Tag Archives: Tears

Faith of Our Mothers (and the New WOW)

It’s the faith that can move mountains, because the love is so fierce.

It is faith shockingly unafraid to walk through the valley of death if the trek can make certain their son or daughter stays alive.

Mothers go without to ensure that their children never do.

And while they know better than anyone else how to go for the jugular, over their dead body will they ever let someone ELSE cut you to the quick.

No, there is NOTHING so powerful as a mother’s love.

It is Mothers Day and I think of all the moms who are both mom AND dad (like my mom had to be.)  I wonder what it must have been like for my mom to realize her daughter had a dream to go to college (no one in our family ever had) and to muster up the faith to say yes.

My heart pains for those mothers who have lost babies…or any child of any age.

And I think of those of us who never had the privilege of being a mom.

Funny, I never really gave it a thought in my twenties and thirties or even my forties. But now that that ship has TRULY sailed, I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if I had been someone’s mom.

What a privilege!

And what potential heartache.

There’s just no guarantee how it is all going to turn out, is there?  Which is yet another example of the faith involved with this most holy calling.

When I lost my Toastmaster’s speech competition a few weeks ago, I was honored to watch my friend, Bryan Courtenay, win. He delivered his personal redemption story, which began in a dirty bathroom. The main character was slumped over the toilet bowl after securing his fix.  In the next scene, he paints the picture of his mother banging on the window of a car, trying to revive that young man who had overdosed.  It ends in prison, and the photo of a dead-eyed man’s mug shot.

As he unveiled the mug shot, to the gasps of the audience (who didn’t realize he was speaking about himself the whole time), my eyes were on his mother. She wept through the entire presentation.

Even as I type this, my eyes well with tears for the pain she endured…

…but I bet she’d endure every second of that pain again for the beautiful outcome she now enjoys.

The faith of our mothers, or those who have been like mothers to us, has likely sustained each of us in ways we’d be overwhelmed to see. 

Perhaps in heaven a video reel will play showing the number of times their prayers, and tears, tipped the balances, empowered angels on our behalf, and forestalled tragedy.

Moms who taxied us to rehearsals or sporting events.  Who dug deep and shelled out for those designer jeans or sneakers we HAD to have.

They made us eat our vegetables, say our prayers, clean our rooms and write thank you notes.

They cried with us, then cried some more on their own when our hearts were breaking.

For the nurture that comforted us and for all the maddening times as teenagers when we screamed “I hate you!”  For the treasure of another Mothers Day spent in your presence…thank you for the gift of YOU.

And for the faith, which so beautifully worked by love, to bring us to this very day.

Happy Mothers Day to all!  Here are my non-Mothers Day closing thoughts on FAITH, and a wonderful new WOW:

 

Ah!  So yes, keep the faith – but don’t be stuck on HOW it is going to manifest.

Have a beautiful, flexible week –

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Leaky Eyes, Acceptance (and the New WOW)

Lately my eyes have been tearing up over the simplest things.

Like the photo of my cousin’s daughter, Veronica, who was just inducted into the Junior National Honor Society.  She is so young, and lovely, and smart – with a future full of promise ahead of her.

Hand me the Kleenex.

On the plane ride to California, I finished the book A Man Called Ove to heaving sobs, snot and the quizzical looks of surrounding seatmates.

On the flight home, once again Mark handed me tissues as I whimpered and cried off my makeup through the movie Wonder.

What is going on with me?

As I pondered the word ACCEPTANCE these past two weeks, the common denominator in all of my recent tenderness relates to accepting the fragility; the fleeting and temporal nature of life.

Does this happen to everyone when they hit a certain age?

The creases around my eyes and sagging jowl belie the years gone by.  However, my spirits perk up when a new friend, in her 40’s, says, “I thought we were the same age.”

Still, time IS marching on.

We all have an expiration date unknown to us, but its reality beckons us to make the most of right now.

That closing scene of the Thornton Wilder play Our Town always slays me. Here, let me just play it for you:

By the way, the film Wonder features this scene, making it a double-whammy emotional gut punch.

Could my tenderness relate to the landmarks of time?  This very week would have marked my 15th anniversary.  Instead, in another month I will mark one year since my marriage ended.

I accept the passage of time and that creating a new version of happily-ever-after is up to me.

As I embrace this tender truth, I find myself looking at people directly in their eyes to make a true connection.  Calling people and having long-overdue, hour-long conversations.  Buying Hallmark cards in bulk to let the people I love know that I deeply love them.

