Circle of Care

Lisa Bovee-Kemper

In religious community, we share our joys and our triumphs, our sorrows and our broken places.

In this circle of care, we make space for the complexity of life, the myriad experiences that bless and break our hearts. The truth of human experience dictates that on any given day, we each come to the table with hearts in different places. It is especially so on this day, invented to honor women who nurture.

In this circle of care, we honor the truth that mothering is not and never will be quantified in one single descriptor. Mothering can be elusive or infuriating, fulfilling or confusing, commonplace or triumphant. It exists in the every day experiences of each person. There is no human being that is not connected to or disconnected from a mother.

And so we honor the complexity of experience, writ large in flowered platitudes, but here in this space laid bare, honoring the truth in each of our hearts. There is room for all in this circle:

If you have carried a child or children, whether or not they came to be born, we see you.

If you have fervently wished to do so, and circumstances of fate made it impossible, we see you.

If you love children we cannot see, whether because of death or estrangement, we see you.

If you never wanted to be a mother, we see you.

If you are happy to mother other people’s children, as an educator, an auntie, or a foster parent, we see you.

If your mother hurt you, physically or emotionally, we see you.

If you had no mother at all, we see you.

If your mother is or was your best friend, we see you.

If your gender says you are not a mother, and yet you take on the role of nurturer, we see you.

If you wonder whether your mothering has been enough, we see you.

And if yours is a different truth altogether, we honor your unspoken story.

There is room for all in this circle. May it be so, today and always.