The diveristy of opinions that my previous post on Mothers Day generated has led me to spend a lot of time this week pondering the following question: If I had to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting on Mothers Day, what exactly would I say?
This morning, I finally figured it out.
I was thinking about a time awhile back when a single, middle-aged sister was giving a lesson in Relief Society about Eternal Marriage. As she got up to speak, I groaned inwardly for her. She started out by saying that she was there to talk about the ideal. She didn’t meet the ideal. And neither did anyone else in the room. Even if a sister were temple married with perky children, etc., she wasn’t perfect. We are all working toward the same ideal, and no one is there yet.
What a stunning observation. The rest of her lesson focused on how to get ourselves closer to the ideal, regardless of where we currently were.
So, back to my hypothetical talk, I would basically crib her concept that none of us meets the ideal. I would begin by acknowledging the pain that I know Mothers Day causes women who are in obviously non-ideal situations, and that I always think about being willing to bear one another’s burden and mourning with those who mourn, and how often we do the opposite to childless women on Mothers Day as we remind them of their burdens and give them cause to mourn.
But I would also point out that mothers often don’t like Mothers Day: partially out of awareness of the pain it causes others, but also because of awareness that they don’t meet the ideal paraded out every year for this happy occasion. Take the standard praise used to describe a woman’s housekeeping prowess and compare that with my reality: you could eat off of my floors, but it would almost certainly kill you within minutes.
OK. So everyone feels miserable, because no one meets the ideal. The solution? Jesus Christ. We already knew that. But we go to sacrament meeting to be reminded of the fact that the atonement bridges the gap between our reality and the ideal. And that would be the focus of my talk.