For in the final analysis, what will matter?

My answer: How much did I learn, and how much did I love.

At church, we recite the Aramaic “Prayer of Our Father” that touches me deeply, especially:

“…detach the fetters of faults that bind us, like we let go the guilt of others.

Let us not be lost in superficial things, but let us be freed from that which keeps us off our true purpose. 

From You comes all working will; the lively strength to act; the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age. Amen.” 

“Let us not be lost in superficial things” massages my heart.

I gulped down the disappointment when losing what I imagined would be my trek to the International Public Speaking Championship. Just a week later, my heart swelled at this comment from one of the attendees at my Fear Factor workshop in Berkeley last week:

“Brenda was such a wonderful and genuine presenter.  I was moved and will grow and grow as I process her message.  One of the best professional development sessions I’ve ever attended.  Thank you!”

Uncanny!  In the same week, the gift that makes me feel alive to use, both rejected and applauded.  A contest? Superficial.  Impacting a person’s life for good? Deep.

It first hurt, then helped to realize that perhaps my dream of a championship remained rooted in the last vestiges of low self-esteem and ego.

Accepting that my real dream is to encourage hearts and open eyes offers a new level of freedom and fun that I am just beginning to enjoy.

Time marches on.

Though shockingly middle-aged, I feel like a kid just starting out.

I see life through new eyes; accepting the past and ready to embrace an unknown future, but with a daily intent to love the bejeezus out of everything and everyone I encounter.

More on ACCEPTANCE and the new WOW here:

Ah, and of course, after I recorded I was reminded of the scripture:  Faith works by LOVE.  Not by striving, obsessing, hard work or good intentions.

May we each FLOW in FAITH as we grow in love this week.

And are any of you feeling the passage of time and tenderness attached to it as I am these days?  I’d love to hear from you.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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A Stranger, Yet a Sister – and the New WOW

I met a stranger this week who turned out to be a sister.

It had been a particularly difficult day, with a myriad of work and personal matters mounting as they sometimes do.

My method of blowing off steam is to head to my evening Zumba class and jump around like a maniac to pounding music.  Shaking up a storm and sweating always helps to re-set my frame of mind.

This particular class started late – at 7 PM – so it was close to 8:30 PM by the time I pulled into my parking garage at the apartment complex.

Frustrating!  A space was (oddly) not available on my floor, so I had to go up another level.  This had never happened before.

As I got out of the car, I saw a young woman heading to the car parked next to me.

It is always my practice to say hi to strangers, and as I did she said, “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but I just found out my boyfriend is cheating on me.”

Then she fell into a puddle of tears, and I gathered her into my arms.

It didn’t matter that we were strangers.  In an instant, we were sisters. 

When her sobs subsided a bit, I asked where she was going.  Fortunately, her mom lived close by – but I wasn’t confident that she was in a frame of mind to drive safely.  So she handed over her keys and I got her to her mom’s (knowing Uber could easily get me home.)

During the drive she shared her heartbreaking story.  Her intuition had told her something was off; he protested…then she discovered a series of salacious texts that confirmed her fears.

He held the financial power, so her only choice was to leave.  I held her hand.  I told her to feel her feelings (which is the lesson I have been learning.)  “There’s no better place to be than with your mom, where you can have a good cry.”

The wound was too fresh to offer more than that…but I did sneak in my sister’s favorite line of comfort: “In a few weeks you’ll look back on today and feel completely differently.”  Time has a way of healing wounds, or at least making them less pronounced.

We can sometimes even see that we dodged a bullet by not getting the thing that we wanted.

I held her hand, got her safely home – and marveled at the privilege of being there for her.  It was a Divine hand that had provoked me to go to that late Zumba class and that had filled up all of the normal parking spaces, causing me to be at exactly the right place at the right time to meet a need.

I told her,  “God really loves you.  And just the way he took care of you tonight is how He will always provide.”

And in meeting her need, He met mine.  How quickly the pesky matters of the day faded away when I saw a gentle soul hurting.

Really, isn’t this what life is all about? To love our fellow man…and woman.  To act as a sister or a  brother, even to a stranger?

More on Sister/Brotherhood and the new WOW:

TRUSTING that this week brings you peace, and smiles, and confirmations that “it’s all going to be okay.”

xoxoxox

Brenda

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