~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course
PREFACE: Since all experiences in life come through our own personal filters, so it is when we hear stories, as well. Every tale we’re told comes through this same filtration, as we take in the details of our choosing. Mom, I hope you don’t mind me sharing this story of yours so publicly, and I hope I’ve at least conveyed the gist of such a transcendent, personal experience. It’s interesting for me to consider that perhaps this is my version, not my mom’s story at all, as it’s the one I’ve created over the years, based on what I remember of her telling.
Childhood with my mother was sweet like the juice she’d squeeze, fresh from the trees, in the orange grove where we lived. She was beautiful in her two long braids, tied with leather cord and turquoise, looking at least ten years younger than her age. Perpetually positive, she’d crank John Denver while doing the dishes, then swoop over to hug one of her three children with soapy hands. I never doubted my mother loved me, and it seemed as though my siblings and I were, absolutely, one of the best things in her life.
But the story goes that it wasn’t always that way. It was hard in the early years, with kids close in age, and each of us in some form of diapers. Dad was working ranching hours- gone early, home late. When he was with us, he wasn’t always present. Unhappy and struggling, Mom thought she was sick, and went to an MD for diagnosis. He gave her a clean bill of health, but saw pain in her soul. His suggested remedy, a book by Billy Graham, “How to Be Born Again.”
For a series of days, Mom set up childcare, while she parked our station wagon in a quiet, shady spot behind the citrus packinghouse. She read the book in detail, finally coming to Graham’s instructions on how to ask Jesus into her life.
Over the years, she would recount to us her supernatural experience, there in the car that day. How she made her request, and the undeniable, loving presence that responded. The voice from within that she vividly heard: Go home and love your children to the best of your ability. Her perspective was completely altered, returning home to us, seeing nothing but absolute perfection.
In a bubble of deep love, she joyfully floated. For days, weeks…years to come.