Yesterday at church I did enjoy the story about Cornelia Gracchuser – a famous mother from Rome. (Yes, I just erased the 3 paragraphs I wrote about what I don’t enjoy at church on Mother’s Day – you’ve been spared.)
I researched Cornelia a bit today and found that she gave birth to 12 children (uncommon of Roman times.) Only three of her children survived until adulthood. She was widowed at an early age and devoted herself to her children, refusing all offers of marriage. Her daughter married well, and her two sons (Tiberius and Gaius) ended up as very influential tribunes (like a US Senator) in Rome. They were known as “the Gracchi” – they both ended up dying for their unpopular political views which included the ideas that land monopolies should be limited, the price of corn controlled, and citizenship improved for Italians and Spaniards. Essentially they were pro-underdog and the rich people didn’t like it and had them killed for stirring up the people in popular support.
Cornelia is well remembered as a virtuous Roman woman. The city erected a marble statue in her honor after her death. She stood by her sons throughout their lives and remained poised after their deaths. Perhaps though she is most spoken of because of a very small incident that occurred. She was well-off being the daughter of a war hero and the widow of politician, but it seems that Cornelius didn’t let the wealth rob her of perspective as a mother.
When a wealthy lady visitor came and showed off her jewelry, instead of Cornelius showing off hers in return she brought forth her two sons and said, “These are my jewels.”
How much I want to remember that my children are my greatest jewels. Modern society (like ancient Rome) makes it easy to forget that our children are so much greater than any material wealth we can obtain. I, like so many others, get caught up in other women showing off their treasures and want to have my own to shove right back in their face.
Yesterday as I looked out the window and saw my girls lovingly chatting with each other on the old dilapidated trampoline and then later caught Abigail in the second-hand hammock rocking Caroline,
I wonder if you all heard me around the world as I shouted:
“These are my jewels.”
Hopefully God will help me remember them in all their glory the next time I look in my outdated closet, go on another free date night, and especially when I have to force myself to cook yet one more frugal meal.