As a tiny girl, often, my mom and I, prayed the prayer, “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.” I was always comforted by this bedtime ritual. As an adult, when I think on the memory, I find I am blessed just as much now, as I was then; perhaps even more. Thus was the inspiration for this poem.
“Mama, thank you for the foundations of strength you’ve given me. I am a better woman because of you.”
(Many seem to find God elusive, but I talk to Him everyday)
[Me:] Lord, will there be front porches in heaven?
[God:] Why would you need a front porch?
[Me:] Well, it was on a front porch where I first learned to shell butter beans. I remember sitting with mama, shelling beans from a big old metal dish pan. I would shell those plump bean pods until my thumb hurt and turned green…literally.
[God:] So, you would like a front porch in heaven to shell butter beans?
[Me:] Um…well..to be honest, I guess I never really liked shelling those ole beans, and sometimes it was way too hot; as I grew up in North Carolina and the summers there can be pretty toasty.
[God:] If you didn’t like the shelling and the heat, why would you ask for a front porch?
[Me:] Well, when I think back to those days I feel happy…but…I also feel sad… I guess, that would mean the memories are bittersweet?
[God:] Tell me what you remember.
[Me:] Are you sure, God? I know you are extremely busy and you do have a world to oversee.
[God:] I’m never too busy for you, my child.
[Me:] Well…if you’re sure…(God smiles at me) I remember those summer mornings when my mama came home, after working all night at JP Steven’s Cotton Mill. It was early, the grass still wet from dew and the sun still low enough for the morning to be cool, she and I would go to the garden and pick whatever was ready for picking. I still remember the feel of the cool earth cradling my bare feet, its darkness spilling over and between my toes. We went from row to row picking those ole beans and I thought, at the time, we would never finish. Afterward, mama found two of her biggest bowls, one always being the dish pan from which we washed our dishes, and she filled them, near to overflowing with the beans we had just picked. By that time the sun had risen higher and its heat kissed and freckled my skin. (I pause with nostalgia) Just me and my mama sitting together on the front porch…(A tear escapes my eye)
[God:] Why do you cry?
[Me:] I miss my mama. (tears flow down my cheeks)
[God:] Dear child, front porches are nice, but it was never the porch that made those times special; instead, it was the time you spent with your mama.
[Me:] (Now I’m crying…my heart hurting, longing to be on the front porch shelling beans with mama, again.)
[God:] Oh..my child, I know you miss your mama. She’s here with me and I’m taking good care of her. Your mama wants you to know how much she loves you and she too is missing you. Trust me, my child, one day the divide will be bridged so we can all live together, forever…never again to be separated; and on that day I will wipe away all tears.
[Me:] Thank you, God. I love you.
[God:] I love you too. And…Lisa…
[Me:] Yes, Lord…
[God:] There will be front porches in heaven.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.