True Confessions of an Interim

May 9, 2024

By The Rev. Dr. Carl Grosse

Recently, my sister came across a folder of papers among our mother’s things. My sister took on the role of curator after Mom died, keeping important documents and artifacts. Now that she’s looking to downsize, there’s stuff to unload, including some of Mother’s things. This particular folder contained over 15 years of my Pastor’s Page from monthly newsletters at churches I pastored. Mom clipped out just my portion and saved them in this folder.

I remember Mom telling me she did this. I’d call her every Saturday morning for a chat, and from time to time she’d mention her collection of Pastor’s Pages. She was sad when they stopped in late 2005, after I stepped away from full time church work and went to the dark side as a storm trooper in the corporate empire. She died before I re-joined the rebellion and once again cranked out Pastor’s Pages. Maybe she knows about these True Confessions, and it’s easy to imagine her smirking at my faux sleaze title: “Oh Carl, is that really necessary?”

Like many of you, my relationship with Mom was complicated, a mysterious blend of difficulty and comfort and inspiration and human frailty. As a kid, I’d make Mother’s Day cards with lined notebook paper and crayons, writing my own original poetry:

Roses are red, violets are blue,
Mom’s fried chicken is great, and that is true

She saved some of those more than likely. She was like that. She also lost her temper with me on occasion, and unfortunately I gave her too many occasions. As an adult, I’ve uncovered some evidence that she came into motherhood less than enthusiastically. She even confessed to me that when she found out she was pregnant with me, she resented it. I take information like that and try to add perspective on things, like her saving scraps of my hack attempts at literary genius. She might have had mixed feelings about motherhood and me, but she tried – really tried – to be a good mother.

Love doesn’t always look like Hallmark cards or movies. Love doesn’t always meet our expectations, nor should it. Our task is to grow in our ability to recognize love when we encounter it. If we too easily see love in a cross, we probably don’t understand either very well. I am learning more and more to see ways Mom loved me, and I find that regrettably I missed it the first time around. Now I miss her, and am glad to take that as a sign of love continuing to grow.