SONGS for VETERANS DAY (patriotic & critiques, plus songs from different veteran and veterans’ family experiences):
- Paradise by Craig Morgan (country): https://youtu.be/f8tn020YucU
- Just Came Home by Darryl Worley (country): https://youtu.be/KwpO8Q1u4Ss
- Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen (rock): https://youtu.be/EPhWR4d3FJQ
- America by Neil Diamond (rock/pop): https://youtu.be/wTSLRbm8L9E
- Dear Uncle Sam by Loretta Lynn (countrry): https://youtu.be/ZwOhZufXYso
- Letters from Home by John Michael Montgomery (country): https://youtu.be/FIG9C3n-SPc
- Live Like a Warrior by Matisyahu (Jewish pop/rap): https://youtu.be/p53pDNodxHE
- Made in America by Kanye West, Jay-Z & Frank Ocean (rap): https://youtu.be/HWaboD46fTg
- God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood (country): https://youtu.be/-KoXt9pZLGM
- American Soldier by Toby Keith (country): https://youtu.be/DWrMeBR8W-c
- Soldier by Michael Dion (pop + /civil rights sampling): https://youtu.be/wcfYMLCW_b0
- Living in America by James Brown (rock): https://youtu.be/c5BL4RNFr58
- America by Simon & Garfunkel (folk): https://youtu.be/Eo2ZsAOlvEM
- Ragged Od Flag by Johnny Cash (country): https://youtu.be/XfzJ8UBr-c0
- Pink Houses by John Mellencamp (country): https://youtu.be/qOfkpu6749w
- ‘Merican by Descendants (punk rock): https://youtu.be/WLkRxVYdUko
- Still a Soldier by Trace Adkins (country): https://youtu.be/2WA10dETkF8
- Blowin in the Wind by Bob Dylan (folk rock): https://youtu.be/MMFj8uDubsE
- Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix (rock version): https://youtu.be/sjzZh6-h9fM
- I Still Believe by Tussing Elementary (childrens song): https://youtu.be/c8mAfn5iDjI
- On Veterans Day by Karl Hitzemann (childrens song): https://youtu.be/sit5ljSVD6k
- American by Lana Del Rey (country): https://youtu.be/D7agM5nWJJI
Excerpt from Second Inaugural Address — Abraham Lincoln
… public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation … Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully … With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Justice for Veterans and the Vulnerable: A Veterans Day Reflection (excerpt) — Bruce Epperly
… Instituted in gratitude for victory in World War I, Woodrow Wilson made the following affirmation regarding Armistice Day, the precursor to Veterans Day: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
While such words can be seen as platitudes, they remind us that “peace” and “justice” should be the goal of all national policies. They also remind us, in a time of growing individualism and me-first politics and economics, that national health depends on sacrifice — not just in times of war, but in our civic responsibility, human rights, and tax paying. Ironically, some of the people who most vigorously wave our flag are the most self-interested when it comes to our nation’s responsibility to support its most vulnerable citizens.
Veterans Day is about gratitude and stewardship. On Veterans Day, we proclaim our gratitude to those whose service in the military has secured our freedoms through the years. Whether or not we approve of our nation’s foreign policy, we need to support the everyday people — mostly working class, often minority — who fight our nation’s wars. We need to say “thank you.” But our thanksgiving should lead to action, both in support of the well-being of veterans, especially those who have been injured or traumatized by war, and in our own commitment to the common good and our nation’s care for its most vulnerable citizens, those for whom our soldiers sacrifice.
It is easy, as the prophets and Jesus both noted, to speak of sacrifice, without making the commitment to sacrifice for the well-being of our neighbors. When Veterans Day is understood in the spirit of the biblical tradition, it reminds us that there is no such thing as rugged individualism or absolute property rights; everything is a gift from God to be used for the well-being of others as well as our own kin. Sacrifice is not just the responsibility of veterans; it is required of all who would follow the way of Jesus. In the spirit of Wilson’s proclamation, justice and peace should guide our national and personal decision-making. Accordingly, remembrance of the sacrifices made by veterans challenges us to ask: Do our actions promote the overall well-being of our nation’s peoples and this good earth? Do we focus on our own welfare to the exclusion of our neighbor? What are we willing to sacrifice so that others may live abundantly? God’s vision of abundant life is always about “us” as well as “mine.”
