I remember one time, when my kids were much smaller, maybe 5 and 2 years old, we had just gotten over a horrendous family stomach flu. You know the kind~ where just like dominos, everyone goes down? One by one, everyone is violently, grossly sick, all over the house. And then, after scrubbing the bathrooms and doing 15 loads of laundry and taking care of everyone for days, finally the Mom gets it too?
I distinctly remember speaking to my dear mother at the time over the phone, from a safe, non-contagious distance, and she said, compassionately: “Oh Love, I’m so sorry. You know~ Motherhood is an utterlythankless job.”
And while the truth is I actually feel immensely appreciated as a mother, and profoundly grateful as my mother’s daughter, I totally understand where the saying is born from. Don’t you?
Mothers give endlessly, night and day, in infinitely seen and unseen ways. We show up to love and care for the children because we must; because it calls to us; it is our sacred duty. We fall short in undeniable ways, we absolutely hate it some days, we unconsciously wound our offspring with our own unhealed wounds and blind spots, it’s a total mess a lot of the time, but wow do we LOVE them: dearly, profoundly, vulnerably, endlessly, and often thanklessly.
And think of all the invisible, thankless jobs that people do in this world~ to support our flowing with the current of life, our receiving of nourishment, of health, of blessing, of beauty? Think of the farmers who grow and harvest the food that lands magically in our grocery carts and then our refrigerators, the trash truck drivers and street cleaners, the dishwashers in restaurants who scrub clean our plates, the sweepers and the moppers of the world, the countless hidden masses whose work never gets acknowledged?
And yet~ what does this lack of acknowledgment throw back upon the un-thanked? What value and self-worth must we discover and know for ourselves, if that thanks from the world is not always forthcoming?
Really, as lovely and undeniably supportive it is to experience others appreciation; to be seen for what we’ve brought through our evolving hearts, to be acknowledged for that delicious, nourishing dinner we just cooked, or the thoughtful and generous gift we gave? To be celebrated for the inspiring poem or song that moved though us, that amazing meeting we just facilitated or session we just offered? To be admired for that random act of kindness, or even just the beauty we naturally embody and extend…
As good as this feels~ to be appreciated, seen, and acknowledged, doesn’t others thankfulness simply PALE in comparison to this pure flood of thankfulness that arises within our own hearts?Tell the truth.
And what if it is the very same invitation in relation to bringing our precious gifts, our tender offerings, our truest hearts into the world?
What if it turns out that showing up and shining and sharing what we are here to share, letting out what’s within us, is actually “a thankless job?” At least a good part of the time? And what if, just like Motherhood, it is never intended to be a perfect, flawless expression? What if instead it is inherently loaded with limitations, humbling stumbles and downright mistakes?
Yet it is our sacred duty, our calling, nonetheless~ regardless of ever being thanked or appreciated for bringing through and raising up what we must?
What an invitation this is~ to find the essential shift of attention within us: from the necessity of being thanked, to the imperative of BEING The Thanks? From the necessity of being loved, to the imperative of Being Love?
In this then we are given an opportunity to GIVE for what we receive in the giving, with all the beauty, tedium, angst and evolution it inspires within us.
No~ not just to be thanked or acknowledged, celebrated or loved. But more so as to be lived, purely and truly and fully by Life; so as to BE the unique expression of Thanks and Love we came to be.