I remember lying under the church pew as a child.
“How much longer?” I would loudly whisper to my mother, my 7-year-old self never knowing how to wait.
“Not long,” she would answer, her faithful, copper brown eyes never losing focus. Her attention was glued to the altar. She was an Episcopalian to the core. And, meanwhile, I couldn’t even pronounce the word.
My father would later say that her church wasn’t Biblically focused, that they only spoke memorized prayers and never spoke from the heart.
I never felt the need to ask questions to gain understanding. I just stood on the outskirts of judgment, with my Evangelical-obsessed shell paired with an inner core of deep fear and exhausted work-performance salvation.
But my mother’s eyes remained glued to the altar.
My mother has always loved traditions and memories and rituals. She planned the same summer vacation every year so we would all be able to build memories and share stories year after year after year.
I have always been known as the adventurous one in the family, the risk-taker, the never-sit-still, keep-it-interesting-or-I-will-leave kind of sibling.
But my mother, she is gentle and steady. Her Louisiana upbringing blended with her sing-song Alabama sound, she loves the piano and will never be seen in public without her Crimson Tide lipstick on.
Her eyes on the altar, her ears set to the tune of angels standing outside our window. She is grounded, yet bold. Floating down the river of peace that calms our hearts, the river that calls us home.
-Mary Margaret Randall