growing up surrounded by a family’s love.
SORROW and JOY
I wish this Mother’s Day I could have given each of you one of the Chinese Tree peonies blooming in our garden. After I pick them for a bouquet and bring them inside, they slowly unfold to these stunning 8 inch blossoms. They remind me if we trust living again with an open heart, even after shock and sorrow, life will continue to unfold with surprising moments of meaning and joy.
The poet Kahlil Gibran gives an inkling of this idea in his book The Prophet in his poem “On Joy and Sorrow.” Convinced these two are inseparable, he writes, “The deeper that sorrow craves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
A complex swirl of emotions inevitably surrounds Mother’s Day for many, especially if one is grieving the loss of a child or mother. For years, I found being in church difficult on Mother’s Day, and I especially stayed away from restaurants where large families celebrated. But time has eased the sorrow and joy comes in so many ways.
I hope you experience glimpses of grace and joy as you seek to live with open-hearted courage.