God, mom and me at nautilus teachings

we are connected
HE, she and i.
from conception
HE held me
began molding
and forming
my entire being
inside and out….
from birth she
knew my every need
her embrace
encompassed me
and her strong faith
took root within me…
as i grew i began
hearing HIS voice
reading HIS words
singing HIM praises
HE never left my side…
she knew this.
every morning before
her coffee and cigarette
she got down on
bended knee
clasped her hands
around the big
golden painted
Jesus hands
and prayed
as tears
cascaded down her cheeks
as the sun began rising
the birds chirping
and feeding their young
as the stars faded
she rose up
held me
and whispered in my ear
Jesus loves you,
baby girl.
She would walk me
down the long winding sidewalk
to the mosaic glass covered church
I would watch her write out songs
for us to learn in sunday school
on huge sheets of paper
watch her hands build
individual angels for every child
teaching them to live
in the knowing
every day
angels in heaven and on earth
are all around us…

i got to wander
throughout the whole church
but she never worried
or needed to look for me
because she knew
HE was there
protecting me.
I would wander to the
lower level classrooms
filled with tiny paintings
of HIM
i would kneel
just like her
and pray
just like her
and cry
just like her…
when i would open my eyes
colors were always
dancing upon the walls
from the light cascading
through the mosaic glass windows…
when i was small
i thought this was HIS message to me
i needed to fill the world
with color
and faith…
my next stop was always
the sanctuary
where i would walk all the way
up to the front
where the pastor
preached his sermons
in front of the huge
Jesus holding a lamb
and a staff
and sit at HIS feet
She would always smile
when i ran back into
her classroom
i was filled up
with HIS love
for another day.
then we would begin
our long journey home
winding down back streets
sometimes stopping at
the tiny triangle park
by the church to play
other days popping into
a neighbors house
for her to chat
drink coffee
and enjoy another cigarette
but my favorite days
were when she would
walk with me around
the lagoons at
Lords Park.

it was my
sanctuary and safe place
i ran to every time
my demon headed brothers
would chase me
pick on me
or whatever torture
the two of them
had dreamed up
while lying in their beds
the night before!
it was also the place
i could talk to the animals
roll in the leaves
watch the waterfall
spin around until
i could take no more
swing super high
and jump off
landing in soft sand
or just observe
all the people.
my favorite times
were when the bear,
lion and snack were in
cages in the side of the hill
when i looked at them
it made my heart beat
triple time
then i would run
to the creek
take off my shoes
and hop in the cool waters
chasing minnows and frogs
picking wild flowers…
when i would come home
she was there
with a cold drink
and warm fresh cookies
she was always smiling
and i knew
it was because
of HIM
for i could see no other
reason she would wish
to stay in this
old gray house
with the big blue rug
scrubbing floors
and ironing clothes
unless she knew too
HE would protect her.
when i was 9
on a bright shiny day
in july
as she sat all greased up
with baby oil in the backyard
cigarette in hand
she said,
“Ya know, sher, I’m going to die young.”
I remember this so clearly
because it was the second time
i remember my breath leaving
my lungs
and HIS hands cradling me
in assurance
no matter what
HE has my back.
I spoke very few words
most of my life
and on this day
i just looked at her
with squinting eyes
and fell into her arms
taking in her scent
and all the sounds
of the day
i began losing her
to HIM.
10 years later
when she turned 50
she refused to go to work
or get out of bed,
“my time is nearing it’s end, Sher,”
she said to me.
when my father got home
he made her get up
so she dressed in black
with no make up
did not brush her teeth
and just sat
with a glass of wine
in the dark front room…
soon her friends arrived
and kidnapped her
in a van filled
with fresh clothes
make up
food and wine
taking her to a tom jones concert.
when i rose the next morning
she was off to work
and upon returning
later in the day
i found her kneeling
hands wrapped around the
big golden Jesus hands
crying while she prayed
in the dark.
all i could do was love her.
HE gave me her.
HE welcomed her home
5 years later.
we are connected
HE, she and i.
God, mom and me.

dory & sher 1968