I’m pretty sure my mom is dying and we don’t know if she’s going to make it long. A doctor told us she will probably not and she wants us to start talking about funerals. I’m so afraid of life right now, please write something for me.
THIRTEEN AND I DON’T WANT TO LOSE MY MOM
The sun is coming up over the green hills of Crenshaw County right now. Rutledge, Alabama, isn’t far away from me.
Have you ever been to Crenshaw County? It’s nothing but hayfields, chickenweed, and cattle.
This sun is spectacular. No. It’s breath-stealing. Especially with all this hay around.
There is something about the way hay smells in the morning. It makes me feel a pleasant, heavy feeling in my chest. It makes me feel—how do I put this—very, very small.
See, while I write this, I’m looking at seventeen trillion acres of hay bales. I’m on a two-lane highway, I have the windows rolled down.
If that doesn’t make you feel small.
And look at all these birds, perched on fence posts, flying in the air. I wish you were here with me. You might see these birds and think like I’m thinking.
Did you ever wonder how many meals a bird eats? Or: who feeds them? Or: how many meals YOU’VE eaten since you were born?
During my time on earth—and this is only a rough estimate—I’ve eaten fifty or sixty THOUSAND meals.
That’s not even counting boiled peanuts or ice cream.
You heard me right. No matter how sad things get, nor how bad life seems, I am like a bird who manages to find food. Somehow.
Anyway, the sun is getting higher now. It glows orange on the world.
I see a horse. She’s gray, and she’s galloping with a colt who’s keeping pace behind. You ought to see them, they’re poetry.
I wonder where they’re going? I wonder if animals know how much their mothers love them?
Love is a powerful thing you know. A lot stronger than some think. It’s not just an emotion you feel on Valentine’s Day.
Love makes hay sprout, trees bloom. It makes rain, stars, clouds, camellias, sparrows, lilies, gray horses, it makes mamas strong.
And you better believe it can make miracles happen.
I’m not going to pretend with you. I don’t understand a thing about this universe. I understand even less about God. I don’t understand why bad things happen, or why people suffer.
Still, I know love. And I know that it kills fear outright. Even if only for a few minutes at a time.
So I hope you read this slow. I hope while reading, you think: “Hey, this guy seems to love me.”
I hope the feeling starts small, then gets big. And I hope it makes you feel safe for a few seconds.
When you’re finished, I hope you close your eyes and think about breathing in and out. About how important you are. And about how many birds are eating breakfast right now.
It’s too bad you can’t see this magnificent sunrise I’m seeing.
Because I think God meant it for you.