Sunday, September 23, 2012


"Heralding Angels" by Annie Henrie

Prayers for Rory, whose brother died Friday and who found out while he was in my classroom. Who seemed so lonely and sad and confused and my words failed. Prayers for the two babies and the wife of that brother, who found themselves widowed and fatherless and who must be, must be,  in the special providential care of the Father of all.

Prayers for Michael who told Rory that he worries every minute of every day that his father will be killed in Afghanistan but that he has learned to trust that death is not something to fear. Death is not the end, it is the beginning. Death is a great, bright adventure. We should not be afraid of death.

Prayers for Lorina who told Rory that three of her siblings died by the time she was twelve. When her six-year-old sister died when she was twelve, she saw her little brother and sister who had gone on before come to recover her and take her into a world of light. Who still feels their presences and thinks of their faces and wonders and hopes.

Prayers for Andre whose mother and father died in a car crash when he was a small boy and who was adopted, along with his four siblings, by his aunt and uncle who already had six small children of their own. Who began hating his aunt-mother when he was a young teenager and felt that his own mother would not be so demanding and his life would have been much better if she had not died but who eventually tried to serve and love her and realized she is a marvelous, beautiful woman. I really love her, he said. Who told us all this a week ago and who asked if he could maybe offer a prayer for Rory. He prayed for courage and hope and comfort and strength.

And prayers for all the rest of those bright, beautiful, broken kids who wept with and for Rory and who are fighting demons and devils and darkness of their own. Prayers for this world in which horrible things happen and people shine with a light so resplendent it makes you wince in agonizing love.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tastes Like Glory

My friends are famous rock stars. I am not. I am a father of four with a part in his hair who loves to sit on the front porch of an almost-autumn afternoon watching the bees hover and buzz around the flowers of green onions which sprang up of their own accord and which remind me that so much that is gifted to us in this life is unmerited. I am a father whose heart breaks into a thousand pieces—shatters with joy and love and longing—every single day. Rilke says that we live “forever taking our leave.” In the eighth Duino elegy, he writes:

And we: spectators, always, everywhere,
facing all this, never the beyond.
It overfills us. We arrange it. It falls apart.
We arrange it again, and fall apart ourselves.

Who has turned us around like this, so that
whatever we do, we find ourselves in the attitude
of someone going away? Just as that person
on the last hill, which shows him his whole valley
one last time, turns, stops, lingers—,
so we live, forever taking our leave.

What is it to live forever taking leave? I think Rilke is lamenting that we don’t walk recklessly, unencumbered into the eternal light—we are always and forever returned to this mortal world, we cannot get past it. But sometimes I think that I take my leave and take my leave because life is flowing always away from me. Because I perceive the light of each mortal moment. Facing the beyond of all this, I grant that no moment will linger. Everything flees and flies. And yet it is miracle. It is eternal, somehow. Marilynne Robinson writes, “So I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of miracle is here, among us.” Of course, she is quite familiar with the sage of Concord, who said that Jesus “spoke of miracles; for he felt that man’s life was a miracle, and all that man doth, and he knew that this daily miracle shines.” 

These daily miracles shine: Oliver crouching—squatting, really—like a small animal, tail end one inch away from the ground as he colors with many markers. He is slender and has a sly grin. Today he bent over the bushes as a cricket chirped: “I hear a small bird singing,” he said, “Where is it, daddy?” He will grow and will no longer squat. At what age do children lose the capacity to squat so without tiring? Hopefully he will still smile and love, but I mourn the passing as it happens. Each heartbreakingly beautiful moment is heartbreaking both in its beauty and in its transience. Today I found Emerson eating a mini peaches and cream pie made by my solicitous, gracious mother. He sat on a blanket in the middle of the kitchen floor and ate with such delight I felt like crying. Ellie has dark, piercing, intelligent eyes, and she smiles at me and stares sternly at me and opens her mouth to eat my face, and I melt. I melt. Several times since Eleanor was born, Emerson has come close up to her face and said, “Hi, Eleanor. I'm not a giant. I was just born before you.” The other day we were on a walk in our triple stroller and suddenly Emerson said, “I want to walk now, dad. Can I get out?” I stopped the stroller and he hopped out and climbed up onto the low brick wall structure at the entrance to the little complex where we live. He followed the curve of the wall and climbed up to the top--higher than my head. The he clambered down the other side, hopped off, and climbed back into the stroller. The image of him crawling up and then down the wall is strangely delightful to me. It seems to encompass something, something I want to record and bear witness of. I saw this. And it made my day. 

