I do not feel like going to services this Sunday morning. I do not feel like sitting in a Mother’s Day congregation.
I do not want to intuit the family stories in the ways people sit in the pews surrounding me. I do not want to guess whether any of the women feel nervous that a homilist might presume to tell their story on this day.
I have to admit as well that I do not want to change out of jeans and the corduroy shirt that hangs comfortably outside them.
It is the sixth Mother’s Day that I have not needed to mail a card early enough to ensure its timely delivery to a house in New Orleans. I can walk into a Whole Foods today and not be sabotaged by the potted hydrangeas.
Were I looking for a place for spiritual strolling, I might visit a priests’ cemetery in a town nearby. The place is a familiar one, located on the grounds of a retreat house I know well. Men like these were actually a kind of mother to me at times in my life, sitting at a kitchen table with me over a cup of retreat house coffee, agreeing to meet me after class with a ready word of advice, writing me a note of encouragement when my life was taking turns I had not expected.
No sons or daughters ever needed to remember them on Mother’s Day. So maybe I will. Whatever their lives felt like to them through the years, whatever regrets or satisfactions their own aging brought them, I can pay attention to them as I walk up and down the cemetery pathways.
Do they walk calmly now somewhere?
Are there spaces of freedom through which their arms move at times, in something like a dance?
Do their necks (uncollared now) turn easily to left, to right, their faces raised up to an air that is friendly and kind?
I hope so.