Folded Hands

In the glow of my headlights stood the once-healthy woman who raised me. She was nothing but hickory sticks and muscle.

My earliest memory is of my mother. She’s at a breakfast table. She sits alone in a gaudy brown kitchen, head bowed, hands folded.

She is speaking in a whisper, I don’t know who she’s talking to. I’m too young.

Her eyes are closed. The sun is rising in the window behind her. She’s dressed for work, sipping coffee.

“What’re you doing?” I ask.

“That’s between me and the Good Lord,” she says.

My teenage years. A few years after my father placed a hunting rifle in his mouth. These were hard years. She sat on an a burgundy sofa. She closed her eyes and whispered toward the ceiling.

I couldn’t make out her words.

“What’re you doing?” I asked.

“It’s between me and the Good Lord,” she says.

Over time, I grew into my big feet, and my large nose. I turned into a man—sort of.

My mother fell ill. Deathly ill. She moved to Atlanta so my aunt and uncle could care for her.

I drove to Clayton County to visit her. She greeted me in the driveway at 2 A.M. on a cold November morning.

In the glow of my headlights stood the once-healthy woman who raised me. She was nothing but hickory sticks and muscle.

The next morning, I found her sitting cross-legged on an easy chair. Her eyes closed, whispering to the ceiling fan. The skin around her eyelids wrinkled like tissue paper.

Doctors told us the disease would kill her. The illness was eating blueberry-sized holes in her muscles. It would eventually reach her heart.

“What’re you doing?” I asked.

She didn’t answer.

Then, she touched my hair. “You know that when you were a toddler, I used to rub your hair like this, and it would make you go to sleep?”

She rubbed my hair. I leaned into her lap the way I did when I was a child.

The woman held a grown man the way she’d once held a three-year-old.

“You take good care of your sister,” she said.

I cried so hard my stomach hurt.

I left Georgia early the next morning. I had to be home for work. That’s what people like us did. We worked.

That’s what Mama had always done. She worked from age twelve until the Second Coming. She walked to work before she had a car—that’s the way things were. God’s busy little worker.

I wanted to be what she wanted me to be. I wanted Mama to be proud of me, whether she was in Clayton County, or the gold bannisters of heaven.

On the morning I left for home, she hugged me. Before I took the interstate, I veered off at a gas station. I sat in my truck and said a few words to my dome light.

“Please, Lord, let her live,” was all I could get out. “Please, please.”


I think about that day a lot. I’m not a particularly good person, and I don’t always do things I should. But the man in the sky did me a favor. He did a miracle on that woman, he made her well. In fact, he’s done a lot for me.

I could tell you more about it, but I’d better not.

That’s between me and the Good Lord.


  1. Melissa Nelson - November 15, 2017 10:12 am


  2. CaroG87 - November 15, 2017 11:17 am

    Tears, as always!

  3. Marcia MacLean - November 15, 2017 11:52 am

    I’ve had my share of “please’s”……and more than my share of “thank you’s”. Your stories always touch me.

  4. Suzette Allen - November 15, 2017 12:19 pm

    A story of love and faith. If I live another 47 years, I will never understand the way God doles out miracles. But I’m happy your mother got one. My pleas to save my mother weren’t answered the way I hoped..

  5. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - November 15, 2017 12:30 pm

    Breakfast tears, again! I’m so happy God made that miracle. He has His reasons. Your mamma wasn’t done on earth yet. She must have been wonderful. Thank you for reminding me to Thank the Lord for all the years I had with both my parents.

  6. Susan - November 15, 2017 12:41 pm

    This touches my heart, thank you

  7. Jackie Darnell - November 15, 2017 12:42 pm

    Thanks dude, I just sent that to our entire family. SWEET. I hope your day is good!

  8. Connie - November 15, 2017 1:15 pm

    I knew when I started reading I would be needing a tissue. Your obvious love and respect for your mother and your wife is always enough to make my heart swell, but this is so sweet. Thank you.

  9. Sarah B - November 15, 2017 1:47 pm

    Damn I just put my make up on for the day. God Bless your Momma. The Lord is a miracle worker for sure.

  10. Andrew - November 15, 2017 1:56 pm

    Is she still with us Sean? I lost my Mom in January. Nothing compares to the pain of loosing your Mother. Thanks for writing these stories Brother…

  11. Jan - November 15, 2017 2:13 pm

    Amen! Once again, you made my day!

