By Rev SEIK PITOI
WE’RE back to that very special day on our calendar again – Mothers’ Day! On this day, we will honour those special women in our lives without whom we would not be alive today.
If there is one thing that unites every human being, it is the fact that no one would be alive on earth without first being born. And despite what some people are trying hard to change, that act of giving birth can only be carried out by a woman!
In parts of our Melanesian society, women, especially mothers, are not always appreciated. I remember recently standing in shock as I watched a drunken young man from the highlands threaten and abuse his old mother at the Rainbow Stop n Shop market. The elderly lady, a vendor at the market, was threatened and sworn at by the young man who used the most vulgar words I have heard.
Strangely, the security guards stood aside and just listened. At one stage, when the boy got aggressive, the old lady picked up a knife and threatened to cut him if he came near her. Just then, he turned and kicked a taxi parked nearby and ended up wrestling with the driver, finally leaving the poor mum alone.
Where did he learn that from? Is that the norm in his village or society? Is that how one should address the one who cared for you since you lay helplessly in her arms as a babe?
The modern practice of celebrating Mother’s day began in the early 20th century at the initiative of Anne Reeves Jarvis. The day was set apart to honour mothers, as well as to celebrate motherhood as a whole.
There are many expressions of this in different societies around the world, and different days have been set apart. Some in PNG celebrated on the first Sunday of May (last Sunday, May), while the rest will be on the second Sunday (this Sunday, May 12).
On this special day, mums are supposed to take it easy, take a break from their usual daily schedule of getting up early and preparing breakfast, cleaning the house after dad and the kids, and other lovely things. On this day, she should have breakfast in bed, have dad and the kids take her out for lunch at a nice restaurant, and maybe take her to the cinema to watch a movie afterwards. Then, finish off the day with a sumptuous dinner cooked and served for her by her family!
One day of being treated like a queen out of 365 days! I suppose that would be a good start in appreciating our mothers.
Churches all over the country will no doubt honour mothers. Special prayers will be offered for mothers in our churches and nation. However, it would be good this Sunday to think of mothers in other countries, especially war-torn countries. When death occurs due to war, terrorism and criminal activities, it is the mother who is distraught at the loss of her child.
Regardless of which side of the divide one comes from, the loss of the life she carried and bore will always be painful.
One photograph that sickens me is that of an Arab Moslem woman cheering jubilantly at the death of her son – a suicide bomber who managed to kill himself and some innocent Jews. She celebrated with other Arabs because her son had honoured her by killing Jews. She was paid off handsomely by the authorities for her ‘sacrifice’! Sickening version of motherhood!
But another photo touches my heart. This is of another Palestinian Moslem mother weeping for her son who was killed in anger by a group of Jewish youths outraged at an act of terrorism which saw innocent Jews murdered. The young Arab Israeli boy was their victim. Besides that is another photo of an Israeli Jewish mother mourning for her son, a victim of the earlier attack. Both mothers, a Jew and an Arab, are seen weeping for their sons. Such is the plight of mothers in those countries. Such is the sad result of terrorism.
In thinking of mothers for this article, I began to consider one particular mother and the bond that she had with her eldest son. Her boy was found guilty of a crime which he did not actually commit. In fact, a sentence was passed on him to be executed. This broke the mother’s heart, as it would any mother in that situation. Through the trial, she followed the events, hoping that in some way her son might be set free or have his conviction quashed. But that was not to be.
At the execution site, she wept uncontrollably, having to see the child she carried for nine months, gave birth to and nurtured over the years, being put to death in this inhuman and painful manner.
Meanwhile, her son too was in anguish. He was concerned for his old mother. Who would take care of her? Obviously his father had passed away some years ago and he was concerned at how his old mother would fare after his death. Seeing his best friend standing near his weeping mother, he called out, “Mother, there is your son! Then he said to the disciple, there is your mother! And from that hour the disciple took her to his house” (John 19: 26-27). That loving thoughtful act of concern by the Saviour for His old mother should be an example for every one of us towards our mothers.
For those who still have your mothers with you, treat them well. Honour them; pamper them, and take care of their needs while they are still alive.
Not only on Mother’s Day but every day. They may not be perfect, may not be well educated, and not always agree with you in everything. But, she is your mother. You are advised by God’s word to honour her (Exodus 20:12) and show her respect. And as you do, be assured of the Lord’s blessings upon you.
To all the mothers across the land, have a blessed and Happy Mother’s Day!
• Rev Seik Pitoi is a freelance writer.