For the first time in many years, I have seen my mother twice in the course of two months. (Yes, this is a sin and a shame and I am an asshole for allowing this to happen.)
Usually I see her once a year, sometimes twice. Our first visit this summer was when she surprised me on my birthday in June. Our second visit was when I went to St.Louis to celebrate her 80th birthday in August. During the course of the week that I was in St. Louis, my mom, sister and I drove to take my niece to her second year of college. We spent the night and shared a hotel room.
Mom was the last one out of the bathroom. My sister and I were both in bed, settling to sleep when we heard the whisper of Mom praying.
She said the Lord’s Prayer and then she prayed for the Lord’s blessings and protection for each of her children, grandchildren and some of the extended family. She had specific prayers for each of us.This is a ritual she does every night.
“My mother prays for me,” I thought as I listened.
This is a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life How special this is; how blessed I am.
I pray for my children and grandchildren and husband and mom and siblings and niece and nephew and closest friends and extended family, too. I pray a general prayer for the world.
My specific prayers are not always answered but the most important ones are – they are still here, safe if not always sound.
This made me think of the poem, On Children, from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran.
by Khalil Gibran*
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Our children are not ours but, because they come through us, we continue to pray for their safety, health, prosperity, dreams, and joy. I am praying for you my family. Thanks, Mom, for your continued prayer. I know I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.
*Gibran Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) – Famous Lebanese poet and philosopher who lived in Boston’s South End neighborhood. (Among his best-known works is THE PROPHET, a book of 26 poetic essays, which has been translated into over 20 languages. The Prophet, who has lived in a foreign city 12 years, is about to board a ship that will take him home. He is stopped by a group of people, whom he teaches the mysteries of life.