May 13, 2019

Un-happy Mother’s Day?

For many people Mother’s Day represents a celebration of their mother’s awesomeness. It is a wonderful and precious time spent with their mothers and family. But did you know that Anna Jarvis, founder of the modern American holiday of Mother’s Day, after working so hard to make it a reality, ultimately wanted to wipe it from the face of the earth?

Oh, the horror!

Jarvis became resentful of the commercialization and was angry that companies would profit from the holiday. By the early 1920s Hallmark and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. The holiday that she had worked so hard for was supposed to be about sentiment, not about profit. She referred to the florists, greeting card manufacturers, and candy industry as “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers, and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest, and truest movements and celebrations.”*

Jarvis organized boycotts and threatened lawsuits to try to stop the commercialization. She crashed a candy-makers convention in Philadelphia in 1923. Two years later she was arrested for disturbing the peace.

In one of her last known appearances in public, Jarvis was seen going door-to-door in Philadelphia, asking for signatures on a petition to do away with Mother’s Day. As she got older she stopped interacting with people altogether and became a hoarder.

Jarvis spent her final days deeply in debt, living in the Marshall Square Sanitarium, a now-closed mental asylum in West Chester, Pennsylvania. After she died it came to light that Jarvis was never told that her bill for her time at the asylum was paid for, in part, by a group of grateful florists. The irony!

We may laugh about Jarvis’ response to this special time of the year. But there are, unfortunately, a lot of people who agree with her—well, maybe not to that extreme. But in their experience Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of something that either was and is no longer, or never even became a reality.

In the world in which we live, people have lost relationships with their mothers because of conflict, death, divorce, disease, even abuse and neglect.

The apostle Paul, though, assures us that “you are . . . God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir” (Gal. 4:7).

So today, if you have a wonderful relationship with your mother or “mother” figure, praise God and pray for those who don’t. If you don’t, never forget God’s eternal promise: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breastand have no compassion on the child she has borne?Though she may forget,I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isa. 49:15, 16).

I hope you’ll say with me “Yeah for Mother’s Day! Let it stay!”

This Mother’s Day, don’t forget to hug, kiss, and tell all your mamas “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Omar Miranda, a counselor and writer, lives with his family in unplain Plainville, Georgia.