So, on Veterans Day, let us be grateful and let our gratitude inspire us to generosity and commitment to the well-being of our nation, most especially its most vulnerable citizens and veterans who suffer the ravages of war. Then, our love of nation will take us beyond nationalism or self-interest to the affirmation of our role as God’s partners in healing the earth. ###
The Veteran — Dorothy Parker
When I was young and bold and strong,
Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong!
My plume on high, my flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
“Come out, you dogs, and fight!” said I,
And wept there was but once to die.
But I am old; and good and bad
Are woven in a crazy plaid.
I sit and stay, “The world is so;
And he is wise who lets it go.
A battle lost, a battle won—
The difference is small, my son.”
Inertia rides and riddles me;
The which is called Philosophy.
To a Soldier in Hospital – Winifred M. Letts
Courage came to you with your boyhood’s grace
Of ardent life and limb.
Each day new dangers steeled you to the test,
To ride, to climb, to swim.
Your hot blood taught you carelessness of death
With every breath.
So when you went to play another game
You could not but be brave:
An Empire’s team, a rougher football field,
The end—perhaps your grave.
What matter? On the winning of a goal
You staked your soul.
Yes, you wore courage as you wore your youth
With carelessness and joy.
But in what Spartan school of discipline
Did you get patience, boy?
How did you learn to bear this long-drawn pain
And not complain?
Restless with throbbing hopes, with thwarted aims,
Impulsive as a colt,
How do you lie here month by weary month
Helpless, and not revolt?
What joy can these monotonous days afford
Here in a ward?
Yet you are merry as the birds in spring,
Or feign the gaiety,
Lest those who dress and tend your wound each day
Should guess the agony.
Lest they should suffer—this the only fear
You let draw near.
Greybeard philosophy has sought in books
And argument this truth,
That man is greater than his pain, but you
Have learnt it in your youth.
You know the wisdom taught by Calvary
Death would have found you brave, but braver still
You face each lagging day,
A merry Stoic, patient, chivalrous,
Divinely kind and gay.
You bear your knowledge lightly, graduate
Of unkind Fate.
Careless philosopher, the first to laugh,
The latest to complain.
Unmindful that you teach, you taught me this
In your long fight with pain:
Since God made man so good—here stands my creed—
God’s good indeed.
What Governments Say to Women (excerpt) — Alice Duer Miller
I. In Time of War
Help us. Your country needs you;
Show that you love her,
Give her your men to fight,
Ay, even to fall;
The fair, free land of your birth,
Set nothing above her,
Not husband nor son,
She must come first of all…
Not to Keep — Robert Frost
They sent him back to her. The letter came
Saying… and she could have him. And before
She could be sure there was no hidden ill
Under the formal writing, he was in her sight—
Living.— They gave him back to her alive—
How else? They are not known to send the dead—
And not disfigured visibly. His face?—
His hands? She had to look—to ask,
“What was it, dear?” And she had given all
And still she had all—they had—they the lucky!
Wasn’t she glad now? Everything seemed won,
And all the rest for them permissible ease.
She had to ask, “What was it, dear?”
Yet not enough. A bullet through and through,
High in the breast. Nothing but what good care
And medicine and rest—and you a week,
Can cure me of to go again.” The same
Grim giving to do over for them both.
She dared no more than ask him with her eyes
How was it with him for a second trial.
And with his eyes he asked her not to ask.
They had given him back to her, but not to keep.
Thanks — Yusef Komunyakaa
Thanks for the tree
between me & a sniper’s bullet.
