Topic Study: Mother

(Sacrament Meeting talk given May 1995 in Laguna 2nd Ward, Sacramento (CA) Stake  TG Entry: Mother)

Overview

I think my Mother was somewhat embarrassed by Mother’s Day. She said sometimes she felt guilty because she wasn’t all the things that are mentioned in Mother’s Day talks.

Let’s admit it.  No mother is all the things that will be mentioned today, or the things that seem to accompany Mother’s Day.  For that matter, no father is all the things that go with Father’s Day.  But for some reason, it doesn’t bother fathers much.  They seem to feel lucky they get a day at all.

Moms, on the other hand are different.  Although I think they enjoy Mother’s Day, they can be bothered by it too.  Well, I hope to make you feel better today.  I am going to tell you a little about the imperfections in my Mother.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell you anything I won’t also tell her.  I plan to send this talk to her when I am finished writing it.

My mother says she did not “plan and execute” life in any way.  She muddled through.  She muddled through children, teenagers, church callings, and house work.  Nothing perfect–just muddling.

She used to tell us her New Year’s resolutions every year.  Some of them speak a great deal about her life.  One year she said, “God gave us two ears and only one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk.”  It was a nice idea, but I think every one she said it to chuckled slightly.  We didn’t notice a big change in the speed at which she spoke.

She wasn’t great at discipline either.  One of my teachers told my mother at Parent Teacher Conference, “Mrs. Twitchell, Kip talks too much.”  My Mother then replied, “Well, I know where he got that from.”  My talking didn’t improve too much.

She says she wants her epitaph to be “One Tough, Unstable Woman.”  She was tough.  Maybe she is slightly unstable.  Maybe we all are.

One year her New Year’s resolution was “I am not going to care as much.”  I thought at the time it was a joke, and laughed about it.  As I look back, I see she was having a very difficult time with some of her children, and was trying to cope with it.

Muddling.  Muddling.  Most of our life is muddling.

Then why, if mothers are not perfect, do we have Mother’s Day?  Why do we have a day to honor them if it just makes them feel embarrassed?  Why don’t we just do away with the whole thing?

I will attempt to tell you.

I.A            We Have Something In Common

Take a look at those around you.  What do you have in common with someone you see?  You probably have at least one thing in common with everyone you see, but it’s not the same thing for each one, is it?  We are all so different.  Now think of those not in this room.  How about a Buddhist Monk in China, a Kurdish Rebel in Iraq, a new born baby in Africa, or a cocaine producer in South America?  Do you have anything in common with them?

Not much.  But you have at least one thing in common with every person you will ever meet.  Every person had a mother.  Every human being has a mother.  Mother’s day reminds us, more than most days, that we are all part of the same family.  We have something in common.

Now for those who are mothers, may I recommend that today, instead of thinking about your inadequacies, turn your thoughts to your mother.  Honor her for the things she did for you.  If she is no longer here, spend some time passing the knowledge of her onto your children, or grand children.  They will want to honor her too.

I.B            We have an Obligation

Did you know that nearly 30% (28% really) of all uses of the word “Mother” are in the Gospels.  Perhaps the Savior was trying to teach us about mothers.

Even Jesus Christ, the greatest one of all, had a mother and a father.  And if you think you feel inadequate as a mother, imagine knowing that the father of your son was perfect, even a God, and that your son was perfect.  How inadequate she must have felt.

Yet the Savior provided a perfect example, as he has in all things.  While hanging on the cross, with his body weakened from the horrors of Gethsamane, and feeling the pain of the scourging and the crucifixion, he took the time to think of his mother.  Knowing he was soon to die, he ensured that his mother was cared for.

  v25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

  v26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

  v27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!  And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.  (John 19)

John took Mary to his home, and insured that she was cared for.

Mother’s Day reminds us of our obligations.  No mother should be left uncared for.  May it never be said of us, as someone said of one family, “She could care fore 11 children, but 11 children couldn’t care for her.”

I.C            We Have Love

John, this same disciple, later wrote an epistle called 1 John.  Did you know that nearly 10% (8% really) of all occurrences of the word “Love” are in the book of 1st John.  Perhaps he really understood what the Savior was trying to teach.  I found one verse to really be interesting.

v20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (1 John 4:20)

In other words, if I say I love God, and one of you knows that I hate you, you know I am a lair.  For how can I love God, whom I have never seen, when I can’t love you, the person are sitting right here in front of me?

It seems that we are to understand the love of God by understanding the love of someone here on earth.  If we can know the love of someone here, we can better demonstrate our love for God.

But if that is the case, why does God allow for so much pain and hatred in the world?  If it is so important for us to understand love by feeling love, why isn’t there more of it around?  The complete answer to this question would fill more space than we have here.  But I think there is something important, and relevant here.

The verse before the one above says the following:

v19 We love him [meaning God], because he first loved us.

What if we paraphrase that to say, “We love her [meaning our mothers], because she first loved us.”  I think it is amazing that God planned that our first experience in life to be an experience in love.  For the vast majority of people on this earth, our first moments in life, are those of love with our mothers.

Our mothers love us in a way that our fathers never can.  (By the way, our fathers love us in a way our mothers never can.)  Mother’s Day is to remind us that someone loves us.  Someone we know.  Someone down here.  Someone quite near.  It should remind us that we must love others as evidence that we love God.

I.D            Conclusion

Remember:  We have something in common, we have an obligation, and we have love.  This is why we have Mother’s Day.

I have written a poem, for the mother of my children, for Mother’s Day.

A Mother’s Love/A Father’s Love

What do you ponder
Deep within your heart.
What do you feel,
What do you know,
When those quickenings,
They start.

How intense your feelings,
How strong is your love.
To see a hand,
To hear a cry,
A child comes
From above.

A mother’s love is awesome,
A mother’s love is real.
It speaks to hearts,
It fills such needs,
Near Godliness,
An ideal.

May God grant my children
May live to see the time
May come to know,
May come to feel,
Our Father’s love,
So sublime.

I am grateful to have stood by my wife, and watched those tender moments of love, as she bore our children.  I am grateful that I realized then, that someone did the same thing for me.

May we all remember the love we learn from our mothers, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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