God is like a mother … visiting her son in prison

My friend Stephen Price, who lives and pastors in Maryland USA used to live in Massachusetts and work at a correctional institution there. He had me come as a regular poetry teacher and some of my most intense spiritual memories have nothing to do with my parish ministry life but with these times, teaching men who were convicted of a sex offense to write poetry.

Stephen wrote this poem of an image of God that touches me so deeply. First his introduction …

Last night Iwas reading Lauren Winner’s “Wearing God” (a book I highly recommend) and began thinking about different images for God. During the time that I worked in prison, I would watch the mothers of men civilly committed for a ‘day to life’ coming to visit them each Saturday. I got to thinking about God’s waiting on us while we are imprisoned in whatever addiction, sin, fear, etc. we are stuck in:
God is a mother
visiting her son in prison.
Every Saturday
she mounts the steps of the Greyhound bus
and rides the 3 1/2 hours
out of the city and into the country.
Past the cornfields and alfalfa and razor wire
Through the metal detector and the sally port
To sit in the Visiting Room and wait.
Til it suits someone to let him come down.
God is a mother
visiting her son in prison.
Her hair going grey, then white, over the years
As she carries her paper bag with sandwich and soda to eat in the waiting room.
O love that will not let me go,
God is a mother
visiting her son in prison.

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