Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I’m grateful for mothers and all women for the important role they play here on earth. We are surrounded on this planet by mothers and by other women who have an incredibly significant impact on our lives. Forgetting for a minute the role of women in bringing spirits into this world, imagine what earth life would be like if there were no women.
Women truly are the salt of the earth. Years ago I spent six years in the U.S. Marines and had ample opportunity to watch men spend extended periods of time together without the civilizing influence of women. And men under those conditions can be rough and violent and crude. And then I’ve seen those same men in the company of their wives and girlfriends, and they seemed to me as if totally different people. Calmer, more courteous, more solicitous of the welfare of others, and far more civilized.
Now I realize that Mother’s Day is not necessarily a happy day for a lot of women. Not every woman who wants to be married is married, and not every one that is married has children. And some women have lost children and for them Mother’s Day is a reminder of a child they once loved and served and wished with all their heart would find happiness and success in life. And this is the case in our home. Three years ago we lost a 26 year old son, so we too look at Mother’s Day a little differently now. And finally, for mothers who have children, these indeed are very perilous times, and many mothers carry wounds of children who started out so brightly and then made serious mistakes along the way, every one of which was like a sword through their mother’s heart. And even Mary, the Mother of God, when she and Joseph came to present the Christ Child at the temple, was told by Simeon “yea, a sword shall pass through thy own soul also.” So we see, even with a perfect child, mothers are not spared.
But nevertheless, for all this, Mother’s Day is still a happy day. Because if it wasn’t for mothers and the ‘spirit of motherhood’ and the talent for caring and tenderness found in every woman, this world would have been destroyed a long time ago – if not by God then certainly by men.
M Russell Ballard, speaking about mothers and daughters said in an April 2010 speech: “All women have within their divine nature both the inherent talent and the stewardship to mother, and most of what I will say applies equally to grandmothers, aunts, sisters, stepmothers, mothers-in-law, leaders, and other mentors who sometimes fill the gaps for these significant mother-daughter relationships.”
I take those words to be that women should never under estimate the incredible influence their natural God given talent for caring and tenderness has on the children, the men, and the other women that God brings into their life’s circle.
Now, in regards mothers: Neal A. Maxwell said in a speech in May 1978: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this.”
No one in our life has ever served us with more self-sacrifice than our mothers. No one will ever come close. Not even our spouse if we are married. Because with our spouses, we generally have a partnership. We both serve each other. But the relationship between a mother and a child is not a partnership. It is a one way street. Your mother serves you and gets back very little in proportion to what she gives. Think of all the meals, all the washed clothes, all the dried tears, all the diapers, all the baths, all the sicknesses, all the patience and love.
In Shakespeare’s King Lear there is a line that has become a proverb. It goes: How sharper than a serpent’s tooth to have a thankless child. And so I say to all children including myself: Honor your mother. Never take for granted what she does for you. And remember, actions speak louder than words when it comes to expressing gratitude.
Throughout history, women have always been teachers of moral values. Where would we be today if it weren’t for our mothers and all the other women in our lives. How blessed we are to have them.
Happy Mother’s Day,
Zurich May 12, 2013