“G” is for God….and Happy Mother’s Day


“G” is for God

I have a cross-stitched embroidery hanging on the wall in my kitchen which says,


My adoptive mother was an embroiderer. She made this piece years ago and, when she died, I found it among her stuff and kept it. Obviously to remember her by.

Many years ago, when I was 16 and refused to go with her to the weekly Sunday school and service at our local Presbyterian church (over what I thought was hypocritical teachings around the famine in Ethiopia; a story for another post maybe), she’d shared that one of her biggest regret in life was that neither I nor my sister or brother “became Christians”. She was a devout Presbyterian; a Deacon even and taught Bible Study classes.

Soon after her death in 1995, I started to meditate. There was not even the thought of becoming a priest. That came when the Zen bug “bit” me when I went to Tassajara.

Maybe ‘cause it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday but seeing the embroidery again, hanging on my kitchen wall, I was reminded of that conversation. “Causing” regret to another is never a good feeling. Though, with all honesty, I never regretted not returning to the church. There were some years of angst about it but, all in all, it was mild and so the not-returning wasn’t so much active resistance but more of a lack of resonance.

I was at my mother’s side for the last week and minutes of her life. And for my father’s. It seems to me that my mother’s dying process was smoother because she had God and her faith to draw upon. It really seemed to comfort her.

And so, I’d like to think that if my mother was alive today she would be happy that I “had religion”/spirituality, no matter what version it is. I’d like to think that the sense of wonder and awe that comes with knowing there’s MORE than what one thinks and believes (be it about oneself, others, the world, or “the unknown”) and a real felt sense of connection we both have (hers to her God and mine to something-beyond-words/concepts) is something we would have resonance together.

I miss my mother. Here’s a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh which I think reflects Christian and Buddhist ideas which could be a basis for this shared resonance:

“The kingdom of God is available to you in the here and the now. But the question is whether you are available to the kingdom. Our practice is to make ourselves ready for the kingdom so that it can manifest in the here and the now. You don’t need to die in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, you have to be truly alive in order to do so.”

photo: “G” created by Netsui. Thank you! Go to “Netsui Arts” for her great works!  https://www.flickr.com/photos/netsui/

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