grace is…

i met a man this morning in Hardees who was very intelligent and friendly. we spoke of many things over biscuits and gravy and coffee. he shared his distress about the plight of so many children, including his own, who are forced to become latch-key kids. while talking with him, i had flash backs of my own times when my son was home alone.

hours would go by before he would see me. i callously neglected what he needed the most–his mommy. no wonder he is barely a part of my life now. he has endured the hurt that i cannot often admit to. it is the fodder for tearful afternoons seated in a sunny window or the catalyst for curling into a quiet ball on Sunday afternoons.  

Shameful as it is, come to think of it, i sometimes shudder to think that i might care more now for the well-being of my dogs than i worried about what was happening to my son at age 9, 10, 11. shameful past, but  just that, the past. i have learned so much in the years since he lived that way.  I will have to answer for this come judgment day…but

grace allowed him to survived the disaster known at “me as a mother”.

grace is what has forgiven me for my lack of judgment.

grace is what brought my mother into my son’s life to save and shelter him.

before i met the kind man frustrated about his children, i had begun working on a piece about a six-month-old baby boy who died at the hands of his father. it’s needless to say a difficult , sad piece, but here’s where i started:

with hollowed out eyes
Jasmine grieves
for Jeremiah
who lies cold in the grave
snow-covered grave
ice-cold grave
coldest-night-in-January grave
his life ceased
everything when dark
one January morning
and Jasmine grieves
crying fresh, salty tears
only the mothers of children
can cry
and a voice in the distance whispers
mothers should not bury their children
mothers should not bury their children

I want the piece to conclude with speculation about the grace of God at work in the lives of children who die before their time. is it divine intervention that spares them from far greater ungodly harm at the hands of parents, teachers, boy- or girl-friends? Who can say?

only God knows for sure.

but speculation is what poets do best; that’s why poetry is so sacred. at times by grace, we can access the mind of Christ.


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