by Samm Hodges
The epitapth on my mother’s grave haunts me. She has been gone for a very long time now, and sometimes I forget she ever was. It’s a horrible thing, but it’s truth. It is now her grave, her stone, that haunts me.
It say’s this, ” My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.”
It haunts me because I wonder if I am one of his sheep. I know that she belonged to Him. I know that many around me belong to Him too. But I run. I run far, and I rarely look back. I know that he is a forgiving Shepherd, but I have pillaged his seventy times seven a thousand times over. I have used him. I have twisted and molested his love.
And this is no exaggeration. This is no conjured piety or self deprecation. It is a horrible thing, but it is truth.
The ninety and nine are still on the hill. They are his sheep and they follow him. My mother is there and there are many others. I, however, am far away. I have crossed valleys and meadows and many dark, tangled woods. I am far from that hill.
And yet, I am haunted. There is a voice that whispers to me on dark and shapeless nights. There are footsteps. There are stirrings in the dark. I know that He is following me.
I have dug pits and set snares and screamed filth and blasphemies into the wind, but he follows.
Which gives me hope. It is the only hope I have.
Someday he will chase me so far that I will end up where I left. Someday I will awake from another hollow night to find myself beside my mother and my King and friends who I gave up on a very long time ago.
And so, my gravestone, If I must have one, can read something like this:
“And no one shall snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
For I have tried. God knows I have tried.