I don’t know what made the grass
sway seconds before the Viet Cong
raised his soundless rifle.
Some voice always followed,
telling me which foot
to put down first.
Thanks for deflecting the ricochet
against that anarchy of dusk.
I was back in San Francisco
wrapped up in a woman’s wild colors,
causing some dark bird’s love call
to be shattered by daylight
when my hands reached up
& pulled a branch away
from my face. Thanks
for the vague white flower
that pointed to the gleaming metal
reflecting how it is to be broken
like mist over the grass,
as we played some deadly
game for blind gods.
What made me spot the monarch
writhing on a single thread
tied to a farmer’s gate,
holding the day together
like an unfingered guitar string,
is beyond me. Maybe the hills
grew weary & leaned a little in the heat.
Again, thanks for the dud
hand grenade tossed at my feet
outside Chu Lai. I’m still
falling through its silence.
I don’t know why the intrepid
sun touched the bayonet,
but I know that something
stood among those lost trees
& moved only when I moved.
Battleground (excerpt) — William Trowbridge
It showed the War was as my father said:
boredom flanked by terror, a matter of keeping
low and not freezing. “You wore your helmet
square,” he said, not “at some stupid angle,
like that draft-dodger Wayne,” who died
so photogenically in The Sands of Iwa Jima ….
Freedom is what we do with what is done to us. — Jean-Paul Sartre
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. — Coco Chanel
When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. — Ralph Ellison
We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories. — Margaret Atwood
Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another. — Toni Morrison
Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free. — Thich Nhat Hanh
You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once. — Robert Heinlein
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. — David Foster Wallace
Songs about Freedom:
- Everybody Wants Freedom by Civil Rights Marchers/Protesters (anthem)
- Freedom by William Pharrell (pop anthem)
- Alexander by Lin-Manuel Miranda (spoken word/rap that became first song in Hamilton!)
- O Freedom by Shirley Verrett (opera/anthem)
- Ain’t Gonna Let No Body Turn Me Round by The Freedom Singers
- Freedom by Beyonce (pop/rap)
- Blackbird by The Beatles (rock ballad)
- Freedom! ’90 by George Michael (pop)
- Simple Song of Freedom by Bobby Darin (country)
- Woke Up This Morning by The Freedom Singers (gospel)
- Freedom by Alice Cooper (rock)
- Go Tell It On the Mountain by Civil Rights Marchers/Protesters in Selma
Freedom — Langston Hughes
Freedom will not come
Today, this year
Through compromise and fear.
I have as much right
As the other fellow has
On my two feet
And own the land.
I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.
Is a strong seed
In a great need.
I live here, too.
I want my freedom
Just as you.
MEDITATIONS on PERSONAL FREEDOM
The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ― Joe Klaas
The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you. — David Foster Wallace
People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. — Soren Kierkegaard
No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it. — Paulo Coelho
Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind. — Virginia Woolf
Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. — Sigmund Freud
He who has overcome his fears will truly be free. — Aristotle
The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first. — Jim Morrison
Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls. — Anais Nin
True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline. — Mortimer Adler
But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ — John Steinbeck
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. — Mahatma Gandhi
Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning. — Jean-Paul Sartre
If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system.That’s much more powerful than rebelling outside the system. — Marie Lu
I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game. — Toni Morrison
Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves. — Abraham Lincoln
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. —Ronald Reagan
When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw. — Nelson Mandela
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin
Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life. — Bob Marley
A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window. — Gilles Delueze
We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. — William Faulkner
If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. — Noam Chomsky
I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. — Robert Heinlein
Being Good Doesn’t Make You Free. The Truth Makes You Free. — Nadia Bolz-Weber (full text)
… “You know that part at the beginning where we all say together that we’ve fractured relationships and done things we shouldn’t and stuff?” Uh…I answered…the confession? “Yeah! they said. That’s so amazing.”
