A Gentile mother’s faith.

Jesus traveled to the area of Tyre and Sidon. A woman who wasn’t Jewish approached him and kept crying out to him “Have mercy on me Lord, son of David! My daughter is tormented by an unclean spirit.” Jesus didn’t reply to her, but his disciples approached him and asked him to make her go away because she kept following them and yelling for help. Jesus said “I am called to help only the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But the woman came and knelt before him begging him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said “Let the children have their fill first, because it isn’t right to take their bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she replied “Yes, but even the dogs under the table eat the crumbs that fall.” Jesus answered “Your faith is great, woman. Because of how you answered you will receive what you have asked for.”

Her daughter was free of the demon that very hour.

MT 15:21-28, MK 7:24-30

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Memory Postcard 2 – My Mom and me.

Mom and me

I decided to make another memory postcard, but this time with a picture of my Mom and me. I find it interesting that in both of these memory postcards my face is hidden, and water is involved. In the one with my grandmother, my hair is wet because I’ve been swimming in the pool at the Holiday Inn. In this one, I’m totally wet because I’d been swimming in the ocean.

More like near-drowning instead of swimming. I wasn’t a very good swimmer. I’m not a great one now, but I know enough to swim only in pools with lifeguards nearby.

This picture really tugs at my heart. It is really hard for me to look at, because of the look of love in my Mom’s face. I can tell that all of her being is locked right into me in this moment. It has been twenty years and I still miss her.

I felt like I had a great childhood. Some anomalies are rising up, though, that let me know it wasn’t that wonderful. I obscured a lot. I forgot a lot. I also didn’t know what I was missing.

What I was missing was some education. My Mom didn’t teach me how to take care of myself. Gardening, cooking, keeping house, sewing, – she did it all and kept it to herself. I don’t know why. Some of it might have been her attitude of “It is easier to do it myself”. I have some of that attitude. I need to work on it.

I’ve started to talk with my Mom and make peace with her while I bake. I bake banana bread every week as part of our breakfast. We connect this way. It is our time together. In a way, I’m teaching her what I needed to know. I’m becoming the Mom to my Mom, while re-parenting myself.

I mounted it on art paper that was made using dried flowers. I’ve had this paper for at least ten years. This is the first time I’ve used it.

Here’s a shot of the stamps.
mom2

I used a lot of stamps because I feel like it is a long way between her and me, and it needs a lot of postage. I put the one with the Queen first, because Mom was English. I like this one especially, because the building looks like it is Mont-St.-Michel, which is the original of St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. I visited there when I took Mom’s ashes to scatter. She couldn’t decide if she wanted her ashes in the backyard in her garden or in England. Cremation is easy. You can do both.

I’ve since moved, so I can’t visit or tend her garden. I have only visited England that one time.

I put a rose stamp because her ashes are mixed with the ashes of her parents and grandparents in a rose garden in Manchester. I put a morning glory stamp because it is beautiful and temporary, and they grow wild in my yard. This links there and here, where I am. This also reminds me to appreciate beauty wherever I may find it, and right then, because it won’t last long.

Here’s a close-up of the two of us together.

Mom3

Such a shining smile she was giving me. I probably didn’t see it at the time. I was probably freaked out by the ocean. There are way too many experiences with me, my Mom, and uncontrolled water in my life.

Top left corner –
Mom6

“A fond memory will soon lead to a renewed old friendship.” – I’m learning how to see my Mom as a friend and a guide. I’m learning, slowly, how to forgive her.

Lower left corner.
Mom4

“Rely on long time friends to give you advice this coming week.” She advises me, now.

Lower right corner.
Mom5

“Now is a good time to call a loved one at a distance from you.” You can’t get any further away than where she is, yet she is as close as my thoughts. I have to remind myself to keep the connection open.

“A friend will soon reveal an exciting secret to you!” – I felt like this was relevant. Perhaps prophetic?

Mother Mary

There was a massive stature of Mary sitting in a throne holding baby Jesus at the convent I was at this weekend on retreat. When I say massive, I mean life-size. Their eyes were human-looking. Perhaps they were prosthetic. They looked real. Both Mary and Jesus looked a little sad though. They were right in the front, facing the door as you enter. You had to pass by them to get to the chapel or the dining room. There was a triangle tile area in front of them too, which set off that area even more. The rest of the area was carpet.

I spent a lot of years in a medieval reenactment group, so seeing this human-looking statue that looks like royalty kind of messed with my head. She’s in a throne. She’s wearing a crown. She looks real. Do I bow? Do I at least pause? How close can I walk to her? She was kind of in the way. There was no easy way to get around her. To just walk by like she wasn’t there felt a little rude. So I at least paused.

Here’s what you see when you come in, showing the statue and the tile area.
Mary 3

Here’s a little closer.
Mary 2

Here’s her sad face.
Mary 1

I was fascinated by her, and a little creeped out. Mid-way through the retreat I had run out of things to write and I was getting a little bored. I’d thought earlier about drawing her. But drawing her meant getting in the way. The best way for me to draw her was to sit in front of her, at the tip of the tile triangle. And that meant that I’d be sitting in the middle of everything.

I’d be obvious. I’d be in the way. People would have to go around me. They would know what I was doing.

Would this annoy the nuns? Would they be upset with me? They might get annoyed that I was in the way. They might get annoyed that I was drawing their statue of Mary and Jesus.

I thought about it some more. It was the middle of the day. Most of them spent their time in their rooms. It wasn’t supper time or chapel time, so there was a good chance that I’d have the hall to myself. And if they didn’t like me doing it they could tell me to move.

I’m working on this part of my internal dialogue. I’m trying to be mindful of other’s feelings, but also mindful of my needs. I’m trying to not let imagined censorship make me stop doing something. All too often I make up what people say before I even start something, and I assume they are going to say no so I never start. I’m pushing past that and finding out that they rarely say no.

Turns out, while I was drawing, the nuns smiled at me. A fellow retreat member admired my work. Sure, I was in the middle of the hall, but I wasn’t completely in the way, and I wasn’t there long. So I kept drawing.

Here’s the picture of what I drew. My paper isn’t big – maybe 4 inches by 6. I didn’t have space for faces.
Mary 4

I used watercolor pencils, but I’ve not added the water yet. This looks like regular colored pencil this way.

After I drew it, I sat there for a bit, and I talked quietly to Mary. “Should I draw your face? You look so sad.” And she answered. She told me to draw her the way a child would draw her Mom, if her Mom wasn’t around. She told me to not look at the stature of her, but see the image of her face in my heart. Imagine if you are in school and the teacher tells you to draw your Mom. You have to draw her from memory. But in this case, I’m drawing not my Mom, but Jesus’ Mom, but by extension, sort of my adopted Mom. It is hard to explain. Sometimes I realize that I didn’t get comforted by my Mom in the way I needed, and I’m realizing that Mary is there to comfort me. It is very soothing.

So I drew. I drew her the way I see her looking at me. She doesn’t look like any images of Mary I’ve ever seen before, but she does look beautiful and kind. And that is what I needed to see.
Mary 5

She said “My child, I am giving birth to you too.” She is nurturing me like my mother couldn’t. I sat there, in tears, drawing her, washed by her love and compassion. Her arms are wide enough for me too.