 From the time Lydia was born and I knew that kind of love that comes pouring into this world with a child’s birth—not romantic love, not friendship, not even just family love, but paternal, fatherly love—from the first time I wept while singing and holding her, I always knew she would flow away from me and leave a hole the size and shape of a very small and lovely girl in my soul. She will one day marry. She will date and I will worry. Yesterday, as we snuggled in her bed, she told me how she was made to zip up her lunchbox before she was done eating and run out of the school cafeteria because Keaton was chanting to Dylan, “Kiss Lydia! Kiss Lydia! On the lips!” She flees now and tells me these things to hear me laugh, but one day she will hate me and yell at me. But now she tells me she loves me—every single night. She gives me two hugs and two kisses before I leave her room. It is our ritual. She told me the other day, after taking the book I was reading her out of my hands and looking at it with an intent intensity that I have seen in pictures of myself reading, “I love reading. I can’t wait until Emerson and Oliver and Eleanor can read.” I love to see language come alive in her, words sparking and crackling with luminescence in her bright child mind.

There’s a song I love by Mason Jennings. “Where would I be right now if all my dreams had come true? Deep down I know somehow I’d have never seen your face. This world would be a different place. Darling, there’s no way to know which way your heart will go.” You should hear him sing it:

When I was young, I hoped I would grow up to be a rock star. My friend Jared and I made music videos long before we could play. I bought a beat-up old electric bass from a kid leaving on his mission for $100. He got a guitar for Christmas, I think. I didn’t have an amp or even a cord. We would plug his cord into his guitar and then not into an amplifier but into my bass, and we would jump on the trampoline with our guitars, pretending to play. We videotaped this.  

I loved the music scene: the broken, holy people who had hearts the size of small elephants and who looked like very prickly souls. I once watched a kid get thrown through a wall while we were playing. The hole was large. That was almost exactly twelve years ago, the Friday before the Wednesday that changed my life. Twelve years ago today, I left my little country of music and walked into the vast ocean of my ministry as a young missionary. While I learned Spanish and cried myself to sleep; while I sat on the bed in a one-room house of a small, beautiful Mexican family; while I rode my bicycle through rivers of street, my friends signed a record contract with a major label. One day, while I ate rice and beans and chicken, a smiling Mexican husband turned to his wife and said, “Sabe a gloria.” “It tastes like glory.” That felt right. Goodness, quietness, peace tasted like glory. And I liked the flavor. By the time I got back from Mexico, I knew what T.S. Eliot was getting at in his poem about the Magi: “We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, / But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, / With an alien people clutching their gods. / I should be glad of another death.” 

Once my feet again touched the ground and the sound of the choir faded, I called my old friend on the phone to see how life as a rock star felt. He told me that they had just played sold out shows throughout Japan. That the kids knew every word to their songs. I ran into the band, by this time part firmly in place in my hair. We hugged and talked. My friend said that he never imagined touring would be like this, and he pointed to his tour bus the size of Rhode Island. I might have felt a twinge of sadness then, of regret, perhaps, but there appeared in my mind a simple, dear picture. It was of me pointing upward. That was all. “What doth it profit a man . . .” rang in my thoughts.

Harold B. Lee, a gentle Idaho farmboy who grew up to be a prophet of God, wrote, “You may know you are living a full, rich life when you have the real joy of living, for ‘men are, that they might have joy’ (2 Nephi 2:25). What is it, then, that gives you that high emotional ecstasy called joy? Does it come from the unusual or does it come from common things? He who is moved thus only by the unusual is as one who must flag a failing appetite with strong spices and flavorings that destroy the true sense of taste. You are making a serious error if you mistake an emotional thrill that passes with the moment for the upsurge of deep feelings that is the joy of living. If one feels strong surges of happiness and desire from the quiet of a happy home, from the unfolding of a beautiful life, from the revelation of divine wisdom, or from a love for the beautiful, the true and good, he is having a taste of the fulness of the joy that the living of a rich, full life only can bring.” That’s a nice thought.

Jesus once said something that I did not understand until very recently. Perhaps I still don’t. He was always saying enigmatic, mystical, wonderful things. He is my favorite teacher. I love Him. He said, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” For those familiar with the revelations to Joseph Smith, the idea of a singleness of eye reminds us of that marvelous phrase “an eye single to the glory of God,” an eye focused on the essential, the true, the godly. When my mother-in-law was a young mother, and my wife was a young girl, they were going through the nighttime ritual, preparing for sleep. My mother-in-law was impatient to finish the routine so she could watch a television show that she loved. Then a thought arose, or fell, perhaps, upon her. It was essentially that in eternity, she would not regret not having seen that show, but she might lament not taking time with this holy, bright child. She wept and determined not to sacrifice essential things for things that hold no value. She would lay up her treasures in heaven. After the girls were asleep, she went to tell her husband that she did not want to have television in her house. At all. She wanted her eye single. I love that story, because I see what it did. Not only did it fill her whole being with a radiant, infectious light, but that light has been the fruit that my wife was raised on. And now she is filled with light. And it tastes like glory.

