Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

So yesterday was Mother's Day.  It hit me fairly hard - harder than I expected.  Really not surprising but hard and I didn't predict it.  So not surprising since my primary grief has been around the person who was my mother not being in the world (umbilical cord breaking etc etc). 

However, in many ways at least on surface that's not what hit me most.  What hit me most was spending the whole weekend with my community of faith and not one person mentioning it or acknowledging it.  In stark contrast I had a phone call from someone I used to work with (who has been lovely through it all) while I was at our final time of our weekend away at 1.30pm yesterday - just ringing to see how I was doing.  It was lovely but did mean the contrast was in my face. I had a few messages indicating it through the day - that was lovely.  

But no-one I spent the weekend with acknowledged it.  Now it did lead to me leaving the bbq and going to a private spot and having a moment with God in tears and felt met amazingly - it was good.  But that doesn't take away the pain of no acknowledgement by people in my day to day local faith community (there was acknowledgement from my wider/potentially closer in many ways faith community - non Solace people).

The lovely thing is that I haven't for a moment questioned anyone's care - there is no question in me that people care.  What I'm sad and hurt by is the lack of expression of that care yesterday.  And more than that it's made me ask questions about how we foster that kind of care in faith communities.  And what stops it from being expressed.  For us as Solace I think the biggest thing is just how stretched we are with our own lives and have very little room for things beyond that - particularly things that take brain or emotional space; we are poor in those areas, as well as time.  I think another is lack of knowledge of whether it's best to ask or not - I've certainly come to the conclusion that acknowledgement is better than non acknowledgement.  It is possible that some people thought of it but didn't know whether to say something or not.  Another question for me is whether people are less likely to ask about or acknowledge such things because I'm a leader in the community - as I've thought about it, I've decided that to whatever extent that is true, it's neutralised by the fact that more people know more and have closer relationships because I'm a leader.  Yet another thing I'm conscious of is the good old someone else will do it. (thankfully they did - just not anyone there over the weekend and on the day not anyone connected with Solace)  Another issue I'm conscious of is the fact that I am quite good at these things so therefore expect more of others.

But past the sadness and hurt, my main question is what does it mean to foster care and thoughtfulness in the midst of faith community?  As I talked it over with someone tonight I was conscious of the need for prompts for people to put things forward in some way because people just aren't going to know/remember things well given our lives - we will probably act on that in some way at 5pm ... in fact the conversation produced a great suggestion about a prayer box/board that local people can request prayer for stuff.  I'm loving where the conversation and thoughts are taking me and the few who I've talked to.  That is the main reason for this post.

(Solace people who are reading this - I hesitated before writing this but wanted to share the journey.  I am sad and hurt by the weekend/Sunday's experience in this regard - although in general had a great weekend including some things on Sunday.  Please do hear my statement above about having no question of care - that's a HUGE affirmation of who we are and the care I know you have for me.  But the question I'd have for us, myself so included, is how to mimimise the times when this kind of hurt and disappointment occurs - and I'm wanting to be more proactive than ever about that given my experience on the weekend.  Please do speak to me about it as the last thing I want to help along is guilt over this situation - although I am most happy to prompt each of us to question what we can do within our resources and how we facilitate being able to be people we want to be)



anj said...

I thought of you yesterday. I wish I would have sent you an e-mail. I probably made the assumption you would be 'okay'. Of course you would be, but how irrelevant to caring. I am so glad you wrote this, and I pray it leads to good discussion and not shame on anyone's part. I do love how you choose to live in the Light.

Barb said...

Thanks Anj ... yeah it's funny hey - you are so right being "okay" is not the same as knowing people care ... In the way he does, the fact that people hadn't shown care actually took me to God in a way that I wouldn't have gone if they had and for that I'm thankful but all the same I'm sad by the lack of showing of care.

I appreciate your thoughts - and your comment - thanks; you are so in my thoughts these weeks.

Anonymous said...

Barb, I'm so glad you wrote this - being real is a big part(I hope) of what Solace is all about. I am so sorry for my own lack of acknowledgment of how you must have been feeling, and thank you so much for the grace and forebearence you have shown for our human-ness. It's a reminder that life is about so much more than I have in my forefront. For me it was not anything to do with thinking that you would be OK, or actually thinking anything, just plain dumb old lack of thought. I'm feeling so sorry for that, and that you had to do process what the day was to you on your own in so many ways.
I was looking around on Sunday with other eyes - seeing other people for whom Mother's Day is also painful, particularly the many women who I was staying with who were doing the mother thing on their own, without support from a partner.
All this is a reminder for me not to take things for granted.
Wish I could turn back the clock and do that one better.
- Kate W

Barb said...

Thanks Kate ... I was also conscious of others around - I was particularly conscious of the several people there and not whose mothers are not at their most healthiest and the wierdness that such a day must be for them.