This morning I awoke warm and comfortable. My pillow top mattress cradling my back and my featherbed, one giant bag filled with down, cloaking my body. It is Sunday morning, an excellent day to rest in the Lord. So I roll to the left, escaping my cocoon of feathers, and peek over the side of my bed. Two sweet children lay on my floor, with the innocence of childhood still tattooed on their faces, deep in sleep.
As a mother, I glory in the sight of my offspring. As a mother, I like to stare at the treasures I have been given. I have discovered that the purity of their glory can be viewed best when they are sound asleep. In this day and age of selfies, where powder and paint, and photo retouching is the rage, the truth of one’s beauty is distorted.
I learned that lesson almost two decades ago when I was camping out in my RV. Faith was nearing her fourth year and Compassion was two and a half years younger. The couch was pulled flat, covered with a little mermaid sheet and Faith and Compassion simply sleeping like angels. Arms spread wide above their heads, legs stretched as far as they could go, and faces glowing in peace and tranquility. I reveled at the sight and then I cried. Not just a tear but a bellow of tears from my heart. I had never seen anything so beautiful. I took a snapshot for my heart, a picture for my long term memory and a painting for my soul. Then I got out my man-made camera and took an actual photograph so I could gaze upon this quiet and beautiful reflection all the days of my life.
It is Sunday morning, in the wee hours before I get dressed in my Sunday best. I used to ban my daughters from wearing jeans to church. It was an unwritten rule from my childhood, when it was disrespectful to wear jeans to church. I found God in that handsome brick church. I found Jesus in that small, country church with its royal flight of stairs. It was a flight of stairs which was large enough to accommodate my family and my relatives when religious family events were formally documented. The first photograph being my baptism and the last photograph, taken only at my insistence, was the photograph taken after my Mother’s funeral. I knew in my heart it would be the last picture of my family together. A bittersweet memory of times gone by, when religion was formal and hymns were sung loudly.
It is Sunday morning, and I reflect on all The Bus Stops I have walked to in my life. The first Bus Stop was the one that I walked my entire childhood. Up out of the valley where my house secretly resided, first I would pause at the grape vines my Father had planted, and then I would caress the milk weed’s softness as I looked for the caterpillars chewing with delight. I grew up in a castle, in a small little town, on an estate that God had blessed my parents with years before. An estate that was once destroyed by the enemy through the lapping flames of fire. And an estate which was rebuilt in stages, bigger and prouder than its original footprint.
It is Sunday morning, and I realize I have been following God’s footprints all my life. From the cornerstone of my birth, through my difficult yet glorious childhood, God watched me and Jesus held my hand. Every Bus Stop I have walked to in my life has created the Child of God I am today. Sometimes I revolted against God and I would try my own path to The Bus Stop. I would struggle, I would whine, and eventually, be it seconds or years I would find those footprints left out for me to follow. I would grasp the hand of the man who died for me. And I would find my peace.
Have you found the footprints God left for you?