There’s a trend in starting… to actually eliminate the confession and absolution in the liturgy because, well, it just makes people feel bad. And let’s be honest, it’s just a lot more appealing to go to a church that doesn’t make you feel bad.
And I guess there is some logic to that. I mean, if the point of religion is to teach us good from evil and how to choose the good, then who wants to start out each Sunday saying that you didn’t manage to pull that off. Again.
Of course no one can really be that good, which I guess is why there is also a long and rich Christian tradition which in Latin is called “totally faking it.” Also known as pretending to be good and nice and happy and successfully Christian.
… Jesus contrasts not good and evil, but truth and evil. We either do what is true or do what is evil.
I know that I myself will go to extraordinary lengths to fight the truth, especially truth about my shortcomings… One of the most common truths we avoid is about our motivations…
I was substituting being good for the Truth…
But truth comes to us and it changes us. It comes in the word of a sister, in the language of scripture spoken in a community, in the prayers of the people…
The light of truth is simply the only thing that scatters the darkness in ourselves and in the world because God doesn’t deal in deceit and denial and half-truths. Yes, encounters with Truth are hard and require you to step into something that feels like it might just crush you. But the instant is crushes you it also puts you back together into something real. Only the Gospel can do that.
The good news is not that you can possess the truth, but that the truth can possess you, making you real and making you free … perhaps for the first time. And as frightening as it might feel, as much as it might feel like it’s going to crush you, the light of the truth is something you can live in because the love of God has freed you and indeed every human being from the need to live in any lies. Step into the light. You’ll be fine. You’ll be real. And you’ll be free.
There is freedom
waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?
― Erin Hanson
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. — Charlotte Bronte
You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down. — Toni Morrison
Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure. — Stephen King
Caged Bird— Maya Angelou
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Of Old Sat Freedom on the Heights— Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Of old sat Freedom on the heights,
The thunders breaking at her feet:
Above her shook the starry lights:
She heard the torrents meet.
There in her place she did rejoice,
Self-gather’d in her prophet-mind,
But fragments of her mighty voice
Came rolling on the wind.
Then stept she down thro’ town and field
To mingle with the human race,
And part by part to men reveal’d
The fulness of her face—
Grave mother of majestic works,
From her isle-altar gazing down,
Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,
And, King-like, wears the crown:
Her open eyes desire the truth.
The wisdom of a thousand years
Is in them. May perpetual youth
Keep dry their light from tears;
That her fair form may stand and shine,
Make bright our days and light our dreams,
Turning to scorn with lips divine
The falsehood of extremes!
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite! — Charlie Chaplin
… give them to all the people who helped mother our children. … I don’t want something special. I want something beautifully plain. Like everything else, it can fill me only if it is ordinary and available to all. — Anne Lamott
Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are. – Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Just when you think you know love, something little comes along and reminds you just how big it is. – unattributed
Motherhood takes many forms… there are step-moms, foster moms, adopted moms, and moms who have been estranged from their kids. — Ryan Nelson
We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men… We are who we are because they were who they were. It’s wise to know where you come from, who called your name. — Maya Angelou
Songs about and for Mothers:
- Mama Said by Shirelles (rock)
- What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye (rock)
- Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran (pop)
- Love Like This by Lauren Daigle (Christian pop)
- Mama’s Song by Carrie Underwood (country)
- Dear Mama by Tupac Shakur (rap ballad)
- Song for Mama by Boyz 2 Men (pop)
- Like My Mother Does by Lauren Alaina (country)
- Mom by Garth Brooks (country)
- Thank You by Good Charlotte (pop ballad)
- Mother Like Mine by The Band Perry (country)
- Mama Liked the Roses by Elvis Presley (rock ballad)
- When We Fall Apart by Ryan Stevenson with Vince Gill & Amy Grant (country)
What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black
(Reflections of an African-American Mother)
(excerpt) — Maya Angelou
… So this I will do for them, If I love them.
None will do it for me.
