Monday, February 23, 2009

A Mother's Reach


One summer I learned the extent of my mother's reach: It spanned exactly one continent, one ocean, and one channel, traversing halfway up the UK to a little farming community so small even the buses don't travel there.

I was a student at the time. I had just completed a summer at Cambridge and was traveling blissfully on a Britrail Pass before returning home. Some friends had arranged a weekend stay at a farmhouse in the Lake District and invited me to join them. We took the train as far as it would go, then took the bus as far as it would go, and eventually ended up having to hitchhike the rest of the way. It was the perfect adventure for a handful of college students.

We spent the weekend racing down to Lake Windermere to pick raspberries, traversing wandering footpaths to nineteenth-century authors' estates, reading aloud from said authors' books, waking up to a rooster crow at the crack of dawn, and eating farm-fresh bacon that was thicker than a slice of ham. We were in heaven! On Sunday morning it was time for us all to part ways. My friend Janet and I were the last to leave, choosing to squeeze every joyous moment out of our wonderful farmhouse junket before returning to London.

The little farmhouse was in such a remote location it took us nearly two hours to thumb a ride into the next town. We didn't think much of it as we sat on the fence post in the morning sun, chewing on long blades of grass. Eventually two very nice guys in a BMW stopped and offered us a ride into Grasmere, and we were on our way.

I didn't think much of it until I got home, three weeks later. Once we got my bags unloaded and all the sweaters and souvenirs distributed (the dollar was at an all-time high), my mom pulled me aside and asked intently, "Where were you on the morning of August 7th? It would have been Sunday about 10 am, your time." I rolled the dates over in my head. "Oh," I said nonchalantly, almost boasting, "We were hitchhiking in Ambleside." (I'm sure my younger siblings would have been duly impressed.)

Then she took hold of my arm and looked me right in the eye. "Don't you ever, EVER do that again" she said emphatically. "Why?" I asked. She told me that on August 7 she woke up in the wee hours of the morning (it's a seven hour time difference) with the strongest impression that I was not safe. With a sense of urgency, she climbed out of bed and knelt down, praying for my safety. She prayed and prayed, imploring for a sense of peace, and not until a whisper of the spirit told her all was well did she climb back in bed. We did the math and discovered that her spiritual alarm went off right after we'd started hitchhiking, and that she crawled back into bed, with an assurance that I was safe, at precisely the time the guys in the BMW dropped us off in Grasmere. A little shiver ran up my spine.

I was amazed. Stunned that I could have placed myself in so much danger, without any sense of risk or harm. Blown away by the range and power of my mother's reach. And humbled that she would spend hours in the middle of the night, on her knees, for me.

This whole story came back to me today, in vivid detail. I thought about my mom's uncanny sense that all was not well, and hope that my own intuition can be that well polished. That my reach can be that extensive, and my grasp that potent. Like the way the moon's gravity gently governs the ocean's tides, from lightyears away. I hope that when our children, and especially our oldest, are in any sort of danger...physical, emotional, or spiritual...an alarm will sound inside me. I want the kind of arms that can reach clear across the world -- folded. The kind of arms that can reach Him. Because His reach is infinite, responding with safety and comfort and peace. I learned that summer about the power of prayer, and about the scope of a mother's reach. And the lesson came back to me today. Just when I needed it most.

Look for this – and other entries on the subject of Mom – at Scribbit's Writeaway Contest for April, here.

26 comments:

Luann said...

Wow. This story gives me chills.

LisAway said...

What a powerful story and a great heritage you have. I'm sure you've inherited some of your mother's intuition. You are guided by the same love and Spirit and I'm sure it will make a difference in your children's lives, too.

Kazzy said...

Of course you can have that insight for your children! You have a double inheritance from both your Heavenly Father and your earthly mother to be so spiritually sensitive. Beautiful story. Thanks and hugs.

Heather of the EO said...

