There is a classic children’s story by P.D. Eastman, Are you My Mother? It has been a favorite of not only young children but also of parents, grandparents and great grandparents for over 50 years. Just ask any pre-schooler – most likely many know it by heart!
It is about a mother bird sensing the imminent hatching of her baby who goes off to get some food – a worm, of course. The baby hatches and immediately cries out, “Where is my mother?” Looking confused, but determined the baby sets off to “look for my mother”. Not being able to fly, the baby jumps from the nest and makes a crash landing. Not recognizing the mother, baby bird walks by as mother is busily tugging at a worm. In baby’s search for “mother” baby bird meets a kitten, a hen, a dog and a cow. Longingly baby asks, “Are you my mother?” “I am not your mother” is the repeated response. Not to be discouraged, baby bird continues on, finding a rusted out car, a tug boat, an airplane and finally a steam shovel, Snort. With each encounter baby is sure that she has found mother, but on consideration knows that the car, the boat, the plane are not mother. Baby runs up to the Snort shouting with joy, “Mother, Mother, here I am, Mother.” Sadly baby bird knows that Snort is not her mother. Ever so gently the Snort picks up baby bird and puts baby back into the nest. Confused and desperate baby wails, “Where am I? I want to go home! I want my mother”. Concerned Mother carrying a worm in her beak flies to her baby. “Do you know who I am?” she asks.
I am a child of God, made in the image and likeness of God. I reflect the masculine and the feminine of God. Like this little bird I instinctively know who I belong to. I belong to the source of peace, joy, comfort, strength and oneness. I belong to the one who loves me and cares for me. My life long journey is in search of the One who not only feeds me, but the one who looks like me. I am the homeless woman, the gang member, the old, feeble widow, the orphan child, the imprisoned man, the gay young man, the middle aged lesbian, the one dying alone. I live in search for the One who feeds me and the One who looks like me.
The Good News is that just like the little bird, I encounter all manner of idols, distractions and temptations, but my heart flutters when My true Mother is near.
“I call to you all day long…” (Psalm 85 :3)
Dedicated to the women and men of the Servite Community who for centuries have been the recognizable ‘Face’ for so many of us.
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