If mothers ruled the world…
It’s a thought I’ve been mulling over this week. Especially after visiting Christina and the mothers of Anapra.
Because I’m realizing what I actually witnessed in that bleak barrio.
I recognized it in the mothers’ faces as they encouraged their children. In their laughter as they prepared a meal together, each one bringing what little food they had to contribute. In Christina’s inestimable patience as she methodically strove to teach letters and their pronunciations to the young girl limited to guttural sounds and eye movements.
I’d almost forgotten, until a few days ago, Christina’s words to me that morning. How at one point she stared straight into me, her eyes bright and alive, stopping everything she was doing, as if to stress the importance of what she was about to say.
“el Reino de Dios está aqui,” she said in her native Spanish. “The kingdom of God is here.”
She actually beamed.
But I didn’t respond. I simply brushed off her words.
Something inside me recoiled against the idea that this place of pain and poverty could possibly be the kingdom of God. In my small mind the kingdom of God doesn’t have any children with disabilities, children who will never be able to feed themselves or urinate without help. Children who live in such abject poverty, nobody knows for sure whether there’ll be something to eat tomorrow.
My child’s faith wants a God who makes it all better. A God who makes the bad stuff go away.
But these women offered me something much more real. They reminded me of what is possible when God shows up in the compassionate, courageous vulnerability of a mother’s heart.
Hope comes alive.
Children are accepted and loved not based on what they can or can’t do. They’re simply loved for who they are.
And meager portions of beans and rice and potatoes are turned into a delectable feast.
What if the world were ruled by a mother? I suspect there wouldn’t be a need for so many people to migrate to escape unrestrained violence, to find work to simply survive. All girls and women would be educated and treated fairly and respectfully for the treasured beings they are. The Earth would be revered. And children wouldn’t be deported back to a country where their safety is at risk.
Now there’s a kingdom I’d jump in line to be part of.
But, as Christina pointed out, that kingdom already does exist. We can find it in one another.
As I was mulling all of this over yesterday, I came across a prayer called “Human Mothers — Thinking of God as Divine Mother.”
From Prayers to She Who Is, by William Cleary, a book of prayers based on the theological writing of Elizabeth Johnson, author of She Who Is, it couldn’t have been more appropriate. Here’s a copy:
Whenever I consider God as Divine Mother, the image softens, nurtures, and cradles me wherever I am. Sometimes it’s obvious how much I still need a mother. How much the world does, too.