I spent the day revisiting the past, not my whole past but a single moment of joy in my childhood. Funny how one moment in time can bring light to a lifetime.
My most prized possession found me one morning at a flea market. It peeked out from the other discarded memories. It couldn’t have been the shine because my plague lacked luster. It must have spent too much time in the elements waiting patiently for a new home; waiting for me to wrap it in love and hope.
I think we first met when I TOUCHED it! Like most little children, I ran my fingers along the tables, randomly touching stuff, usually choosing my treasures by the pleasures they offered when rubbed or squeezed. This plaque demanded my full attention the moment my finger glazed its corner. It was full of bumps, with lots of different textures, smooth and rough with some sharp edges.
I loved the way the raised letters felt under my hands. I was mesmerized by the raised letters and enchanted by the child and her bedroom. It would offer hours of nurturing touches and fantasies of a different life. It brought me joy.
I couldn’t read yet so I had no idea what it said but the vendor caught me fondling her plaque and began asking me a series of questions I don’t remember acknowledging – then she read the words to me:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord
My soul to Keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord
My soul to Take
I repeated, “I pray the Lord my soul to take”
The vendor wrapped the plaque and gave to to me. I remember my mother and sister reading it when they saw it; and I think that was all I needed to memorize its words. It became my daily prayer. I remember kneeling next to our bed in my pajamas praying it out loud before climbing into bed with my sister; feeling comforted that this may be the night Jesus would steal me away.
I chanted this prayer each time I was hurt or mistreated begging God to come, to take my soul and keep it somewhere safe.
I know I lost hope at some point but our Daily Prompt reminded me that Jesus kept my soul in His embrace the first moment I said this prayer and kept it from being destroyed by Satan during all the times he tried to attack me.
Our Daily Prompt also inspired me to search for my beloved plague far and wide until I stumbled upon a picture of it on someone’s internet garage sale – bringing back memories of my childhood shield.
Thank you Lord and our Daily Prompt! I enjoyed the memory! Amen!