Motherhood as Ministry

We have a guest post today from our friend Syra Divine. Syra is discussing the important topic of seeing our vocations as our ministry. I have known this beautiful woman for many years and have long admired her dedication to her mother, husband, children, and friends. She has also been an inspiration as a writer. You can find her blog here: Syra’s Scribbles and info on her highly enjoyable books here: Syra’s Memoirs  Enjoy!

Motherhood as Ministry

A couple of weeks ago a friend recommended a blog about family being a mother’s mission.  http://www.blossomingjoy.com/blog/the-lie-of-the-apostolate The blogger quoted Mother Teresa, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your families.”  It seemed profound to me because while bringing soup to a sick friend feels like a good deed, cleaning up and nursing sick family members feels like part of the job.  Almost like it doesn’t count, and yet our society depends on families taking care of each other, daughters taking care of their ailing mothers, mothers taking care of their children.

The day after reading that article my priest remembered that I offered to do some work around the church and invited me to come to the feast day liturgy and stay later.  Mopping the church kitchen is different than at home because it’s not part of the daily grind.  I was thanked and appreciated and one older lady of the parish took a minute to look at me and said, “You are so beautiful.”  It was rewarding or would have been so if the responsibilities at home weren’t whispering.

While the priest chanted the liturgy, Mom was at home in bed sleeping.  While the parishioners greeted each other and parted ways, Mom waited for someone to bring her some broth.  She couldn’t eat solid foods for twenty-four hours after getting her tooth pulled.  Her dental adventures had had a bad ending.  She had a windfall from the government a few months ago and spent it all on her teeth.  The tooth in question needed a second root canal and a new crown, but the new crown had fallen out and disappeared into the dark dusty depths below her bookcases.  We cleaned her room from top to bottom dusting, sweeping, mopping every inch of bookcases and floors even after the crown was found.  Mom tucked it under her pillow for a tooth fairy that couldn’t even give her pennies on the dollar for her investment.  The living tooth unprotected by the missing crown fractured and had to be pulled.

I wished that some kind soul could bring her a cup of broth to allow me to mop the whole church.  A cup of broth from a stranger would be a few dollars and an hour of someone’s time.  A good deed stored up in heaven.  Not the commitment I expect of myself.  The stranger wouldn’t have to check her blood pressure and blood sugar and make sure that she didn’t trigger any bigger issue while recovering from a pulled tooth.  A stranger wouldn’t have to monitor her for infection or be there to assure her that she is as darling as ever even with a missing tooth.  Then I realized that the cup of broth was the easy part of the calling which belongs to me and no other, which is why I finished mopping the kitchen, put the bucket away and ran off to the store and back home.

The next day a friend asked for help transporting her and her dog to a new apartment.  The moving truck would come at eleven.  It seemed easy enough and our mutual friend who was helping organize the big day was relieved to have me there.  The truck kept postponing the arrival though and six hours later I returned home to a dismayed family.  Without a mom’s presence in the house like the police car on the side of the road keeping everyone in check, the kids fought more and cleaned up after themselves less. It’s hard to qualify what I do that brings that sense of peace and comfort and why it isn’t there when I’m hiding in the master bedroom or gone from home, but it was missed that day. They all wanted to know why I hadn’t been home all day and what was the plan was for dinner. 

Two days later I went to the doctor after coughing for four weeks, expecting a sinus infection.  The concern in the doctor’s eyes as she listened to the lung, the gentle demand that I not leave before receiving a breathing treatment and the word pneumonia all took me by surprise.  Though the x-ray later showed no sign of pneumonia or bronchitis, sleep was the priority for most of the week, the cough getting worse before improving.  Mike and the kids and mom were helpful, but there was an undercurrent with Mom and the kids of worry for their own needs too.  They wanted to know who would get the groceries, run the errands, drive them around, read to them, hug them, tuck them in do all the things they have come to expect.  It was a brief realization of the momentous role I play in their lives.

It reminded me how important being a mother and daughter caregiver is.  We all have the power to bless everyone around us, but within a family living together, lives are intertwined in permanent links for good or ill.  Taking care of Mom and the kids isn’t just a job, it’s a calling.  It’s what I do and who I am for now.  The time I have with them won’t last forever.  It’s fun and good to help out in the community around me, make trips to visit friends and family, and take time for myself, but family is the priority, my calling, my ministry. 


Read more of Syra’s writing at http://syrasscribbles.weebly.com/

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