We just turned off the engine in the parking lot at Montauk as another car pulled in next to us. Before I even noticed the couple getting out, I noticed the bumper sticker on the back. It was of Medjugore. I immediately approached the woman and asked “Have you been?” nodding towards the bumper. “Oh yes”, she replied, “the first time in 1990”. We spoke for a moment and then I said, “I understand it changes people’s lives.” “Yes, she said, “the first time I went, I wasn’t even a Catholic”. Wow! I explained that I belonged to a weekly Rosary group and that I was very devoted to the Blessed Mother. Her response was, “Actually, she’s devoted to you”. I have to agree. The more I think about it, the more true I realize that really is. I am so human with my ups and downs, emotions and moods ricocheting off the walls, sometimes I’m so close I feel like I could touch heaven and other times it feels as though there is a deep chasm between us I that only I put there. But as you know, any relationship is all about staying in touch.
When my mom was alive I would call her on the phone every day. Even when we lived together, I would check in from work to see how her day was going or to tell her something about mine. Sometimes I’d call twice a day, just to hear her voice. To be honest, we sometimes had our disagreements, those days I didn’t call. But wherever I worked I usually made time for a five minute phone call. There is no one like a mother to hear your voice and immediately know what you’re going through. She’s your biggest cheerleader, who takes joy in your success and holds you when your heart is broken. Oh I’m not saying that your friends and family don’t share in your life, but when you have a loving mom, no matter how flawed she might be, there’s nothing like it. She can pick you up and raise your spirits, make you laugh when you need a lift and even give you the courage you need to face difficulties of your own making.
In my early twenties I had a memorable phone call with my mom. This was before we all had cell phones. I called her from a payphone on my lunch hour with the sure certainty that I was going to be fired by a very tough boss. When I spoke to mom, I just wanted to run home and avoid everything. I had made a serious mistake in the accounting department and this supervisor had no patience, I felt it in the air, I was doomed. So of course, I called my mother. Well, she dropped everything she was doing and spent twenty minutes just talking to me, reminding me that mistakes happen, and that while I may end up losing the job, I was still a good person, listing my talents and all the people who loved me. She gave me the courage to go in and face the music, something I wasn’t very good at when I was younger. With my mother words ringing in my ears I stepped in to my supervisor’s office. Mom’s love and encouragement gave me the strength to deal with a very difficult situation. That was over twenty five years ago, but I remember it like yesterday. My boss and I ended up coming to a mutual agreement that the job wasn’t right for me, but I learned a valuable lesson that day; it’s more important to “man up” and face the consequences than to run away. At least when you do you have your integrity and that when you’re loved and can feel that love you can face anything because you’re not alone.
My mom was a great mom, she wasn’t perfect, but I had a terrific childhood and I always knew that I was loved. My brother, Kevin and I have come to the conclusion that one of the worst things about your mom dying is that you can’t call her when something great happens or when something bad happens. In the early years we even reached for the phone and then carefully replaced the receiver again. We call one another with our news now and are lucky to have each other, but it’s not the same. Mom is gone 18 years this year and I still miss her.
A friend of mine’s son just shipped out for Afghanistan, I met her in town the other day and looked into her eyes. She talked about Scott and hearing his voice on the phone, knowing he’s frightened and in danger and for the first time, there is nothing she can do. She thought she wouldn’t be able to talk to him anymore when he calls, it would be too painful, but you and I know that she will, she’ll do whatever she can to support him, because that’s what mom’s do. Listening to her pain, he mother in me had trouble holding back the tears; as mom’s we suffer together and feel deeply one another’s sorrow.
I think that my relationship with Mary is very similar to my relationship with my earthly mom. When I don’t check in with her, or speak with her on a regular basis, I feel distant and alone. When I pray as though she were here beside me and tell her my joys and my worries and my cares I feel closer. When I pray the rosary every day, she gives me peace and courage, just like my mom did so many years ago. A friend once suggested I hold Mary’s hands in mine when I pray the Rosary, it’s amazing, I close my eyes and feel her presence and my hands hold on tightly and sometimes it feels as though my hands are clasped within hers. She holds me under her mantle no matter what I do. What that woman at the beach said is so true. She’s the constant, I’m the variable. The Virgin Mother is devoted to me, devoted to all. When God chose her to be the mother of Jesus, he chose her for each one of us, she is our gift. As with anything else, it’s up to us to reach out and accept the gift.
Mary is always there waiting for me, calling to me, loving me, praying for me. I was blessed with a wonderful mother who raised me well and taught me to love the Mother of God and to look to her as my true mother. She’s always been there for me, even as a child. She cares for me with devotion just like my own Kate O’Shea cared for me so very long ago. How blessed am I, the examples of motherhood I was given help me to love my own children and give them wings. And I will offer them all the encouragement and commitment I was given and continue to teach them that the Blessed Mother is always there to help, to soothe their fears. She waits for their glances to lead them safely through this mysterious, sometimes scary maze called life and then, eventually, securely home to her son.
****************************PRAY THE ROSARY*************************
Please moms, keep Scott Brewer a member of the U.S. Marines serving in Afghanistan in your thoughts and prayers.
Copyright 2010 Maureen O’Shea