So now I sit on my front porch and contemplate the grace that descended on my life, and I notice the watermelon vine snaking among the green onions. This, too, was not planted by my hand. We imagine that someone spit a watermelon seed into the front flower patch sometime during the summer. Now, the leafy plant winds around the entire garden, putting forth buds. There are at least five small watermelons on that vine. That seems like a metaphor to me. He who once spit in dirt to heal a blind man can take spit and folly and brokenness and carelessness and make beauty and grace and bright, red, juicy fruit. And I love Him for it. And I praise His grace. And it tastes like glory. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I wasn't alive during the Holocaust, and as a child I wasn't aware of the Rwandan genocide. But eleven years ago I was a 20-year-old missionary in Mexico, and I remember the sinking feeling I felt as I watched an airplane smash into a building full of real people with real lives, real families, real hopes. Today I mourn man's inhumanity to man. I mourn the cruelty, the thoughtlessness, the violence, the hatred.

I mourn the difficulty we have seeing that every human being is worthy of honor, of love, of compassion, of respect. I don't know how we fail to see that people who think and feel differently than we do still think and feel, that their lives matter as much to them as mine does to me. Life is sacred. Humanity is holy.

Today as I mourn, I determine that I will be kinder because of what I remember. I decide that my sorrow will not turn to hatred, to vengeance, to violence, but rather to love, to forgiveness, to friendship.

Today I want eyes to see the hidden sorrows that surround each soul, I want ears to hear the silent cries of the oppressed, and I want a heart that responds with a willingness to give of myself to help alleviate pain, sorrow, fear, hatred. Today I choose love.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Blessed Thankfulness

"Healing" by Brian Kershisnik

I came across something recently in my scriptures that instructed and delighted me. Have you ever noticed the peculiar, powerful, lovely connection between giving thanks and blessing in the accounts of the life of the Savior? The two ideas seem to be synonymous, interchangeable, in the Gospel writers’ minds. When John Mark—that young boy who lived in the bright warm home of a mother who received apostles and prophets after they had escaped from prison with angelic help, and who grew up to write the greatest hero story in the universe—records the feeding of the four thousand, he writes that Jesus “took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples.” And then Peter's friend Mark writes that Jesus, (perhaps smilingly, certainly knowingly and  compassionately) reached for “a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded them to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled.” As I read this, I wonder if He did or said anything different when He gave thanks and when he blessed. Or are they one and the same? Is gratitude the essence of blessing? Does it sanctify and set apart? Does it render a thing holy and wonderful and blessed? Does the act of thanksgiving make life more radiant, saintly, godly, blessed?

And this isn’t the only time this connection occurs in scripture. Matthew—that filthy treacherous publican who used to take taxes from hard-working gentle Jews to fill the coffers of their overreaching Roman overlords, and who immediately abandoned money at the first beckon of the Divine Rabbi and thus showed the true tenor of his heart—writes of the feeding of five thousand that the sensitive, holy Son of God “took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled.” And when he records the later feeding of four thousand, the words are almost identical, with one slight variation: “And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did eat, and were filled.” But the stories don’t end there. These are stories of abundance and extravagance. God’s grace was not only sufficient on these days to fill the hungry masses, but the profligate kindness of the mortal Messiah produced baskets and baskets of excess. Seven. Twelve. More than we can possibly eat. When I give thanks, I acknowledge and access the prodigality of God’s goodness. And I am blessed.  

During those last solemn hours with His mortal friends, Jesus broke bread and blessed wine. Both Matthew and Mark make the link between blessing and thanking obvious: “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they drank all of it.”

Joseph B. Wirthlin, that tender, temperate apostle with the small voice and enormous soul once said, “Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It softens our grief and heightens our pleasure. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent.”

