A kind sister named Brenda began e-mailing after my son died. She had suffered a similar tragedy and we shared the pain that Mother’s Day can bring in the aftermath of such situations.
Last Mother’s Day I received an e-mail from her that gave me a new perspective. She said, “I’m adjusting my thoughts about Mother’s Day, the dreaded day of the year to a host of mothers: Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the continuation of life! Are you familiar with the saying ‘A baby is God’s sign that the world should go on?’ I am celebrating the birth of our 10th grandchild and will celebrate our 11th in July.”
My 7th grandchild is four months old – and such a beautiful reminder of God’s continuing vote that, regardless of its trials, mortal life is precious and that more of His children still need to experience it. To all mothers who may be hurting I would suggest changing the focus on Mother’s Day next year to the celebration of the continuation life.
The Beautiful Example of a Bird Mother
After a dreadful forest fire ravaged Yellowstone National Park a few years ago I read a story (I don’t remember where) that impressed me. I will try to reconstruct it.
After the fire, the forest rangers were attempting to assess the extent of the fire’s damage. One ranger found a strange thing: on the ground at the base of a huge charred tree, was a bird petrified in ashes. Why hadn’t the bird flown to safety? Why would a bird sit on the ground and not flee the blazing fire? Curiously, he poked at the ashen bird with a stick, and three little chicks who had been kept safe from the fire by their dead mother’s wings scurried out.
The mother, who could have flown to safety, had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live. What a vote for the continuation of life, and what an analogy of the Savior’s love! “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge” (Psalm 91:4). The Savior died that we might live, and only a mother’s love comes close to His.
Choosing to Be the Carriers of Life
Recently I saw my daughter-in-law bravely choose another high-risk pregnancy, risk her life, and go down into the shadows of the valley of death, that another baby might be born. And she has never regretted her choice for a moment, but rejoices in the beauty of her new baby girl. The continuation of life is a reason for continual rejoicing.
Is there anything that brings more awe, more wonder, more tears of joy than the plaintive cry of a newborn baby? Can anyone cradling a beautiful newborn remain a cynic? The dark side of life is eclipsed by the sun-bright wonder of new life – and mothers carry the lighted torch.
It has always required faith and fortitude to choose motherhood. However, in most of the history of the world that choice was the norm, something women were simply expected to do. That is no longer the case, and many “modern-thinking” women choose to remain childless.
I honor young mothers today who choose motherhood with their eyes wide open. It is not easy to open the door to pregnancy knowing the risks. So many young mothers have a difficult time all through their pregnancy, and the epidemic of premature births increases the likelihood that the baby’s life can be at risk as well. Yet so many young women – in the Church and out of it – choose to become mothers multiple times.
I honor my daughter-in-law for her for her unselfish devotion. Her pregnancies have been increasingly difficult, and all but the first baby have been premature. But her love for children has prevailed, and she has brought six beautiful children into the world. Even more worthy of commendation: she is devoting her full time and effort to nurturing them.
Love Can Make So Much Difference
Being loved so much that a mother is willing to put her life at risk should make a difference in my grandchildren’s lives. Being loved so much that the Redeemer was willing to die for us should make a difference in ours. We can choose to remember the One who loves us each day, be different because of it, and pass that kind of love on to our children.
President Joseph Fielding Smith saidm “A true mother’s love is the closest thing to God’s love that you’ll ever find on this earth.” No mother has control over the response of her children to her love. No mother can determine the outcomes in her offspring’s life. But have control over our own decision to keep loving them no matter what. And we do have control over our response to the Lord’s love for us.