"Before Jesus", Mother said, with serious, somber, eyes.
"Before Jesus"... and I knew this was no time for lies.
"What happened at your friend's house?"
My eyes fell lower still.
I felt inadequate to say
The things we’d talked about that day.
No gauges helped me (just a child
Who’d been protected all this while).

"I saw a picture, Mother.  But, I looked before I knew
The figure in the telescope would be ... nude.
I felt so bad, because, well ... I laughed, not knowing what to do.
And Mother, I just couldn’t say a thing like that to you.
You said, ‘Be careful what you see.
Be careful what you hear.
Be careful of the paths you take.
The Lord is always near.’"

As I look back on yesteryear and those two
solemn faces,
I think of all the time that’s passed,
The many traveled places!
I did not know that time would etch
This scene upon my mem’ry,
That I would pull it up again
After more than half a century.

It gives me clues of what we were,
A day of gentler living;
A day so different from this time,
Days of caring - giving.
Neighbors worried about neighbors
And took their cares to God,
Then put the muscle in their prayer
And helped them turn the sod ...

A day when innocence was held,
As if some hoarded treasure,
And everyone could comprehend.
Its loss was beyond measure.
It can’t be given back again.
The damage won’t erase.
It was a thing you’d like to hold inside
'Til you see Jesus’ face.

"Before Jesus" ... How will it be
For nations, creeds, humanity
When nothing’s hidden, shadows gone,
Illumination exposes wrong?
And ... we’ll be glad, remembering
The prayers we said to straighten things;
The guard we put before our way
Because we pledged again that day.
"Be ye perfect, for I am perfect"
© by Joan Clifton Costner
All rights reserved.




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Awards Two