Pan Appalachian Defender

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Mother’s “Morning with the Lord”

The practice of mountaintop removal coal mining takes a terrible toll on the collective psyche of the communities it directly affects. Mountain people are known for their strength and deep-seated faith. The destruction of the mountains is more than an environmental issue; it’s an assault upon the very roots of a culture. This story, by Kathy Selvage, shows the depth of one woman’s faith and the weight of the disfiguration of her homeland.
She is 88 years old and has spent more years of her life getting to know this Lord than not. He has been the guiding force in my mother’s life and principles. She has advocated and taught those principles to others for a large portion of her life.
In the wintertime, she sits in a chair by the window in the early morning, curtains pushed back, sunlight perhaps shining through, with her Bible and her coffee. From springtime until late fall, it has been her practice to enjoy that “morning with the Lord” out on her porch, alone. Birds chirping in the trees or at a nearby feeder were practically the only background sounds she heard. She’d sip and continue her journey to get to know this Lord. When she lifted her eyes perhaps to ponder what she had just read, she could see and hear His creation.
She could see Him in every plant, tree, flower, and even in the tiniest of creatures. And it was good.
Now, though, she has been robbed of that! She no longer enjoys that outdoor “morning with the Lord.” It has been taken from her. She no longer spends her morning on the front porch with her Bible and her coffee. The smell in the air is not pleasant. The sound of the trucks, bulldozers, and drills preparing for the next blast, the sirens, the blasts themselves cover up the sound of the birds chirping. But the most pain comes when she looks across the way now, and sees the destruction of God’s creation.
She wonders what Bible they read.
Kathy Selvage and her mother live in Stevens, VA. Their lives were disrupted by the opening of a strip mine within direct sight of their homes. Several months later, the mine shut down due to bankruptcy. The site remains a desolate wasteland.


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