I don’t need a religion to know goodness, understand love or believe in angels. It is my mother that shows me the highest form of honor, respect and unconditional care I can imagine. She IS selfless service in action and a living role model.
The idea of selfless service (seva) is an important concept in most Indian religions and yogic traditions. Because God is perceived as having a relationship with others, as well as oneself, serving other people is considered an essential devotional practice of indirectly serving God. Service to make life easier for others is one of central tenets of Sikhism. Selfless service is also important in Christianity. Jesus often preached it (Matthew 20:25-28, Mark 9:35; 10:42-45, Luke 9:46-48; 17:7-10, John 13:12-15), and both Peter and Paul, respectively, wrote about it (1 Peter 4:10-11), (2 Corinthians 4:5, Philippians 2:5-7, Colossians 3:23-24).
For as long as I’ve been conscious of my mom’s life (beyond my own needs), I’ve noticed her giving of herself. She has cared for my dad for 45+ years of marriage, raised the heck out of three kids, tends to her 95-year-old dad, her ailing brother and thousands of young mothers and children she has touched in her career. She’s a wonderfully natural caregiver. As she gives, she receives.
If that weren’t enough, she’s smart and clever as can be. I’m not even sure when, but somewhere in our youth, she snuck in a master’s degree in child development while tending to us all. And in the years she should be retired, she’s worked herself right up the ladder to be an important lady in her field of expertise.
She’s tough too. You might not know it because of her pretty and soft exterior, but my mom is tough as nails. She birthed us all naturally without a whimper and schleps man-sized loads of wood and coal in the winter. She can wrestle a calf and will win any foot race you put her in. And don’t mess with her. Like most mom’s, she has eyes in the back of her head and a secret inferno within that she reserves for real danger.
And if you know her, you might know that she is silly. But you must be under 7 years old to get the best of her. She got a lot of tricks up her sleeves. Ever seen ‘napkin head’ Nana? It’s a good one.
Above all, she is incredibly humble. Her amazing-ness is never overt or worn on the outside. In fact, all her joys, sorrows and complaints are stored inside her secret aching shoulders, sleepless nights and fading eyesight. There is no time for herself, which hurts my heart. I know that she gives up her ‘yoga’ night to take care of her dog or go for a walk with my dad. I know she will put absolutely everything on hold if I ask her for anything . She is a servant.
I am not really sure how to show her how proud I feel, how honored I am that she is my mother or how to say thank you. If I had to guess, I think her favorite thing is just spending time with her kids and grandkids. And now as a mom, I get it. There is no substitute for being in physical proximity to the very things that lived inside you and hold the other parts of your heart. Skype just doesn’t cut it.
So this mother’s day, I would like to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry we are so far away. New Caledonia sure is beautiful, but it would be complete with you here. Happy Mothers Day Patricia Arlene Moody Quynn. It is because of your mothering I believe in God. You are above and beyond the best.
“Living creatures are nourished by food, and food is nourished by rain; rain itself is the water of life, which comes from selfless worship and service.” – Bhagavad Gita