Friday, May 08, 2009
The Lady Who Disliked Mother's Day
Here's an interesting article about Mother's Day from my friend, Ron McClung, Assistant General Secretary for the Wesleyan Church:
Anna disliked Mother's Day. Can you imagine anyone feeling negative toward that special day?
Actually, I have known people who were uncomfortable with Mother’s Day. Some have had mothers who mistreated, abused, or neglected them. Others are uncomfortable because they have been unable to have children themselves and Mother's Day reminds them of this disappointment.
Still others have lost children, either through miscarriage or other untimely deaths, and Mother's Day opens a fresh wound, stimulating the pain all over again. Some have borne children, but gave them up for adoption or lost their children through some other means. Mother's Day becomes a negative reminder for such people.
But none of these were reasons why Anna disliked Mother's Day. She didn't like it because it was so commercialized. She watched people sending greeting cards to their mothers and said, "A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world."
She had similar bitter words for those who gave sweets. "And candy!" she spat. "You take a box to Mother – and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!"
She and her sister felt so strongly opposed to Mother's Day that they campaigned against it. On one occasion she was arrested for disturbing the peace. Further, the sisters spent their entire family inheritance fighting Mother's Day and died in poverty.
Anna never married and had no children herself.
It's a shame when you realize what a wonderful mother she had. She was the ninth of eleven children and her mother was devoted to Anna and her siblings.
But don’t let Anna's bitterness discourage you. Mother's Day is an opportunity for you to do what the Bible says, "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12 NIV).
Oh, did I tell you the ironic thing about Anna? She is the woman who almost single-handedly brought Mother's Day into existence. Two years after her mother's death in 1907, she campaigned to make Mother's Day a national holiday. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it such in 1914.
Just because Anna Marie Jarvis, the woman who started Mother's Day, lost her enthusiasm, it doesn't mean you should. Honor your mother in person if you can, long-distance if you must. Even if she is deceased, you can honor her memory.