When I was a little girl (how many great stories have begun with those words) my mother would react to my tantrums in the same way. I have an image of her ironing in the dining room while I sat nearby complaining about how hot it was or how I had nobody to play with. She would not take her eyes off my father’s shirt, but would say in my direction, “I think somebody might need to go over to the hospital and donate some of her time to those less fortunate.”
Her advice would send me right over the top, even as I knew it was true. Perhaps because I knew it was true. I didn’t often heed her words, didn’t make my way to the hospital to sit at the bedside of someone suffering and alone, but when I did – it cured me.
And it still does.
I’ve been struggling lately with . . . my life . . . and my Mama had the answer all along. Give of yourself. Give of myself. To my children, to my husband, to the world. Give and give until all I feel is love. I’m only on day two of remembering her advice, and already my heart is lightening, the insecurity and judgment fading away, being replaced by the smiles of my children. There just isn’t room for self-absorbed nonsense and selfless love in the same heart . . at least not at the same time.
Thank you Mama.