My grandmother was a small, smiling woman. Her family was her life. She had eleven children in a small and loving home. She played the piano and my grandpa sang. When grandpa died, she was left with three small children still at home and no money. She taught piano lessons and trusted in miracles and grace. Every year at Christmas, she made batches and batches of strawberry jam. Every child and every grandchild got their own, with a small loaf of homebaked bread. And when I got married and had kids, I got a loaf and a jar of jam for every new member of the family. Everyone was family to grandma. She sent a dollar bill and a handmade birthday card without fail every year of my life. For me and my wife and my children and my forty-five cousins and all of their wives and husbands and children. She came to every baptism, every baby blessing, almost every baseball game. I don’t remember seeing my grandmother sad. When she was dying, her children and grandchildren took turns spending the night at her house. It’s just a matter of time, the nurses said, we just want to make sure she’s as comfortable as possible. There was lots of singing in those days around her bed. One night when I was sleeping over, I read to her from the Book of Mormon, sang her some of her favorite hymns, and asked her to tell me all the wicked things my father had ever done in his youth. She couldn’t come up with one. He was always such a sweet child, she said. If he hadn’t been so good, I wouldn’t have had any more children, she laughed. As it turned out, he was number six; five more would follow. After changing her briefs and her pads, I went to wash the dishes. The Christmas before, all of her progeny had banded together to buy her a dishwasher. She had lived for sixty-plus years of marriage with eleven children and she never had a dishwasher. As I rinsed the dishes in the sink to load into the automatic washer, I noticed a small sign I had seen before. It sat on the sill above the sink. It said, “Thank God for dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell: While others may go hungry, we’re eating very well.” I thought of my grandmother silently, smilingly washing dishes for all of her holy children for all of those years, and I sobbed at that sink as I thought of the power and beauty of a life defined by what is present rather than by what is not.

Gratitude is the highest form of praise. To acknowledge all that God is, all that He has done, all that He does, gives Him pleasure, I think. He does delight to bless us: “Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth . . . are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man.”

I spent two years living in Mexico as a missionary, and I wasn’t especially surprised at the poverty when I arrived there. I had expected dirt floors and one-room houses. I had not, perhaps, expected houses with no running water or cockroaches in the bathtub. But they did not shock me. The shock came when I returned home from that gentle, violent, miracle-ridden land. I remember very clearly my astonishment at the size of houses in my home state. And when I stepped into my parents’ house, I rolled on the ground with explosive, joyous laughter. My little sister thought I was crazy. And I was—crazy in love with carpet: wonderful, soft, miraculous carpet. I had not seen it for two years. And then, wonder of wonders, I stepped into the shower. I didn’t have to wear flip-flops to ward off cockroaches or snake bites or fungus. And when I turned the water on, not only did it come out of the faucet, but it rushed like a mighty river, with enough pressure to drench my whole body. It was the beginning of the cold season, and the wetness plummeting from this miraculous indoor waterfall was warm warm warm. I said a silent prayer of gratitude. And then it struck me: if I wanted to drink the water, I could, and I would not vomit violently, would not spend days in the bathroom, would, in fact, be nourished and refreshed. I cried, and my tears mingled with fresh, purified water. Now every shower is a prayer, if I remember. Every shower is a praisesong. And when I remember to give thanks, my life feels brighter, holier, blessed.

One of the greatest of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s holy sonnets is “God’s Grandeur”:

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

The whole commonplace world shimmers and sparks with a brilliant holiness. God’s grandeur is ever-present. I think that gratitude is the act of removing one’s shoes and wriggling our toes in the rich, astonishing earth. It is the removal of that which separates us from the divine. Every child’s face and every sunset and every blade of grass possesses “the dearest freshness;” everything glistens, glimmers, glows, glitters, gleams with a miraculous light. Gratitude is the lens through which this light is perceived. It is attentiveness and reverence, awe and affection. John Ames—my favorite fictional pastor—writes, “It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance—for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light.” In this passage it appears that visions of the divine come unannounced and apparently uninvited, which may be true in certain instances, but Ames recognizes that the temporary nature implied in these words does not quite do justice to his notion of theophany. He amends, “But the Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than [that] seems to imply. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?” When I live in thanksgiving, swim in gratitude, bask in open-eyed awareness of God’s goodness and the blessedness of life, I manifest such courage. I see and I bless.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Alma Mater

("Halo Repair" by Brian Kershisnik)

When I was a young boy, my mother read to me every night. She sang the world to me. She told me the stories that created my being. Every act of mothering is sacred. And every mother is a minister in the highest, holiest sense of the word, because every mother spends her life immersed in brilliant charity. When the Savior walked this lovely, dusty, weary, green planet, He elevated seemingly insignificant acts of service to a godly level. “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). I still marvel at the gentle selflessness my mother appears to have inherited from her mother, and I stand astonished at the greatness of my wife’s mother-soul—her willingness to give of herself, to gift her time, her love, her strength. How many of a mother’s everyday activities are exalted because they are the shadows of the very actions of the mortal Son of God? How often have I watched my wife wash small feet and thought of that last night Jesus spent with His closest friends in that warm upper room?

