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The spiritual gifts of motherhood

I am well-schooled in the academic sense, but my true teachers in life have not been books or professors. My true teachers have been two wide-eyed children, now two young men, one twenty-five-years-old, the other twenty-one. Since they were born, I have (had to) learn, re-learn, (practice, practice, practice), and finally, MASTER the exquisitely painful virtues of patience, endurance, humility, flexibility and honorable surrender. Like expert martial artists, they knew instinctively in their innocence how and when to enter my weakness, ride with it, and flip me effortlessly over until I could see who I really was.

Like all children, my boys have pushed me to the far horizon of my ego until I was forced to release my Idea of Them, and instead, set sail on—their oceans, their journeys, their dreams, their personal and profoundly sacred realities. God would tell me who they were; I would not tell God. Because of my boys, I have learned (and am still learning) to take sides with the Truth against myself. I have learned to lay down generations of fixed ideas and false belief systems in favor of a dynamic stream of constantly unfolding Truth.

I don’t know how I would ever have learned these things without my boys, my teachers. I would most likely not have learned. At least not much. Many of these lessons were excruciatingly unpleasant, involving devastating illness, outright heartbreak, and the shattering of even the most ordinary parental expectations. Without these magnificent boys to worry about and return to, I would have (at least tried) to dodge every lesson. I would have played hooky, believe me. I would have gladly dropped out. At what price the degree? But they have taught me, and keep teaching me, to stick it out until I learn…to release. Release. And release again.

What I have learned from Motherhood is that every genuine spiritual gift is acquired by letting go. By raising open palms, not clenched fists. Motherhood, like the act of birth itself, is a bloody thing. But when done well, it is in the end, also a time-stopping miracle that renders from its belly, not only a child, but a mother. A mother who, through trial, is transformed into a fearless winged creature belonging more to heaven than to earth. What a gift!

And I have only my boys to thank.

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