Here is a short story I wrote for you. Merry Christmas.

God told me not to do anything when the flood came. Sometimes I wish that I could, but I've been up here for so long that I now understand why.

At times like this I like to just stand near someone. That would be help enough. I like to think of it as warming a shoulder, instead of giving someone a cold shoulder.

I had been watching Mother Mae for weeks. The night before the flood I found Mother Mae nestled in bed with her children. She was reading a story about a young man's journey to the stars and back. The candlelight gave the room little warmth besides the warm, flickering feeling that candles usually brush the walls with. Underneath the big cozy blanket on her right was her three year old son and on her left was her five year old daughter. I sat down in the wooden rocking chair and listened to the story she was reading.

"... was skipping from star to star. The dark black sky was as cold as water and each star was a shining stepping stone. He bent down and dipped his hand in the universe and cupped some of it to his mouth. It was delicious. It made his heart feel softer and..."

The little boy had both his arms wrapped around his mother's elbow and he was winking in and out of sleep. His sister was looking intensely at the book and twirling her fingers in her mother's hair. Mother Mae kept reading.

"... in his mouth. His tongue played with the little blue star and then he swallowed the flavor. His throat felt clean and fast. Each time he took a breath of the empty space-air it felt like he was drinking. It brought new meaning to refreshment. He looked a little in the distance and saw a big yellow star and wanted to taste that one as..."

Mother Mae looked at her children who were both snoring. "We'll finish the rest tomorrow," Mother Mae said to herself.

Probably not, I said to myself in the rocking chair. The book would probably be soaked, and the bed... and the garden; Mother Mae's beautiful garden would be ruined. I must say that out of all the gardens in the village at the base of the mountain her garden is the place I like to be most. I'm not the only one who likes to be there. Many in the village know how beautiful it is, but those of my kind know that it's beauty is not the best part. We know it's sacred. That's the best part about the garden. It's not without weeds, but it's consecrated. Mother Mae will garden all day and use the garden as a tool to teach her children. She teaches them to count with the peas. She teaches them nutrition with the fruits and veggies. She even teaches them science and medicine and a whole bundle of learning.The garden nurtures Mother Mae and her family, in fact it is nurtured by her and it reciprocates the nurturing.

But the thing that makes the garden sacred most is what she does in the morning. Each morning she will wake up even before the sun thinks proper and Mother Mae will prune, snip and cut the garden flowers to perfection by candle light. She hums the melodies of heaven, which anyone can learn if they listen close enough when they pray. By dawn she has at least a dozen beautiful batches of bouquets placed gently in a wheelbarrow, which she takes to the market and sells before coming home and making breakfast.

And all of this beauty will be gone tomorrow. At least I know what will happen to Mother Mae.

I watched Mother Mae close the book and get out of bed. She knelt at the side of her bed and started to pray. This was her sacred time. I glided over to Mother Mae and knelt down beside her. I put my arm around her shoulders and bowed my head. And you thought you prayed alone.

"Dear Father," she began. I love to hear others call God our Father. If there ever was a father He was one. "Dear Father, my soul is filled with love for these children. Thou hast blessed me with a beautiful garden and we have all that we need. But these children need a father, a dad of their own."

I know this prayer I thought. I've seen Mother Mae offer this prayer many times. This is another one of those things that I have come to understand since I've been invited to help out in heaven. You can see better when you live in the sky.

"Father, one day my son will be a young man. I have no family to help. At least, I pray, wilt thou bless me with the knowledge of how to raise these children?" She stopped talking; she stopped breathing. Her eyes squeezed tighter and she touched her clasped hands to what must have been a tight chest. She leaned down further with her head on her knees and let out a sob. She was choking on her sobs and her tightly shut eyes were flushing out tears like her breaths.

I hugged her tighter with my arm and started to hum a song of peace that I had learned in the angelic choir. My long flowing hums contrasted the short, choppy tears and breath. I hummed all the softer and smoother. I had done this many times before and I can't help but shed a few tears of my own when I do. My hums started to be staccato.

We knelt there and cried together. An angel and a mother.

Mom, that last line is what you are to me "an angel and a mother."

Mom, there's a lot more to this story. In fact so much more that I gave you only the first chapter. The word chapter might give you a hint as to the length, and the length might give you an idea of the depth it has in my mind and heart. You are the same. You hold great weight in my mind and my heart. I know you. I know that you have sacrificed, and please take a moment to think about the word sacrifice in it's purity, you have sacrificed much for my life. A widow's mite of Christ-likeness.

I thank you most dearly and kindly for the beautiful "garden" you raised me in. I thank you for "praying with angels." Angels only stay and help the sincerest prayers. At least that is my opinion. I thank you for being faithful, and beautiful. I thank you for your simplicity and diligence.

At least I want to thank you with what skill I have. At least I want to say that there are songs to be sung for heroes that plant, tend and nurture gardens. Heroes save people from peril once, and mothers... well they do more than save, they do more than prevent death, they preserve and enrich life. That, that right there is the song that I sing to you with what ditty little words I have written in the honesty of my soul.

Dear mother I love you.

Thank you for not only preserving my life, but enriching it and raising me in your purely consecrated garden.

Love your son,