A hen turkey has arrived just outside my window where the bird feeders hang, five tiny poults clustering around her long red legs. They are so recently hatched that they don’t yet know to scratch and peck for food.
The mother rakes the ground with talons the size of her babies. The most adventurous of the poults rushes to the spot and is soon pecking at the disturbed soil just next to the pounding beak of the hen. The four siblings catch on. A flurry of random pecking and scratching ensues, sometimes resulting in a tiny beak moving rhythmically—an actual seed has been captured and ingested! Surely Divine Mother is working through the mother turkey, her wide, sheltering wings providing the safe harbor from which they are launched on the great voyage of life on earth.
My own mother held the firm belief that her boys should be raised to face their tests courageously and uncomplainingly. If we wavered, she would seem to grow taller, sterner, more adamant, and would end the wavering with her unanswerable exhortation: “You can do this!”
A doctor’s appointment kept me away from the start of a grade-school football game with a rival boys’ school. Relaxing happily after the appointment in the family station wagon, anticipating a football-free afternoon at home mucking about down by my beloved creek, I was dismayed to see her drive not home but back to school, close to the football field, where the game was still in progress. Wordlessly she looked at me—in my mind I could hear her strong thought: “You can do this!” There she waited till I returned, suited up in helmet, jersey and all that lumpy padding, then drove away. Nothing for it but to enter the fray. When the game ended, there she was, waiting for me right where she had dropped me off. We drove home in a silence broken only by her few words: “You did well, I think.” And all was well.
Another day, another doctor’s appointment brought the little boy face to face with his struggle to know left from right. Pointing to the entrance of the Heyburn medical building, my mother explained what I was to do: “Go straight through that door. The doctor’s office will be the door right in front of you.” And then, “After your appointment, when you come back out onto the street, turn right. I’ll wait for you in the Rexall drugstore right up the street.” I could see it from where I stood.
The appointment over, I passed through the front door, turned left and, hoping I was going the right direction, began walking—one block, two blocks, endless blocks, but no Rexall. I was lost in Louisville, afraid to turn around lest the drugstore and my mother be just a little farther ahead. Only when the street dead-ended at the Ohio River did I turn around and retrace my steps. There at last was the Rexall sign—glowing in my imagination like the Promised Land. I had made it! My mother would be waiting for me inside. When I entered the drugstore, there she was, looking up calmly, smiling her approval. “So you made it back,” she said. “Now we can go home.” My heart was singing with happiness.
I see now, with overflowing gratitude, what a power of love shone out through my mother all the while her little boy struggled through his childhood challenges: Divine Mother working through the human mother to prepare one child for the real testing—the purification of the soul in the fire of Her all-consuming, all-liberating love.
Our own Master shows us in his own life the divine mystery behind human motherhood. Separated from his mother by her death, the boy Mukunda is lost and desolate, his truest earthly friend taken from him. “Years passed,” he wrote, “before any reconciliation entered my heart. Storming the very gates of heaven, my cries at last summoned the Divine Mother. Her words brought final healing to my suppurating wounds: ‘It is I who have watched over thee, life after life, in the tenderness of many mothers! See in My gaze the two black eyes, the lost beautiful eyes, thou seekest!’”
The devotee learns to look back over a lifetime, to see with inward vision in a thousand little human experiences the kindness, the all-knowing, all-embracing love of the Divine Mother, ever guiding, nudging, drawing Her own into the great light of God—and the lesson of it all, to trust Her guidance, to offer oneself into Her loving embrace, to know more and more deeply that herein lie freedom and joy.
In divine friendship,