This is a religious post. Skip it if that's not your thang.
Thinking about motherhood because this morning I went upstairs to the playroom, one part of the house where there is semi-reliable wifi, and it was a disaster area full of toys. Toys scattered everywhere. And there in the middle of this huge mess, one of the girls, I strongly suspect the 3 yo, had turned a box upside down and put down a doll pillow and placed two baby dolls down, heads on the pillow, and covered them with a brand new dishcloth, flat and neat and the baby dolls were tucked in so carefully and lovingly amidst the mess. I thought, she gets that from me.
I remember when my firstborn was two days old. My teenage stepdaughter and a friend visited us in the hospital (I’m a c-section mom so I get three whole days) . The friend held my two day old son and he started to fuss. I said, well, if he’s going to cry I will hold him, no point in your putting up with that, I’m his mother, it’s my job. The instant I held him he stopped fussing. All he wanted was Mom.
One thing that astonished me about new motherhood was how instantly and intensely all of us moms know our baby’s individual cry. At day care or the church nursery there can be five babies and five moms outside the door and if one baby starts to cry one of the five moms instantly knows “that’s mine” and the other four know that it’s not theirs.
I wish I had an elegant way to tie all of this to the Motherhood of God. I like to think of God as a mother in her kitchen, wearing a big apron with pockets full of blessings, but not taking any guff and always ready with a correcting look or even a quick spank to get our attention when we’re really pushing it. Our angry older brother, Richard Dawkins, writes a whole book about how Mother doesn’t really exist and is a delusion and Mother looks over his shoulder and says, that’s very nice dear now eat your breakfast. And when one of us cries she is right on the other side of the door and her ears perk up and she says, that’s mine, I might as well hold her, no point in anyone else putting up with that, I’m the mother, it’s my job. And when life is a complete mess and there seems no order to anything, in the midst of all that, love is there. That’s easy for me to type on a laptop in the middle of a nice park….I’m not lying naked and cold in some Iraqi orphanage. I try, though, to see that awful suffering as a lesson for US rather than for God. A sermon once told me that Jesus’ statement “the poor you always have with you” is an accusation, rather than a resignation.
As far as personal faith is concerned, I think it's like art and pornography. You know it when you see it. And when you're fussy and the world's not right, and all of a sudden it's the divine Mom that's holding you, you know it.