01/08/2014 08:57 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Mother's Love

Many years ago a friend of mine once told me how I mothered all our friends. I remember feeling initially insulted, "put off" in some way. She actually said "Jimmy, you mother us all, more than you know." And I thought to myself, "Really? Couldn't you have just said something like, Jimmy, you father us all?"

Anyhow, that innocent remark has often re-visited me over the years, and with the Great Gift of Mother Time, I have been able to see and accept those words in the loving way they were spoken. They have become for me somewhat of a gentle reminder, something to live up to, and I now feel honored when I'm able to show up in friendship in what might be perceived as "a motherly way."

Never stronger have I felt the presence of "A Mothers Love," than I did today.

When I offered to take my brother to his 8am dentist appointment, of course I could see my mother smiling above in heaven. "You are such a good son!" I imagine she would be thinking. After I dropped him off, I went to get my morning coffee, and while i was waiting for my caffeine, I noticed a young man sitting by himself at a table nearby.

I asked "How are you?" and he replied rather curtly, "I've had better days."

For some reason, I didn't let his answer stop me from asking "Why?"

You'd think when he said "I'm not going to go into it with you" I would've stopped then and there, but I didn't. After all, I'm a firm believer in never knowing when or where our next great teacher is going to appear, and I thought for a moment, he might be mine.

Although I may have felt a bit "put off," ( like being told 'I mothered all our friends'), I let the temporary rejection quickly pass, and I went ahead and asked his name.

"My name is Cortis."

With this answer, his heavy heart became even clearer to me, so I surrendered my inquisition, but not before telling him I thought he had an amazing mother. "Anyone who would name their son Cortis, well, that is a woman I would love to know!" I said, and I proceeded to leave the coffee shop.

As I drove away, I wished I had stayed long enough to give Cortis a copy of my CD, but decided to move on and off I went to my favorite spot overlooking the ocean to enjoy my coffee. I took the usual pictures I so often take of that sacred view, this time with the thought of a young man named Cortis in my mind.

I began randomly sharing the photos with family and friends, wishing they too could savor such a view. I had just taken the most beautiful picture and hit "send" to my brother, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, Cortis re-appeared.

Like an apparition, he walked over to me and said very quietly, "Thank you for those kind words you said about my mother."

I didn't realize what I'd said back in the coffee shop, or that even bringing up his mother might have been the source of his sadness, but when he told me "yesterday was her birthday" I knew she was no longer with us.

Maybe it comes from having lost a parent, but on some strange and unspoken level, once you have said goodbye to the one who brought you here, it's as if you know intuitively when others have suddenly joined that club. He showed me a picture of his two and a half year old son, and I saw the little angel who would never know his grandmother, with eyes that began to well for a woman I too would never know.

I told him I thought our mothers had brought us together, perhaps to remember them in that very moment, and I handed him the CD I wished I'd given him just thirty minutes before.

I said, "When you can Cortis, please listen to track #3, it's a song my brother wrote for all of us who have lost our mothers."

As I walked away, I looked out into the great ocean before me and felt the purity of a mother's love. I could see her face in each glistening ray of light, and I smiled back as the words that once insulted me, now showered my entire being with a healing glow:

"Jimmy, You mother all our friends."

In fact, I believe we all do,

so much more than we may ever know . . .

~ for Andrew