Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mothers as Judges

This is the fourth installment of a talk entitled The Divine Role of Mothers.
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Now for the third divine capacity, mothers as judges. It is a role many children experience early on. Many mothers have taken primary responsibility for managing a household, and as part of this they do a good deal of teaching, training, and disciplining. Like the mighty judges of ancient Israel (at least one of which---Deborah---was a woman), mothers are sort of like the legislative, executive, and judicial branches all rolled into one.

Mothers are often compassionate in this role. How many of us as children, when Father was apt to anger too quickly or react too harshly, saw Mother act as “an advocate with the Father”? Like the Savior as Judge, mothers tend to see their children through rose-colored glasses, accentuating every possible good, and taking into account every mitigating circumstance. (At least they do so when one step removed in time or space from daily frustrations!) As the saying goes, “A face only a mother could love”---and the same sometimes goes for personalities, and souls.

For all this forbearance, there is also a sense, even long after leaving home, of not wanting to let her down, of wanting her to be proud. The practical rhythms and skills of life we learn from our mothers serve us through the years, and echos of the wisdom and standards they teach linger with us as as a persistent influence. I seem to recall seeing more than once in war movies an invocation of Mother coming to a dying soldier's lips in his final moments, perhaps as an involuntary desperate plea for help; but also, in one’s final moments, a review of one’s life, and a hope that mother would be proud.

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This concludes Part I, "Descriptive."

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