I must find the truth of heritage for myself
And pass it on to them.
In years to come I believe
Because I have armed them
with the truth, my children
And my children’s children will venerate me.
For it is the truth that will make us free!
From “understory” — Craig Santos Perez
my daughter, i know
our stories are heavier
than stones, but you
must carry them with
you no matter how
far from home the
storms take your canoe
because you will always
find shelter in our
stories, you will always
belong in our stories,
you will always be
sacred in our ocean
We are born of love; Love is our mother. — Rumi
What shall I tell my dear one, fruit of my womb, Of how beautiful they are … — Maya Angelou
Motherhood takes many forms… there are step-moms, foster moms, adopted moms, and moms who have been estranged from their kids. — Ryan Nelson
You know, there’s nothing damnable about being a strong woman. The world needs strong women. There are a lot of strong women you do not see who are guiding, helping, mothering strong men. — Ginger Rogers
… these old photos of our mothers feel like both a chasm and a bridge. The woman in the picture is someone other than the woman we know. She is also exactly the person in the photo — still, right now. Finally, we see that the woman we’ve come to think of as Mom — whether she’s nurturing, or disapproving, or thoughtful, or delusional, or pestering, or supportive, or sentimental — is also a mysterious, fun, brave babe. She’s been here all this time. — Edan Lepuck
I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. — Abraham Lincoln
Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face. — George Eliot
For when a child is born the mother also is born again.— Gilbert Parker
OTHER MOTHERS: SPIRITUAL PARENTS
… my main gripe about Mother’s Day is that it feels incomplete and imprecise. The main thing that ever helped mothers was other people mothering them; a chain of mothering that keeps the whole shebang afloat. I am the woman I grew to be partly in spite of my mother, and partly because of the extraordinary love of her best friends, and my own best friends’ mothers, and from surrogates, many of whom were not women at all but gay men … — Anne Lamott
Our images of God, then, must be inclusive because God is not mother, no, but God is not father either. God is neither male nor female. God is pure spirit, pure being, pure life — both of them. Male and female, in us all. — Joan Chittister
I know how lucky I am to have such a wonderful woman and heroine in my life. Also, I do recognize that not everyone has this blessing. This is why Mother’s Day can sometimes bring out many different emotions in people. Some women have lost their mothers, women who have absent mothers, women who are desperately trying or have tried to have a baby and become a mother themselves, and women who are single mothers having to be a mother and father to their children. The list goes on. We all know women like this or are those very women ourselves. So this year and every year let me suggest something. On Mother’s Day, let’s not only celebrate our mothers and the mothers of the world but let’s celebrate the women in our lives who have helped us become the women WE are today…
These women are everywhere. Maybe they are your favorite teacher, your aunt, your grandmother, your stepmother, your neighbor, or a friend. We all have “mothered” someone and have shown them love and support in their time of need. So, let’s thank and celebrate those women in our lives too. To me these women are not only my mother, they are my Aunt Barbara and my dear friends who for years have given me unwavering love and support. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.
So again, on Mother’s Day I want us to celebrate not just mothers of the world, but the women that helped you become the strong and beautiful woman that you are. — Nina Spears (excerpt of posting)
GOD as CREATOR: Source Code of Grace — Nadia Bolz-Weber (excerpt from sermon)
In the beginning, all there was, was God. So in order to bring the world into being, God had to kind of scoot over. So God chose to take up less space—you know, to make room. So before God spoke the world into being, God scooted over. God wanted to share. Like the kind-faced woman on the subway who takes her handbag onto her lap so that there’s room for you to sit next to her. She didn’t have to do it, but that’s just who she is . . . the kind-faced subway lady’s nature is that she makes room for others.
Then God had an absolute explosion of creativity and made animals. Amoebas. Chickens. Crickets. Bees. Orangutans.
Then God said, “Let us create humans in our own image and likeness.” Let us. So, God the community, God the family, God the friend group, God the opposite of isolation, said, “Let us create humanity in our image and likeness. Let there be us and them in one being.”
