One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house.
Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.
In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.
He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she may be ill, or that something serious had happened. He found her lounging in the bedroom, still curled in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, “What happened here today?”
She again smiled and answered, “You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what in the world did I do today?”
She answered, “Well, today I didn’t do it.”
This weekend we will be celebrating Mother’s Day. This holiday, while not on the par of an Easter or Christmas insofar as the eternal and spiritual significance, is one of the most popular of all the holidays. The international telephone circuits are busier on this day than on any other day of the year. The florists worldwide do more business in anticipation of this holiday than graduations, proms, and many other holidays combined.
But where did we get this holiday? What is its origin?
In 1872, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Howe suggested the idea of a special day set aside to honor Mothers and celebrate peace, but the idea never took root. Never that is, until the early 20th century.
A couple of years after her mother’s death, Anna Jarvis held a ceremony to honor her late mother. The experience so moved her, that she began a campaign to establish a formal holiday to recognize mothers. West Virginia adopted the idea in 1910, other states followed their lead the next year and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday of May “Mother’s Day,” a national holiday to honor mothers.
Something Jarvis could be proud of? Not exactly. A few years later, she was arrested for disturbing the peace at a Mother’s Day rally. Jarvis deplored the commercialization of the holiday and the way people used it to make profits. In 1923, she filed a law suit to stop a festival where the organizers were selling white carnations as a fund raiser on Mother’s Day.
She didn’t lead a campaign to begin this holiday so card companies and florists could make money, she wanted it to be a day that stirred sentiment in the children of the world. She was more successful in starting the day than stopping it. Regardless of some people’s motives, the idea of honoring mothers was contagious.
Today, we thank the Lord for our Mothers and the care they give us. It is the right thing to do.
Every time Paul Lo Duca started a game as catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he scribbled his mother’s initials in the dirt behind home plate. Like most children would be, Lo Duca is sentimental about his mother who passed away from cancer in 1996. But there is more to the ritual than that. Lo Duca is grateful for what his mom did to help him make it to the “show.”
When he was a youngster, he took batting practice from his mother in their backyard. They didn’t use a ball and a bat, instead, she threw pinto beans toward him and he would hit them with a broom stick. Hitting such a small object with such a narrow stick improved his hand-eye coordination and made him a better hitter.
“She did so much for me,” Lo Duca said, “and she was such a big influence on my life.” Lo Duca has an attitude a gratitude-which is one of the finest gifts a child can give a mother.
One of the traditional Scripture passages that is often heard on this special weekend is the passage from Proverbs 31:10-31. In this paragraph, the author proclaims the values and virtues of “the excellent woman”. While we could look in depth at these verses, one verse really jumps out of the page as I read it, verse 30: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” No matter what the world around us proclaims, the one characteristic which exalts a woman and makes her worth celebrating is the fact that she fears the Lord. That challenge for women also applies to men as well. In 2 Corinthians 5:9, we are told that the aim of our life should be to please the Lord. The one thing we should aim our lives at is to please and honor Him. No matter where we find ourselves – in school, on the job, married at home – our goal should be to please God.
Success is not measured in the size of our homes, our financial portfolios, or our families. True virtue is becoming a man or woman who loves, serves, and honors the Lord. If you honor your God, love your mate, and love your children, then you are indeed successful!
Happy Mother’s Day!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for this newspaper and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at [email protected].