I WROTE A LETTER TO A MOTHER TODAY …
I am writing to you today to ask your forgiveness. I hang my head in the deepest shame. It is a shame which can only be soothed by your gentle, sweet, overflowing kindness and if nothing else, I beg You for this.
You have dealt us an almighty swipe with Your precious hand which You normally use for creation. You have put us into solitary confinement; we are sitting on the naughty step away from your other beloved Divine forms.
Only once a day, you say.
Today, I walked among your glorious trees and flowers and as the wind blew through my hair, and as I looked up to find which birds were trilling so happily, blossoms cascaded at my feet, tenderly and silently as my fellow man walked 2 metres away.
I am in agony.
I am lonely.
How can we love each other when we are locked away? How may we hold the elderly when they tremble with fear? How do we trick our children into believing a virtual birthday party is a game?
You show us that Nature will always be there and forgiving, caressing us with its sublime beauty, and that it manages perfectly well without us but that we cannot play with our friends.
You don’t need us, Mother.
You just don’t need us.
Just as a criminal locked on Death Row, I have reflected upon my past behaviour. My appalling disgrace is how I have disrespected you as I partook of the consumer use-once-and-dispose, here-today-gone-tomorrow plastic society in a world that has become so fast, I cannot catch my breath.
I use petroleum, I fly in planes. My food is wrapped in so much non-biodegradable material that my trash bins are full each week.
Mother – not all of it is my fault. I am a consumer but it is the suppliers who have to put it right. I am willing to carry my vegetables from the market in a basket, and use harmless domestic cleaning solutions. I will summon my creative artistic talents to make things at home as we used to when I was a young girl, but this has to be come the unequivocal norm and not a possible do-goody option.
How do I know this? Carbon emissions are the lowest since WWII, Your rivers are suddenly clear – the canals are clean in Venice; we can see Your and my beloved Himalaya from 200km because pollution has dropped.
Everybody is on the naughty step under obligatory time-out.
You have made it clear.
I feel so disgraced. Even your insects are flying around unperturbed; the mosquitoes hum happily and dangerously about their day and the flies are circling rotting garbage.
You have made it abundantly clear. Nothing except the human race.
Oh God, please forgive us. Let us see your smile again in compassion for our lesson. Please release us so that we may work together to clean and tidy our rooms, the corners of Your magnificent Earth, Gaia.
We will ask Your scientists, environmentalists, product design specialists, textile manufacturers, engineers and philanthropists to work together to clean ourselves up and our homestead – You.
You are our security and our safety. You provide our basic needs, Mother. We have behaved like 2 year-olds throwing Your supreme gifts across the room in violent, petulant tantrums.
Forgive us. I beseech You.
There is a famous poem that was written in 1927 that we say to ourselves sometimes. Do you mind if I give it to You? I have changed the words a little to make it a belated Mother’s Day gift. It is below.
Please lift your angry hand and release us from the punishment. A punishment you have metered out over the millennia and most recently in 1918. Our medical systems cannot cope and we are utterly lost.
Please give us another chance to put things right, and allow us to grow up into dignified, responsible adults. We promise to look after you in your old age.
I feel your extreme distress because You are in me. You are the mother and I am your child.
I love You,
WE SHALL GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in Your silence. As far as possible, without surrender, We shall be on good terms with all persons and other divine life forms.
You always speak Your truth quietly and clearly; even to the dull and the ignorant.
We shall avoid loud and aggressive actions against You because they are vexatious to Your spirit.
We shall appreciate Your creations and we shall accept the changing fortunes of time.
We shall allow You to be Yourself. We shall not be cynical about Your Love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, Your Love is as perennial as the grass.
We shall take kindlyYour counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of our youth.
We shall nurture our strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. We have learnt our lesson and will never abuse You again.
We shall be gentle with ourselves because then we are gentle with You. We are children of the universe, of You, no less than the trees and the stars; You gave us the right to be here.
We and the universe are unfolding as it should. Therefore we must be at peace with God, whatever we conceive Him to be. And whatever our labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, We shall keep peace in our souls.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, we know it is still a beautiful world.
But only because of You.
By Max Ehrmann © 1927
Edited by Seilma Gurtler Copyright April 2020
Selima Gurtler is a distinguished spiritual writer, philosopher and Jnana yogi.
Her modern teachings to Self-Realization and Liberation are uniquely flavoured through the perceptive eyes of her Indian and European heritage.
Free copies of her books are available for download here: https://www.emwpeace.org/publications/
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu are patrons of her work.