Today was the absolute biggest day of my life! My adoptive dad gave me a ride to Sunday school , and I was going to meet him and sit with him in church. After church, he (His name is Melvin.) and my mom, Doris, were going to take me out to lunch and over to their house for a while. After Sunday school, Gloria came up. "Sarah, do you want to play your song for me?" she asked. Of course, I did! She said it was beautiful.
Gloria taught this morning, and her lesson was much different than usual. She began by explaining a little about Praise Gathering. "It's a weekend of celebration," she said. "On Thursday night, we had to begin this weekend of celebration by announcing that a van with members from one of the choirs had had a terrible accident. One person was dead, and three more were in critical condition. They were all in the hospital. As the weekend went on, two more members died. One is still in a drug-induced coma, and they don't know if he will make it. All this happened on a weekend of celebration. How do we praise the Lord in a situation like this? How do we keep from becoming atheists in a situation like this?"
The lesson went on, and I thought that Gloria sounded very close to tears at times. Then she put us in small groups. "I want you to tell me how you interpret these verses that we always bring up. I want you to tell me something that I can tell these parents as I am sitting with them. I need you to give me some hope."
I do not think that Gloria just said this to draw us into the subject. This was no drama. I could hear in Gloria's voice that this was a very real search being conducted by a very emotional and compassionate woman. She had no answers for the parents--or for herself.
As I came to a particular line in my song, the whole force of the song hit me, and I felt its impact flow through me and hit my voice and my hands on the piano. "He's in the loneliness of the people in our churches. Do we see how needless our search is?" The search ended right there at that piano, with Gloria sitting on the bench next to me. I was looking for obvious signs of need in the church. The need was before me. It surrounded me. This time I had seen it, and I had to seize it before it slipped away.
I think back now to something Gloria said in the beginning: "Sometimes I might need you to minister to me." Over and over during the past two and a half months, I have seen that there are needs in the church which are sometimes overlooked because these needy people should know the answer: God. But sometimes I think God calls us to minister within the church. His people need to feel His touch just as much as those outside the church. We need to realize that today.
I do have an answer for Gloria. Our chapel speaker provided the basis for it. A little boy's friend died in an accident, he said. Soon the little boy's mother noticed that the boy was gone for an hour every day, so she asked him where he went.
"I go over to Billy's house," he said.
"Why do you go to his house if he isn't there?"
"I go to see Billy's mother."
"What do you do with Billy's mother?"
"I crawl up in her lap and cry with her," the little boy said. That was all.
I think that grief is something that is easier to bear when it is shared. Sometimes all anyone can do is share it. Death is not something to be analyzed. I read an article by the founder of MADD, and she stated that for many years she spent her energy concentrating on how her daughter died. Instead, she said, she needed to concentrate on her daughter's life and to deal with her grief. All we can do is face death in its absolute horror. It is real. I know that because of Copy's death, which was very unimportant in the big picture but which was my worst nightmare as a fourteen-year-old. I had to face it, though! There was no justification or reason, but only the simple and awful truth that she was no longer with me.