By BILL DUNCAN
The View From Here
There will be all kinds of tributes to mothers come this Sunday as America celebrates a unique holiday, Mother’s Day. One of the most unusual ones I found recently was in a photo meditation by a Maryknoll priest, Rev. Joseph R. Veneroso in the May/June Maryknoll magazine.
The photo meditation, if my catechism serves me right, is based on the commandment to honor your mother and father. Well, fathers aren’t all that important anyway and its not their holiday this Sunday. Perhaps I will save this copy of the magazine and in June, I may tell you what the Rev. Veneroso said about fathers.
But for Mother’s Day this Sunday, I would like to share Rev. Veneroso’s tribute to Mothers. I may be violating all kinds of copyright laws, but I think the Rev. Veneroso’s purpose was to spread the word, not hide it under a bushel basket, so I am going to quote the entire meditation:
"And what of her whose heart for nine months beat in sync with mine?
Whose love I felt before she ever held me in her arms?
Who, given the choice, still chose to give me life?
Who loved me enough to let me go?
Songs she sang to me as a child return to comfort me during difficult times.
As if she somehow knew I’d need them during distant lonely days.
Mind reader, life coach and my chief cheerleader.
Who believed in me beyond embarrassment.
One hurt glance from here was often enough to get me to reconsider my ways, not that I always did.
Sure, she played the guilt card to the hilt.
Reminding me at every turn the extent of her sacrifice.
While outwardly rebellious I inwardly relished the bond and proudly boast:
Yup, that’s my mom."
It is said of mothers: "A mother carries the child in her womb for nine months and in her heart for the rest of her life."
I was particularly moved by two lines in Rev. Veneroso’s mediation because they spoke so clearly of my own saintly, Presbyterian mother:
"Songs she sang to me as a child return to comfort me during difficult times.
As if she somehow knew I’d need them during distant lonely days."
Thirty years ago I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, the worst kind, malignant melanoma. A doctor told me at the most, I would have six months. The veteran’s hospital in Roseburg confirmed the local hospital’s diagnosis and sent me to Portland VA for additional test. I was being prepped for highly experimental surgery at the Veteran’s Hospital in Portland, Ore., a 12 hour ordeal that would require two sterile surgical bays to insure the cancer did not spread under the knife.
I had been told I was number 15 in the nation to undergo this type of surgery and there was less than a 30 percent survival rate.
I had sworn my family to secrecy because I did not want to worry my mother. I went into that surgery believing she was unaware.
Yet as I was about to be wheeled into the surgical bay the only prayer that I could remember– from the hundreds in my memory bank — was the one my mother taught me and I could hear her voice coaching me with the words…"Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I awake. I pray the Lord my soul to take."
Yup, that’s my mom and I will always believe she was standing next to the gurney when I was wheeled into the surgical bay with my life on the line. Mothers possess that supernatural power.
Happy Mothers Day one and all because I think you are all very special.
(Bill Duncan can be reached by writing to P.O. Box 812, Roseburg, OR 97470)