Running Home: Leaps of Faith
Momma always told me that the first few years of marriage were the most eventful times she’d ever known. She often said that the biggest blessing she received was a loving little family. Six years passed since the death of her father; the grandfather I never got to know. I admired his spirit from the stories I’d heard. Life always changed, yet one thing remained the same, the love of two families. The blessing that was found in the heart of them both.
Dad told me often that the happiest he ever saw Momma was when she was at home. It was a shack with a cozy feel not too far away from Mamaw, Sylvia, and the rest of the family. She was proud. She felt she finally had something solid in her life. They loved the farm, but Momma told me that Dad never gave up on those big adventures that he had promised her. Momma believed in him, most of the time.
The pursuit of a better life sometimes wore on the both of them. Momma used to tell me that she often felt like she wasn’t good enough for the family. It caused some major fights between her and Dad. One night in particular got the best of them.
“I like life. Sometimes, I just wonder if I’m good enough.” Momma spoke loudly. “You don’t know nothin’ about how I feel!” She could feel her voice begin to raise its volume. “When I see other moms with their youngins’ I just think..what if Mavarine want more even if we get outta here?” Momma felt tears well up in her eyes as she took a breath.
“Did someone say somethin’ to you?” Frank argued. “Where is this nonsense comin’ from? Dad challenged as he started to get frustrated. “Ain’t no need to say I know nothin’ about feelins’! I know plenty!” He continued, his thoughts rolling like a freight train. “You’re ain’t makin’ no sense!
“I saw a momma with really pretty clothes” Momma said after a minute. Her voice began to soften. “I just wanna make sure she’s happy.”
Dad stood firmly facing her. He knew Momma always felt bad.
“I get it. But to say I don’t know how ya feel, that’s crazy. Ya know I do!” He stared at his wife with a face of tough love. “What you think I talk about great adventures for? I want us to have ‘em.” His pride was hurt. “I do the best I can. I reckon I’m sorry you think it’s not enough!” He let out a sigh frustration.
“I need to get out of here” he said, his lips closed tightly. “I’ll be back later, I need to think.” He started to step away from the room
“But, what if we ain’t done enough for her?” Momma said as she stood in the bedroom, her arms crossed. She walked quickly after him.
“I told ya I need to settle down.” He left Momma behind, closing the front door.
Dad came back twenty minutes later. Embracing Momma in a hug, he softly said to her. “I’m sorry I yelled.” Taking her hand in his and stroking it he added, “I don’t know what I was thinkin'”
Momma looked at him apologetically.
“We do what we can. You do a lot too.” Dad replied quietly. “I’m sure Little One knows it. Don’t you worry.” He hugged her, hoping this would ease her fears. “I know what will help us.”
Dad got on his knees. Momma joined him as they began to pray together. His own uneasiness would remain hidden far beneath the surface. Dad always tried his best to remain the tough guy for Momma.
“Jesus, ain’t nobody been as good as you.” Dad said, as they both knelt at the foot of the bed. “Life is a ride, but it’s a blessin’ .” he continued, his voice full of love for his family as he spoke.
Momma let out a sorrowful sigh, as she and Dad prayed together. “Our girl sure is somethin’ else.” He smiled as she mentioned their greatest blessing so far: Mavarine. “She’s done nothin’ but light up our life.” Momma’s heart filled with love at the thought of her.
“Lord, thanks for everythin’. We pray that you would be leadin’ us down a new road. We’re in the dirt right now.” Dad spoke, the slightest hint of irritation still in his voice.
He silently began to feel like maybe he did let his family down in some way.
As they were finishing their prayers, Mavarine began to whine from her bedroom. Opening her door, they saw her sitting in her crib, tears streamed down her little cheeks. Her thick blonde hair stuck to her face. Her arms were outstretched, wanting one of her parents to hold her.
“What are you doin’ up little one? You go on back to sleep.” Momma said, her voice a soft whisper in the night. She placed the tiny girl back into her crib that Dad had built, yet the little girl wasn’t interested in sleeping. “You want Momma to rock ya?”
Mavarine shook her head no, continuing to wail late into the night. Dad carried her around for the longest time. In one final attempt, they brought her, her favorite doll.
“You can play for a little bit, I reckon.” Momma said, handing her the doll.
Momma and Dad had given up on sleep. They stood together in the room, watching Mavarine play in the dark. She looked comfy in her crib. To their surprise, after a long few minutes, the baby fell quiet.
“She’s plum tuckered out.” Momma said softly, grinning at the peaceful baby who cradled the doll as she slept.
“Let’s go on to bed” Dad said, with his arm around Momma.
“I always liked hearin’ stories about those early days.” Gordon chuckled.
“Quite a night that must’ve been.” Pastor Perry replied, thinking of his experience with his own children. “Ain’t nothin’ better than babies though!” He smiled as Gordon continued the story.
The seasons of fall and winter were always special to Momma. The family looked forward to December. Mavarine would turn two. “The following summer would bring even more joy. That’s when I arrived. I’m sure with me,” joked Gordon. “Life couldn’t be better”.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9 King James Version)