Hard and Soft

DSC_0006I am saying, “Happy Mother’s Day!” to my mom. Since we are in Jerusalem now, it seems the theme has been as I posted yesterday, “Petals and Stone.” Here in the Ancient City, so many breathtaking flowers and so much of the chiseled white, lime stone. Everywhere you look, you find flowers growing out of stone or upon stone or next to stone. It is amazing. Hard and soft places.

That’s what mothers teach their children — to be both hard and soft. Hard on selfishness and self absorption, hard on learning discipline and learning to work; yet soft on developing compassion for others and love for God, family, and neighbors. The examples are limitless.

Mom, thanks for teaching me to be both hard and soft. It has helped me in countless ways in my life.

Below is a poem I wrote in 2006 for Mother’s Day. And how I never tire of the words that honor motherhood and the deep love mothers develop for their children and families.


You Sobered Your Soul

During the fat of summer,

your thin hands

embraced the razor cold

of winter. Your heart

rejected lethargy in that joyful day of ease.

You sobered your soul

to tailor family hats,

mittens, and coats.

I watched you dip them in blood

and soak them in tears.

You gathered oil and wheat and wine.

You dug a cave for eternity

in the fragile, volatile state of

abundance. When others played in the shallow light

of summer, you sobered your soul.

At the first drop of rain, we hunkered down

in that dark cellar of faith. You smiled when the wind

blew the candles out, and the old rickety wooden table

jiggled as we wrote our lessons in the light of eternity.

You made sure our feet did not slip.

You squeezed the color from vegetables and painted a canvas of possibility;

and when we ate the last bite of soup, I saw you

bow your knee to one who is greater.

You warred for my life

and freed my feet and hands to jump over a wall with

ease, to stop an enemy in his tracks, to tie

the shoe of a child, to recognize a thirsty soul, and to understand

when a silver world begins to tarnish.

You taught us how to cope with clay feet and golden dreams

when you took away our measuring rods.

For this you are wise and good.

For this you are called Mother.

©Bonnie Saul Wilks

all rights reserved

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