Today, Malcolm gives praise to the single parent. He is the first person I have come across in the public eye to do so. His poem is so refreshing and appropriate for Mothering Sunday. I became a single parent when everything happened within a short space of time, marriage breakdown, bereavement, illness … everything affected my small family in drastic terms. It has been a monumental struggle to keep going, to keep things together and, added to this mix, a complete change in lifestyle to become a full time University student. When my father passed away, my vicar and church helped me to keep afloat. Jesus had previously given me real, physical spiritual experiences and encounters that held me up (and indirectly my family) during our most darkest times; experiences so real that I could not (and cannot) deny them. Jesus has never left me.
I have found that because of my theological studies, I have been questioning and searching and my Church community have not appreciated or understood this. Maybe part of this blame can lie with me through my anger at the Church (nationally and locally) on the treatment of women and of me. This sadly has been the situation for the past eighteen months and today, on Mother’s Day, I haven’t gone to Church and I know that my absence would not have been noticed. I know Christ does and herein lies my internal conflict.
On a day when Malcolm talks about the birth pangs of the Church within the Gospels and the need to include all people especially single parents, I feel my most excluded.
My drawing tries to convey the woman heavily pregnant and in touch with the Earth and Creation. Within her arms and pregnancy she holds and nurtures the Church. In the distance stands a lone pregnant woman with a small child, a seed sprouting on the ground and roots taking hold within the earth. On top of the woman’s head is the Anointing Hand of GOD.
Here is Malcolm’s wonderful sonnet for Mothering Sunday,