a life of faith at nautilus teachings

grace entered my life
like the soft wind
caressing the shore…
my head slightly bowed
almost in reverence
to the power
of mother ocean
and the changing
tides of my life…
from birth
i knew
one day
my footprints
would be solo
so from first breath
i drew my life
from my faith…
i was 5 years old
when i met my aging self.
the day was sunny
warm, birds chirping
i could smell the
lilacs blooming
outside my open window…
the wind was gentle
when i felt my
tiny self crumble
to the floor
my breath stop
my little lids close
i left my body
and sat in the palm
of God’s hand…
below me, i watched
my mother frantically
call the paramedics
who were there in
less than 5 minutes
because the firehouse
was at the bottom
of the hill
across the street
from my favorite place
Lord’s park…
in those few minutes
i knew
my life
was full of God’s love
grace and protection…


i saw an elderly woman
with long gray hair
in a flannel nightgown
with her eyes closed
floating beside me
then i saw God’s other hand
lift the woman
place her next to me…
i felt a transference of
one life to the other
the air filled my lungs
i opened my eyes
gazed up at the men
and then my mother
and smiled…
i told my mother all
about meeting God
and the older woman
she smiled
held me close
and then together
we kneeled before
her golden praying hands
while she
thanked God for
bringing me back
to her…
from that day on
i believed i was here
to save my mother
from her life.
maybe she did not need that.
maybe she was really happy.
maybe i was completely wrong.
after all, i was only 5…
i spoke very little
i observed everything
and as much as i feared
my brothers ugliness
toward me
it never stopped me
from being my mothers shadow
watching her cook,
clean, create…
i can still see her smile
hear her laugh
in that little house
on linden avenue
in elgin illinois…
i can still smell her scent
see her ruby red lips
feel the softness of her hands,
just as easily as i can
hear my brothers
back talking to her
my father yelling
blaming
and putting her down…


which is why
no matter what
i vowed to God
i would protect my mother…
maybe this was one of the
reasons,
among many
that i hid,
eavesdropped on
conversations.
peered through key holes…
maybe it was one of the
reasons
my brothers
hated me
hurt me
making me feel
unwanted
unloved
and worthless…
i just knew things
before other people.
i believe it was the
holy spirit speaking
to me
when i was young
because i know
it was the holy spirit
speaking to me
for a fact
from the time i was 11
up until today
at the age of 55…
call me crazy
don’t believe me
it does not matter…
my faith runs deep
my faith sustains me
my faith-
not religion-
is my center…
for some people
religion and faith
go hand in hand…
it never has for me.
sure,
i loved being raised in
the church
and my children
grew up, themselves
with a church family…
it was what saved me
knowing every sunday
i would bow before God
in the holiest of places
ask for forgiveness
and leave after the service
much lighter
happier
knowing
in any sanctuary
i was safe
and at home.
all my mentors
we pastors,
and still are…
i have spent my entire life
trying to connect the dots
painting dots for air
surrounding all my images
with a black line
to protect them
from the poison
encompassing my reality…
then one day in 2005
i rebelled against my adult life,
a life i had chosen
a life i had endured
a life so filled with ugliness
pain, disappointment
that left me feeling
completely broken
useless as a woman
or mom
churches did not help
they only thing that did help
praying
meditating
doing yoga
letting my faith surround me
cradle me
i hopped inside God’s pocket
and spoke those few words
every believer says,
“Lord, lead me life…”