Parable for Mothers

The young mother set her foot in the path of life. “Is the way long?” she asked.

And her guide said, “Yes. And the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.”

But the young mother was happy and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and life was good, and the young mother said, “Nothing will be lovelier than this.”

The night came, and the storm; the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold; and mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, “Oh mother, we are not afraid, for you are near and no harm can come.” The mother said, “This is better than the brightness of day, for I have taught them courage.”

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary, but at times she said to the children, “A little patience and we are there.” So the children climbed and when they reached the top, they said, “We could not have done it without mother,” and the mother, when she lay down at night, said: “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardiness. Yesterday I gave them courage -- today I gave them strength.”

And the next day came strange clouds -- clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled; the mother said, “Look up. Lift your eyes to the light.” The children looked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them and brought them beyond the darkness. “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God,” said the mother.

And the days went on, and years, and the mother grew old and bent: But her children were strong and walked with courage. And when the way was hard, they helped their mother; and when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was light as a feather. At last they came to a hill beyond which they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide.

The mother said, “I have reached the end of my journey and I know the end is better than the first, for my children can walk alone, and theirs after them.”

The children said: “You will always walk with us.” As they watched her go alone and the gates closed after her it was said: “We cannot see her, but she is still with us. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence.”