My Morning Mantra: A Gift from My Mom By Katy, Wife, Writer, and Yoga Instructor • January 8, 2019
Growing up, my mom used to wake us up singing an old show tune that celebrated morning. “Good morning! Good morning!” it started, set to an overly cheerful tune.
And her refrains were usually met with a few grumpy groans from my sister and me as we struggled to wake up for each school day. But Mom refused to let us wallow in our pre-breakfast grogginess. That’s when she recited her mantra.
“This is the day the Lord has made,” she would say every day. “We shall rejoice and be glad in it!”
She lived by that mantra until the day she took her last breath, always finding joy in spite of her multiple sclerosis, which subtly stalked her for 30 years before taking a dramatic turn for the worse near the end.
During the first 25 years of my life, I watched Mom glide through her own as a glamorous mover and shaker. She hosted parties, served on committees, raised three kids, and drove carpool. And she continued to do most of those things even when she began having trouble walking and using her right hand.
But she always repeated her mantra each morning, assuring me in person or over the phone that we always have the opportunity to choose gladness over gloom.
More than four years after the passing of my gorgeous mom, I can still hear her encouraging me with those words. And since that time, they have become my own personal mantra. While Mom is not physically present anymore to coach me through those moments of pain or disappointment with joy, her spirit forever surrounds me. I know that the best way to honor her is by living my life through her example.
When I wake up each morning, I repeat my mantra in my mind before I lift my head off the pillow. Some mornings, when I can see the sunlight streaming through the sliver curtain that hangs in my bedroom, getting into that mindset is easy.
But of course, there are other days when connecting with my joy takes a little more effort. That’s when I repeat my mantra again and again, and I take strength from the symbols of my faith that I keep on my nightstand, right next to a photo of my wonderful mom and me. It is a memory that was captured at an airport before I boarded a flight to Avignon, France, where I spent a spectacular summer in the wake of a disorienting exacerbation that occurred early on in my disease. I think I enjoyed that summer even more because of the pain that I had just overcome.
Life is full of blessings, abundance, heartache, and loss. We always have the option to embrace each experience with equal gratefulness and joy, giving thanks by repeating those simple and breathtaking words:
“This is the day that the Lord has made. We shall rejoice and be glad in it.”
Thank you, my mommy. I love you so much.
What do you do to lift your spirit? Please tell us.
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