Derry men and their doting mothers

Growing up you can take many things for granted and seldom appreciate the enormous sacrifices made particularly by our parents. As the eldest child at home I often regressed into the comfortable world of being raised as a Derry man. Considering how my mother was from Strabane this was no mean achievement.

Growing up you can take many things for granted and seldom appreciate the enormous sacrifices made particularly by our parents. As the eldest child at home I often regressed into the comfortable world of being raised as a Derry man. Considering how my mother was from Strabane this was no mean achievement.

The outlook was simple, as a child you played on being helpless, lazy and inept, to most Derry males this came naturally. Your ambition was to border on being the very incarnation of uselessness in the hope that most things would be done for you, especially by your mother. You knew you had made it as a Derry man when in your 30s you were still really living at home even though physically you had moved out. The umbilical cord has never been broken.

A man born and raised in Derry may have moved from the nest but most Derry men will return several times a day to be fed, watered and have their socks ironed! Due to being conditioned from birth, a Derry man will continue to base his world view on the rock or the centre of his universe, otherwise known as his mother. The greatest irony is how sisters, wives and partners will lament the spoilt nature of the male species in their own generation whilst zealously creating in their own sons the next generation of male dependents. If a Derry woman starts to lambast and slag her son never make the mistake of agreeing, within a second you’ll have made a lifelong enemy for daring to criticise the greatest thing since sliced bread. My nephew is in a league of his own in this regard and I’m not pleased he has taken my place on my mother’s mantelpiece. My photo is now in the backroom with my father’s boxing trophies.

From our experience of family life we begin to realise how the true nature of love involves sacrifice. Love is a word or a phase which is often used too readily without any real meaning or depth. True love has the other person at its heart. When we can sacrifice and surrender all our needs in favour of the needs of our family, friends and neighbour then we begin to witness to God’s love in the world. Jesus places no limits to his love; he loves all of us as his brothers and sisters. Jesus reveals the true face of the Father and God loves his children as jealously as any parent. During the season of Lent we confront ourselves with the radical nature of Jesus’ message. Sometimes we fall into the temptation to concentrate solely on the scene on the mountain when Jesus is transfigured in his heavenly glory. The true wonder of Jesus can be found on the scandal of the cross. God’s Son hands himself over to suffering and dies for our sake. Through Jesus’ offering of himself we are saved from the darkness of eternal death.