Often I’ve seen her bending over a bathtub to perform sacred ablutions for my lithe, holy children.

I saw the world anew today
Holiness written on every forehead
First morning
Morning stars
Morning songs of praise

My wife bathed my three holy children today
Anointed their heads with shampoo
Washed them with water
Clothed them in towels
Draped like robes

Oh, the holy

And I have watched four times in stunned powerless awe as she gave birth. That act seems as close to the saving act of the Atonement as anything I’ve ever witnessed. To suffer and to bleed so that another might have life. Isn’t that the very essence of Christ’s offering? David O. McKay, that gentle prophet whose devoted love for his wife Emma blessed the whole church, once said, “Motherhood is the one thing in all the world which most truly exemplifies the God-given virtues of creating and sacrificing. Though it carries the woman close to the brink of death, motherhood also leads her into the very realm of the fountains of life and makes her co-partner with the Creator in bestowing upon eternal spirits mortal life.”

Each mother has offered her body—has experienced discomfort and disfigurement and deep pain—so that others might live. Thinking of this one day, I wrote this poem. It’s called “Stretchmarks.”

Something holy happened here;
something sacred slept.
a luminescence brought to light—
premortal promise kept.

She wept, and as she strained,
in pain, to introduce to earth
pre-resurrection miracle:
this angelsong-bright birth.

Motherhood is not always popular, praised, or applauded in contemporary society. But it seems like Jesus’s priorities are more often than not at odds with the attitudes and foci of the world and culture that swirls around us. The things that matter most seem to be the quiet, simple things of everyday life: stories and songs and laughter and family and kindness and the beauty of the world and the lives of little ones. I suppose that motherhood ranks fairly high among these gentle, lovely, holy things. Neal Maxwell once said, “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this.”

So much of a mother’s life may seem uninteresting and unimpressive. But those who have eyes to see perceive. She is a healer. She is a creator. She is a teacher. When you think about what the Savior spent His mortal life doing, it seems like He did a whole lot of what I watch my wife do every day, and what I took for granted almost every day of my growing up years. He fed people. All the time. How often have I sat down to eat a meal that appeared on my table as if by miracle? Every meal offered by every mother at every table every night is a holy thing. Every meal is a chance for communion, a nourishing, a grace.

Even all the laundry that piles up and smells and needs to be folded and returned to closets. Even this is holy. Clothing in scripture is a symbol of covenant. And Jesus Christ was the first one to provide clothes for the newly distraught and naked Adam and Eve. One day our robes will be washed white in the blood of the Lamb. Until then, praise be to the mothers who keep us covered. The Hebrew word for cover, kaphar, is also the word translated as “atonement.”

When the Divine Mind sought for a perfect metaphor to express the love and devotion of the Savior for the inhabitants of this bruised, broken, blessed world, He came up with this: “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” He is the mother hen who would gather her chickens under her wings, who would give herself for the life of her brood.

As I snuggled you this morning in our bed,
I snuggled, too, two other hearts you made.
The one, our son, lay between us,
His fevered heart pounding.
I felt it through his unzipped pajamas
And thought of David and Absalom.
No wonder that father wept so.

Thank you for giving me a love like this.
The other heart, smaller, faster, fainter—
Still beating like bird wings under the umbrella
Of your strong, stable, mother-bird heart
What a blessed child to have you for mother.
Life within life. Light within light.
All these loves within the love we share.

On our kitchen counter,
The evidence of your bright hands’ work:
Sustaining bread, children’s homework, and
This paper profusion of hearts.
Symbol of your life-giving, love-quickening power.

Four times I have watched in utter powerlessness as my wife has performed the ordinance of childbirth: the desire to help, the inability to do. Just as the Father had to allow the Son to suffer alone on the cross, the gift of agony that brings life is a solitary struggle. The mother is alone with the babe to be born, the new universe to be brought forth.

Her scream was a song
As she sang you to light
People speak of birth—almost flippantly—as a miracle
Almost like a magic trick,
With a wave of a wand
And Voila! See it!

But if you’ve seen it,
You know it's not like that.
It is a miracle in the most expansive sense—
A grace
A mercy

The miracle is your mother—
The pain she bore to bear you,
The grace she gave to give you air:
Divine means of help or strength

Every father knows the impotent vigil
Of prayer and powerlessness
Hope in a power beyond
Trust in lovingkindness
Love for the one who sacrifices to give life

How many times is Jesus likened unto a mother
In scripture?
No better image.