How do our mothers — biological, adopted and encountered — shape how we make sense of the world?
My mother taught me that God is love. Other mothers reinforced this truth throughout my childhood in church. I strive to follow the path they laid before me, even as the path leaves the church.
I cannot escape the theological reality that God is love. The truth forms me, challenges me and inspires me to look for love in everyone and everywhere, for God is there.
“My mothers teach me this: love doesn’t make me comfortable, but it makes me better.”
This is how I make meaning. This is how I discern, which means to sift information, experience and observations to come to some sort of judgment about what is right and wrong, what is good and harmful, what is excellent and unsatisfactory — a coming-to-understanding that is always underway because love keeps inviting me to go beyond the certainty of my conclusions.
This way of love is the gift and burden of mothers: women who give birth to life in people, communities and systems; women who give birth to life out of death and the death-dealing and death-denying ways of the dominant culture, including the church.
So love ushers me to the stranger. Love leads me to the street, the world, always outside my tight circle of safety and familiarity.
My mothers teach me this: love doesn’t make me comfortable, but it makes me better.