‘Mother?’

By Ruth Bell Graham   •   May 1, 2009

The rumble of thunder was
only a distant threat. But the
wind in the trees announced
the storm was on its way. The wind
rose menacingly, and there was a
sudden crack of thunder directly overhead.

Soon I heard the pitter patter of
little feet and sensed a small presence
in the room. I heard a whispered
“Mother?” That was all.

The covers were thrown back in
comforting welcome as one or more
small, night-clad forms would slip in.
We snuggled safely together under
the covers, listening to the storm,
unafraid. As nature once more grew
quiet, we drifted off to sleep.

It was later, when I knew
they were all enduring their own
individual storms, that I lay awake
wishing I could share them. I sensed
the distant thunder, and all I could
do was pray.

Like other shepherds
help me keep
watch o’er my flock by night;
mindful of each need,
each hurt, which might
lead one to stray–
each weakness
and each ill–
while others sleep
teach me to pray.
At night wolves and leopards,
hungry and clever, prowl
in search of strays
and wounded; when they howl,
Lord, still
my anxious heart
to calm delight–
for the Great Shepherd
watches with me
over my flock
by night.

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