Lessons From My Mother

I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be a musician.  I have always enjoyed the art of making music.  As a kid, my sister and I would put on variety shows and take turns singing.  (Yes, I was a great big nerd).  As I grew up, so did my need to express my love for music.  I enjoyed the more complex and challenging traditions of classical music.  Through it all my love became deeper and deeper.  I do not sing because it is simply fun.  I sing because I have to.

I was born into a family that was predominantly made up of eager sports enthusiasts.  My mother and I would have horrible disagreements because of my love for music.  She did not understand this love that I had and to which I was so attached.  Some of her statements were cruel and left me hurt and terribly disappointed.  I felt as if who I was would never be good enough for her.  I was the odd man out.
When I was twenty I finally told my mother that I loved her and that I could not major in anything else other than music in college.  We had one of the most emotionally brutal arguments that we had ever had.  We did not talk to each other for almost an entire month.  This was a difficult time, because I lived in her house.  In my mind she had crossed the line and I could not continue by attempting to do anything else with my life.  To not have music as the centerpiece of who I am was unthinkable.
After the fighting and the month of a stalemate, she asked me to sit with her and talk.  I prepared myself for battle, but I was not prepared for the conversation that we had.  She apologized to me and told me that all she wanted was for me to be happy.  She knew that I was capable of becoming whatever I wanted to be and if that included music, then she would support me.  
My jaw dropped.  I did not know what to do.  Here was this very strong woman apologizing to me.  I felt like telling her that it was okay, but I simply accepted her apology.  After our conversation, she became my biggest supporter.  Through this time of conflict, my mother taught me one of the greatest lessons that I ever learned in my life.
As a very young adult my mother taught me how to apologize.  It was okay to make a mistake and acknowledge the error of my ways.  It was alright to be honest in the middle of moments that are not considered one’s best.  I learned that in the middle of anger and resentment relationships can be restored.  I also learned that once someone offers reconciliation it is important to listen to their heart.  Most of the time, in my mother’s case, she wanted what was best for me.
Our mothers teach us not just about life, but how to live life.  Sometimes we find lessons in how someone acts or reacts to an event.  We often learn when actions and/or reactions are negative and sometimes leave us wounded.  Forgiveness becomes more than just a word, it becomes an action.  While we seek forgiveness we also speak truths which often empower the wounded soul.
As I continue to raise my children, I remember this incredible lesson on forgiveness.  I use it frequently.  I search for the truth in my responses and ask for an apology where it is needed.  I hope my children learn this lesson.  I want my family to know that forgiveness is about ownership of any misdeed done and then allowing the truth to come forward as reconciliation and hope are restored.  For this big lesson, I thank my mom for showing me how to truly seek peace.

Published by joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Belen in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.

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