A mother’s love is the closest taste of God’s love for us. I’ve always known this, but I have never experienced it as poignantly as I did last weekend when I visited my son who is incarcerated in a Texas state prison during A Day with Mom provided by a very special ministry. I attended because it was a chance for my son to have real-world pizza, and he did not want to miss this rare occasion to escape the drudgery of a normal Saturday. I could not let him down even though I had a wicked strep throat and was not up to driving the 2.5 hours, waiting for the 2 hours between my arrival, processing, and actually being reunited with my son, a 5.5 hour visit and the trip home. The good thing was that he felt very tired too and so we were a pair just enjoying a chance to be in one another’s presence for that amount of time. As one of the newest on the unit, one man in white told me how impressed he was with Ben. He knew that Ben’s ability to keep a strong sense of himself in that setting was quite a feat, and he wanted me to know that about him too. I could chat with men with whom Ben spent his days. They had a praise band and cheery volunteers who desperately wanted this day to have meaning to everyone present.
Near the end they opened the mic to men and moms who wanted to share. This was the third time for this event so some came expecting this opportunity and they were eager to stand up and share their hearts. What was in the hearts of these men was complete admiration for their mothers. They knew they were in the presence of some completely incredible women who had prayed, sacrificed, cried, warned, written, visited, and would absolutely never give up on their sons. These words went straight to my heart because I knew they expressed the heart of my son and I didn’t need him to say them again. He just was there beside me with his arm around me as I cried and blew my nose into the one clean napkin left on the table.
I don’t want to be vain, but everything they said about us was true! We moms do love in the way most like God. Motherhood asks that of you. It is a sacred gift and the fastest way to grow divine. Each mom in that room had sacrificed time, money, travel, comfort, and judgment from others along her way. The moms were quick to talk and brag on the sons they loved. Though their sons had made a mistake in their lives that brought them to this place, the mothers knew that their sons were not a mistake. One mom told of her difficult journey to arrive on Saturday. She flew from one state to another to be present at her daughter’s graduation with a PhD. She had to fly from there to this small town; it had to have been a most inconvenient journey in order not to miss this day with her son. Her son, she said, had admitted his wrong and she was as proud of him as she was of her daughter, and she would never miss a chance like this. Another son stood and explained that his mom had every reason never to talk to him again, much less be with him that day, after he killed her son. She came up right after him and explained how glad she was that he was alive and that what he had done was not who he was but the result of the influence of drugs and alcohol and that nothing would make her give up on him though many friends advised that she never talk to him again. Love was overflowing in this room. The volunteers, the guards, everyone was in agreement that this was a special place bursting with the love of God made present through the relationship of a prodigal son retuning to the heart of his mom.
The time passed quickly and it was time once again to part until the next time. Strong embraces were exchanged and souls remained strengthened with the love exchanged between and mom and her son. There is nothing else like it!