My mother used to pray for a certain number of children in her family. She had a total of nine children, and all but two were grown up. The other two children, both older than fourteen, were able to delay her, for reasons which will not be discussed here, but she did not mind praying for these other children.
In the morning after breakfast, when the children rose and were dressed, mom would say aloud, “Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Please bless these children. Teach them that you too want these children to be happy. In your Name, please bless these children. Thank you, Lord.”
Sometimes she prayed these prayers, and felt, even without uttering them, that the Word in her mouth was a sufficient supply to keep her going every day and make her cheerful when she went to work.
As I got older, and after having been married to a pretty little lady named Jean Shepherd, who yourself took to the Lord like a duck to the ocean, I got a little frustrated with these long, drawn-out prayers. I wanted them to be over in a minute. It took mother earth 2,000 years to bring me, my first child. It took Jeananna’s mother less than 1 year of praying for me to conceive, by the way.
Jeananna would come up to me after church sometimes and talk about her mother, with tears streaming down her face. It was always sweet to hear her speak of her mother. When she referred to her as “Sweet Pea” it was effecting. I called her by that. Mother always had a way of making you feel good about a situation.
I didn’t understand the prayer language I read about in the Bible, with its cast laws, formalism, and its various forbidden fruit, until I hit an ordinary conversation with my friends after a while. I could feel them putting their little fingers into their ears to hear God or the Holy Spirit.
I found it very comforting to simply talk to God as if He was a glitch in the wall of my hearing and to get my fears out by talking about my lunch. It was comforting because I knew He had my good at heart, and He could hear the alarming questions I had when a particular problem came up. I didn’t need to explain or justify my actions to others. They trusted me.
All the while, though, I wondered if maybe I wasn’t destined to be a nun, maybe I was destined to be a mother with children.
I thought of others whom I had known in the monastery, the women who had so clearly had divine sons, and I wondered what they had in common with my life in a monastery. I thought of the days when I had to suckle my baby fingers as a teen. They had at least one thing in common — I had a car accident. Maybe I was destined to be a mechanic, or a nurse, doctor, or a nurse herself someday! I also thought I was destined to be a writer, although I didn’t have my first book.
But I never followed up to those thoughts after taking a few years to figure things out. It was when things happened in my thirties that I began to think where had my life gone.
I was forty-nine years old when my mileage ray crossed the New Jersey Turnpike with a gigantic bullet in it that ran between a semi-trailinganic eighteen-wheel truck and me and missed. I was fifty-seven years old when I got that marriage certificate, which happened after being Pink Island, missive and not wanting to be a nun. From then on, I am what the exodus of thousands — more of my family than I’m able to count — has called home.
I am a spiritual being, without a human body, who’s known the Lord my God, who has run up against evil on many past lifetimes whose crimes have Lemped my Father Billy Joe, the Archangel Michael, in order to help those including my own self, who asked for help without knowing where to turn.
There’s a song that I like to sing called “Live Like You Were Dying” that I think captures what it means to live your life courageously. But I have to add a few words of instruction to the end of that sung to make it a little less heartfelt for those who are not clairvoyants: Don’t look for happy songs, love songs, or sentimental songs about mommy and daddy. Go for the ones that are written by people who aren’t afraid of dying, who write about the gifts of facing death every day just the way we all have. It happens, folks. We all have, no matter how well you think you’ve managed it financially, qualified or not. It happens. It happens.