A hundred little girl dresses sewn from pillow cases
Fifty pairs of little boy britches
A dozen witnessing dolls, all packed in her suitcase.
Emily at eighty-six left six of her seven children
Their spouses, children, grandchildren (even great-)
To fly with one son and a group of friends
Who will sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children”
Quote John 3:16 before a translator
And pray God save the world.
The day before she left, Momma told me a story.
“When I was sixteen, God was guiding me to be a missionary.
But your daddy, who was nineteen, wanted to get married.
I didn’t want to get married, but when he fell off the roof
of the house he was working on, the doctor at the hospital
said if I loved him, I’d better marry him.
His mother told me if I didn’t marry him and he died,
I’d go to hell.”
They were married fifty-seven years and had seven children
before he died at seventy-six.
After he died she went to the cemetery and told him,
“Minton, I married you and learned to love you and had
seven children for you. Now that you have left me, and all
the children are married with families of their own, I have
to be independent. I’m going to live my life until I die.”
She tells this story to her children and all of her friends
and cousins whose husbands have died
and they can’t seem to get over the grief.
“You have your own life to live now,” she says.
Then she updates her passport,
buys her ticket to Nicaragua,
and makes gifts to give to children in the name of Jesus. Amen.