So God created every one of us in the male and female image of God. Then God gave us God’s own image —something so holy that it could never be harmed, and never be taken away. A never-aloneness. An origin and destination. A source code of grace…
We can’t pretend like Mother’s Day is a cheery holiday for everyone. It’s not. If you’ve experienced mom-related trauma like abuse, addiction, mental health issues, abandonment, or death, this is a time when people … grieve something they lost or never had. … people … struggle with motherhood or have been hurt by this relationship … — Ryan Nelson
The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the world passed to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing. ― Anita Diamant
… Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers. I say that without judgment: It is, sadly, true. An unhealthy mother’s love is withering. The illusion is that mothers are automatically happier, more fulfilled and complete ... I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or severely damaged children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure … — Anne Lamott
PRAYER — Hannah Kardon
To the Moms who are struggling, to those filled with incandescent joy.
To the Moms who are remembering children who have died, and pregnancies that miscarried.
To the Moms who decided other parents were the best choice for their babies, to the Moms who adopted those kids and loved them fierce.
To those experiencing frustration or desperation in infertility.
To those who knew they never wanted kids, and the ways they have contributed to our shared world.
To those who mothered colleagues, mentees, neighborhood kids, and anyone who needed it.
To those remembering Moms no longer with us.
To those moving forward from Moms who did not show love, or hurt those they should have cared for.
… honor the unyielding love and care for others we call ‘Motherhood,’ wherever we have found it and in whatever ways we have found to cultivate it within ourselves.
Bending down to wash and anoint someone’s feet. What story do our feet tell about us? How we live? How do we love? How do we touch the earth?
Indeed, what amazing gifts might must be ours if we could kneel and honor the humanity in another? I imagine we might just start to see the holy there as well. — Janet Hunt
My Grandmother Washes Her Feet
in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears (excerpt) — Mohja Kahf My grandmother puts her feet in the sink of the bathroom at Sears to wash them in the ritual washing for prayer, wudu, because she has to pray in the store or miss the mandatory prayer time for Muslims She does it with great poise, balancing herself with one plump matronly arm against the automated hot-air hand dryer, after having removed her support knee-highs and laid them aside, folded in thirds, and given me her purse and her packages to hold so she can accomplish this august ritual and given me her purse and her packages to hold
so she can accomplish this august ritual
and get back to the ritual of shopping for housewares
Respectable Sears matrons shake their heads and frown
as they notice what my grandmother is doing,
an affront to American porcelain,
a contamination of American Standards
by something foreign and unhygienic
requiring civic action and possible use of disinfectant spray
They fluster about and flutter their hands and I can see
a clash of civilizations brewing in the Sears bathroom …
Standing between the door and the mirror, I can see
at multiple angles, my grandmother and the other shoppers,
all of them decent and goodhearted women, diligent
in cleanliness, grooming, and decorum …
On Feet: Walking and Washing
I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each
of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one.
