Mom and the Most High

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by Tahny Lou Vonan

I shall weave this tale as if it unfolded yesterday, for the memories of that moment are etched into the very fabric of my being, akin to verses from the sacred Scriptures.

The twilight sun bestowed upon our humble chamber a tender, golden embrace, and the fragrance of my mother’s delicate perfume hung in the air, a fragrant prayer. Her hand, gentle and reassuring, cradled mine as we embarked on our nightly journey through the verses of Psalm 91. It was our sacred ritual, our communion, and our unassailable fortress.

* * * *

“Must we, dearest Mother, engage in our evening prayers once more before yielding to slumber?” I inquired, my voice tinged with the hesitancy of youth.

“Indeed, my beloved,” she replied, her smile a soothing balm to my uncertainty. “Psalm 91 is our nightly armor, enfolding us securely within the divine embrace of the Almighty.”

I furrowed my brow, seeking to grasp the profound significance of this nightly practice. “But why, Mother? What bestows upon Psalm 91 such sacred distinction?”

Seated beside me, she spoke in hushed tones, her words flowing like a gentle stream:

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. . . . You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness.”

Her words unfurled before me, each verse a revelation, and I clung to them, my eyes aglow with newfound understanding. “So, it is as though we beseech God to stand sentinel over us during the night, like a celestial guardian?”

Her laughter caressed my ears like the softest breeze. “Precisely, my beloved. Our own celestial guardian.”

* * * *

Hand in hand, we embarked on our nightly recitation. “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day. . . . A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.”

The verses became a lullaby, a testament of assurance that all would be well. As I closed my eyes that evening, I envisioned the benevolent wings of the Almighty enfolding us, a tide of tranquility washing over me.

* * * *

As years flowed by, life’s currents carried unexpected changes. My mother’s comforting presence gradually receded from my world, leaving behind an irreplaceable void. She had embarked on her journey to the secret place of the Most High, precisely as the psalm had foretold, but her memory endured, etched into the very fibers of my heart.

I matured, became a mother myself, and welcomed my own offspring into the grand tapestry of life. As I cradled my precious one, I understood that I was tasked with continuing the tradition, the legacy that my mother had bequeathed to me.

And so, I whispered those timeless verses into the ears of my own progeny, who gazed up at me with wide, innocent eyes. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High. . . .”

* * * *

The cycle endured, and with each passing night, I felt my mother’s presence beside me, her hand intertwined with mine once more.

As I nestled my child into slumber, a smile graced my lips, for I comprehended that Psalm 91 had not only shielded our lineage through the ages but had also, in its mystical way, reunited me with my mother — through spirit, through faith, and through the boundless love that transcends the confines of time and place.

* * * *

Years rolled on, and the pages of life turned with their own inexorable rhythm. The seasons changed, bringing new joys and challenges. Yet, as my child grew, so did their questions and their curiosity about our nightly ritual.

“Mommy, why do we whisper these words every night?” my little one inquired, eyes filled with wonder and a thirst for understanding.

With a tender smile reminiscent of my mother’s, I nestled beside my child and began to unravel the story, much like the verses of Psalm 91 we held so dear. “You see, my love, these words are like a sacred shield. They remind us that no matter how dark the night may seem, we are cradled in the embrace of the Almighty. It’s a way of asking God to watch over us, to protect us as we sleep.”

My child’s eyes widened as they took in the significance of these words. “So, it’s like a secret prayer between us and God?”

I nodded, touched by their insight. “Yes, exactly. A secret prayer that connects us to something greater, something divine.”

* * * *

As the years flowed by, my child grew into a young adult, and our nightly ritual evolved. Our whispers became conversations, and our understanding of Psalm 91 deepened. We found solace in those verses during times of uncertainty, and we celebrated life’s victories with gratitude.

Then, one day, life took a somber turn. I found myself facing a daunting diagnosis, an unexpected shadow that cast its pall over our lives. Fear and uncertainty loomed, and I turned to Psalm 91 once more, as my mother and I had done in days past.

* * * *

My child, now grown and strong, stood by my side, holding my hand just as I had held my mother’s all those years ago.

We whispered the words of the psalm, not as a mere ritual but as a lifeline, a declaration of faith, and an invocation of hope. The verses, once a source of comfort in the night, now became a beacon guiding us through the darkest hours.

In those moments of vulnerability, I realized that Psalm 91 had been not only a legacy passed down through generations but also a living testament to the enduring power of faith and love. Just as my mother’s memory had never truly left me, her spirit remained woven into the very fabric of our nightly prayers.

The verses of Psalm 91 have united us across time and generations and have become an unwavering source of strength in the face of life’s trials. As I looked at my child, now a grown guardian in their own right, I knew that this sacred tradition would continue to endure, providing solace and unity for generations to come.

Tahny Lou Vonan is a copyeditor and has written a variety of things, including bank manuals, comics, poetry, articles, and screenplays. She lives in Douglasville, GA.

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