Our Mama loves us. Your Mama loves you.
I’m not talking about the woman who birthed you, although she’s probably got love, too. I mean the Mother, the animating spirit and expression of our planet. She feeds us every day, gives us what we need for shelter, clothes, medicine, and transportation, and does it with gorgeous color and variety. She manages countless complex ecosystems, keeping them all precisely balanced. She’s been doing these things since time out of mind, for each and every single one of Her creatures. It’s just what She does. We used to appreciate how amazing this blessed relationship was, and we did our part to celebrate and reciprocate with Her. We were grateful and careful.
Somewhere along the line, we stopped loving Her back. We went Prodigal on Her, even though there was nowhere else to be. We decided She was something to be tamed as we bought into the lie of “dominion.” Oh, we might say, “I love nature. I’m as green as the next guy,” but we’re not being entirely honest if what we mean by “love” is that we like going to the beach or we gave to a wildlife charity once. That’s not love – it’s acquaintanceship, or worse, a politically correct effort to sound like a good person, because nobody wants to admit to being the ass who doesn’t recycle.
When we stopped loving Her back, we felt estranged and deeply alone, and those feelings have stayed with us for generations, such that we’ve even forgotten what we’re missing. All we know is a sense of void, of being unworthy and disconnected. We’ve forgotten how it feels to cherish our interdependence, our familial relationship to all living things. Estrangement has made us hungry for connection and comfort that we can’t find, no matter how hard we try. And try we have.
That elusive love we’ve really been after has made us hungry, greedy, and our mantra is MORE. MORE to fill our empty hands, MORE to make us important, MORE to make us feel for a split second that we’re loved and secure. Finding our needs still unmet (for how could they be met by the insanity that created them?), we’ve taken Her blood. We’ve extracted Her teeth, cut Her hair and sold it, displaced her creatures and lain Her to waste, all the while calling it our right as top-of-the-food-chain victors. The constant craving for MORE has made us think we could dig bottomless holes in our Mother. We stopped feeding Her what She needed to thrive, while constantly demanding MORE. We need these things, we say.
Maybe the scope of the damage we’re doing is too hard to look at. Maybe we remember deep in some neuron or bit of marrow what it feels like to love Her and know She loves us back, and we can’t fathom the pain and distress of what’s become of our relationship. We armor ourselves against that pain and fear with defensiveness. We blame our brothers for the mess we helped them make.
Our Mother has been incredibly patient with us. Like any benevolent parent, She is waiting for Her beloved little ones to figure it out. She cries out in pain and sets boundaries here and there, hoping over and over again that we’ll pay attention, that it’s not too late and we still know how to hear. She’s holding out hope that we’ll come to our senses – literally: come back to our hearts, eyes, and ears. She misses our love, like any mother would, and is desperate for us to remember how ceaselessly She cares for us.
Have you felt Her—really felt Her, like a breathing animal beneath you? Have you heard the birds and known that they are your cousins calling out? Have you let the wind caress your cheek, the ocean kiss your feet, holding all of this in your heart, and knowing that it is right and good that you are here? That you have a home and a responsibility in the beautiful balance of things?
Can you relinquish your greedy MORE and accept your birthright as a child of Mama?
If we know ourselves to be the Prodigals, we can return home to Her after so many generations of estrangement. We can grieve with Her all the time lost, falling into Her arms in sorrow and joy. We can begin to comfort each other and live as family once again. We will fill the desperate void with the only thing we’ve ever really been missing: love for Mama.