The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no
decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then
closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and
ourselves – we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a
sustainable world together. We are each other’s destiny. — Mary Oliver
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair … ― Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. — Abraham Lincoln
What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. — Saint Augustine
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. — Dr. Seuss
When food comes you open your mouth; when sleep comes you close your eyes. As you wash your face you find your nose, when you take off your shoes you feel your feet. At that time, if you miss what’s being said, take a torch and make a special search deep in the night. How can you attain union? — Joshu
The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless. — Billy Graham
Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. — Stephen Hawking
This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet. — Rumi
… Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking — walking not in order to arrive, just for walking. The purpose is to be in the present moment and enjoy each step you make. Therefore you have to shake off all worries and anxieties, not thinking of the future, not thinking of the past, just enjoying the present moment. … We walk all the time, but usually it is more like running. Our hurried steps print anxiety and sorrow on the Earth. If we can take one step in peace, we can take two, three, four, and then five steps for the peace and happiness of humankind. … If we can transform our walking path into a field for meditation, our feet will take every step in full awareness. Our breathing will be in harmony with our steps, and our mind will naturally be at ease. Every step we take will reinforce our peace and joy and cause a stream of calm energy to flow through us. — Thich Nhat Hanh
From our feet, we can tell how the rest of our body is doing. The way we follow the Lord reveals how our heart is faring. The wounds on our feet, our sprains and our weariness, are signs of how we have followed Him, of the paths we have taken in seeking the lost sheep and in leading the flock to green pastures and still waters. The Lord washes us and cleanses us of all the dirt our feet have accumulated in following Him. This is something holy. Do not let your feet remain dirty. Like battle wounds, the Lord kisses them and washes away the grime of our labors. — Pope Francis
Extravagant Love: Washing and Anointing
… we don’t separate a self from its environment, and cleaning expresses our respect for and sense of wholeness with the world that surrounds us. — Shoukei Matsumoto
A monk asked Joshu, “I have just entered the monastery: please give me some guidance.” Joshu said, “Have you had breakfast yet?”
The monk said, “Yes I have eaten.” Joshu continues, “Then go wash your bowl.”
— Joshu, Buddhist Koan
In this text, Mary continues the theme of extravagance in the form of costly gestures involving expensive ointment. … Now is no time for frugality. This extravagance on earth is participating with the work of heaven. — Lynn Miller
Do you see this person that you are judging? Do you see her humanity, her profound child of God-ness, her generosity, her capacity for compassion? — Joy Perkett
like a horrible idea to me, trying to get closer to God. Half the
time, I wish God would leave me alone. Getting closer to God might mean
getting told to love someone I don’t even like, or give away even more
of my money.It might mean letting some idea or dream that is dear to me
get ripped away. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
So Mary might have given Jesus this stunning gift of extravagance as a thank-you or as a prophetic witness as to what would soon be. Perhaps her motivation was a mixture of both. But what if another reason Mary poured it all out that day was simply because she knew deep down that her gift would make a holy difference to Jesus. Her gift, her generous offering, could remind him who he was and how much he was loved. — Shannon J. Kershner
amazing and wonderful thing can she do, what can she say not with words
but with her whole self: Mary takes the best she has to give and in an
hour of need, as death looms over this little band of disciples, Mary
takes the best and breaks it open over the feet of Jesus, the one she
loves, the one she is about to lose…even if only for awhile…but we
suspect she does not know that, yet. — Kathryn Matthews
Then again, we might ask whom God might work through next. And if you
ask that question, then invite your people to look at those sitting near
them. For God may be about to use each of them in a surprising way to
care for their neighbor, to offer a listening ear, to do their work with
faithfulness and courage, to stand up for those who are less fortunate,
to resist peer pressure at school and offer an alternative to those
watching. Who knows? What we do know is that God is regularly about the
business of surprising us with where God shows up, whom God uses, and
what God accomplishes. — David Lose
Mary’s extravagant love for Jesus makes it possible for Jesus to show extravagant love in what follows — washing the feet of his disciples, handing himself over to be arrested in the garden, carrying his own cross, dying, rising, and ascending. Mary loves Jesus into his future as the fulfillment of, “for God so loved the world.” — Karoline Lewis
Jesus’ commandment to love one another is not a commandment to feel affection, but a commandment to act in a loving way, even when we would rather do otherwise. — Elisabeth Johnson
Remembering her may help them leave him alone while he finishes delivering his message. At home in Bethany, the storm clouds are still piling up against the door when Mary gives the forecast: it will be bad, very bad, but that’s no reason for Jesus’ friends to lock their hearts and head to the cellar. Whatever they need, there will be enough to go around. Whatever they spend, there will be plenty left over. There is no reason to fear running out–of nard or of life either one–for where God is concerned, there is always more than we can ask or imagine–gifts from our lavish, lavish Lord. — Barbara Brown Taylor