  12. Dot Wells - November 15, 2017 2:16 pm

    Lord you kill me sometimes Sean! I love you! You said once people never said they LOVE!! I tell you this everyday I can..I love you!!! I love you!!! I love you!!!

  13. Patricia Schmaltz - November 15, 2017 2:58 pm

    Sending you hugs and prayers.

  14. Jane Wasden - November 15, 2017 3:06 pm

    I look forward to reading your posts every morning! If someone reads your posts and doesn’t see the good in this world there is something wrong with that person. I love you and please keep the posts coming!

  15. Donna J. masmar - November 15, 2017 4:11 pm

    You make my day–every day–thanks1

  16. Sue Cronkite - November 15, 2017 4:13 pm

    Your work is a blessing. I’d tell you more, but that’s between the Good Lord and me.

  17. Nfutral - November 15, 2017 5:13 pm


  18. Laura - November 15, 2017 5:13 pm

    I adore your gift of sharing something that is so much more than a story. My boys and husband too prayed for me to live, after 3 heart attacks in one day. After being declared brain dead-with liver and kidneys starting to fail, they prayed.

    This happened on a Sunday, the Sunday of my youngest son’s 18th Birthday. I woke up on a Thursday mid day just as normal minded as I was when I had the first heart attack in the elevator at the beach condo.

    I had no idea what had happened. I guess how I lived through this is between prayers and The Good Lord.

    Laura B.

  19. Shelly - November 15, 2017 6:16 pm

    Please don’t say you are not a good person. I look forward to your stories, you are a kind man. I don’t do everything I should also, but if you heart is pure, which yours is, that is all you can do. My Mom used to stroke my hair also, it is such a comfort. I love going to the hairdresser, I feel so relaxed after. Keep on folding your hands.

  20. Liz - November 15, 2017 6:30 pm


  21. Pat - November 15, 2017 9:21 pm

    What a beautiful story of a Mother’s love! God bless you and your writings!

  22. Leslie Landiss - November 15, 2017 9:34 pm

    Thank you.

  23. Alice - November 15, 2017 11:45 pm

    Dear Sean so glad your mom got a miracle thank you for writing and thank you for being you God bless you love you❤️

  24. Jack Quanstrum - November 16, 2017 12:17 am

    So, so touching.

  25. Elaine Karrh - November 16, 2017 2:40 am

    Sean,I think you must have gotten a lot of your Mother’s kindness.She sounds like someone I would be proud to know.Thank you again for sharing a little piece of your heart with us…

  26. unkle kenny - November 16, 2017 2:49 am

    A story about mom. You are an above average son. Sounds like your mom has a strong faith. In the worst time’s of my life before mom died she would always tell me”this too shall pass” we put that on her headstone. I am now the oaner of that phrase. I still tell stories about mom, when I don’t know what to say i just say what she taught me. take care . uk

  27. Molly - November 16, 2017 2:52 am

    I look forward to reading your posts every day! Thank you for writing ffom the heart, for seeing the good in the everyday and mundane, and for spreading joy!!

  28. Polly Seales - November 16, 2017 5:35 am

    My goodness I have read many stories in my life that has brought tears to me but this one takes the cake! My mom died less than 24 hours after I promised her I would take care of my brother and that she did not have to hold on if that was why she was holding on. (She had ALS better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). I could not beg God to leave her longer. She and I both knew where she wanted to be.Thank You! Please add me to your subscription…Polly and God be praised for listening to our prayers of need.

  29. Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - November 16, 2017 11:47 am

    Oh…praise the Good Lord. ?

  30. violet t robinson - November 16, 2017 4:01 pm

    i like your post about your mom

  31. violet t robinson - November 16, 2017 4:03 pm

    i like reading your post everyday i love the lord

  32. Bruce Stover - November 16, 2017 4:24 pm

    That’s beautiful…

  33. Pat - November 17, 2017 2:21 am


  34. Kim - November 18, 2017 5:13 pm

    In Cruce Salus…Salvation thru JESUS CHRIST,,,,believe it or burn….

  35. Laura Goslee - December 9, 2017 11:56 am

    Thank you for sharing the love and faith of your life.


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