Amazing. The power of a mother's love and the power of prayer. I'm so glad this came back to you when you needed it most. That's another very powerful thing. Mercy.

Beautifully said, as usual lady.

Peace,
Heather

Kristina P. said...

This is an amazing story! I need to do so much better at listening to spiritual promptings.

Kimberly said...

I needed a good cry today, I think. I love the insight here...the parallel you draw.

Will you submit this to the Annex? Pretty please?

Jenny P. said...

I'm so glad this came to your remembrance. I seem to remember my mom having a similar experience with Alan when he was on his mission or in Russia or something. Your not alone.

The Mom said...

A mother's love and intuition is amazing. Wow. What a wonderful story.

Tammy Lorna said...

I can only add my testimony to yours on this one. I too have felt the immense power of a mother's prayers from far away and across the ocean. In the experience I'm thinking of, I actually felt an immense boost of the spirit at the very moment she was praying, and was pulled up short with the image in my minds eye of her calling my family around her to send me the help she couldn't deliver in person. There's no doubt at all in my mind that those kind of prayers carry a very powerful and actioning spirit.
It caused immense relief and comfort to me as a daughter, and I can only imagine that it causes even more relief and comfort for a mother.
Keep praying for him - It makes a difference.

xo Tammy

That Girl in Brazil said...

Goosebumps. Everywhere.

Prayer REALLY works, huh?

Luisa Perkins said...

Charrette! I have goosebumps. Thank you for sharing this.

(I assume you and Brillig have talked Grasmere.)

Jessica said...

this is amazing. I love how in tune you are with your intuition, obviously so was your mother. A great reminder to pay attention, and the power or prayer. A lovely story, as always.

Melanie J said...

Amazing story. There were times that I wanted to stray in my life even further than I had already and I could physically feel the strength of my mother's prayers on my behalf restraining me. I believe in the power of prayer.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Sobbing . . .

Anonymous said...

Where was your mom that day at Kmart? :))

Anonymous said...

P.S. Hope that made you smile!!

Eowyn said...

I'm crying.

You are amazing. I feel it an honor to know you.

I too hope that I can have that reach.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

Very powerful. I mean this post. But I guess it applies to a mother's extra sense. I'm sure it's a gift from heavenly father to those entrusted with his spirit children's care. I'm sure we all, you and I included, have it. We just need to trust it and feel confident that we received it.

Erin said...

I just came over from LisAway. Beautiful post! I hope I can be spiritually in tune like this too.

Melissa said...

I also hope that I can be so spiritually sensitive in regards to my children. You wrote this story so well.

LexiconLuvr said...

I sit here with tears in my eyes.

"I want the kind of arms that can reach clear across the world -- folded. The kind of arms that can reach Him. Because His reach is infinite, responding with safety and comfort and peace."

It is everything I want to be as a mother and everything I want for myself as a daughter.

MoziEsmé said...

Wow - an amazing story!

Brillig said...

Okay, I know that I'm probably supposed to focus on the mother's reach part of this post, but...

sigh. I'm utterly lost in Grasmere, Lake Windermere, Ambleside. You've described my world here, lady, and I love LOVE that we both have memories of those places. Sigh, again.

Okay, but back to the mother's reach part. My mom used to call/write me when I was in the middle of making some really awful choice. It always made me SO MAD. Hahaha. "Seriously?" I would shout to the skies. "She's a thousand miles away and she STILL has to control my life?"

(Of course, mostly I was mad because she was RIGHT.)

Now that I'm a mom, oh how I hope I get those feelings, so that I can help when they need me more desperately than they know-- even if it's just so that I can offer the right prayer at the right moment.

As usual, Charrette, you've moved me and everyone else who read this post. You're amazing and I'm so grateful that we're friends.

Scribbit said...

What a good sense she had--I think moms are blessed with that for their kids.

Scribbit said...

I had to re read this post to my husband--it's still a great story!

Antique Mommy said...

That is an amazing and eerie story! I loved reading it.