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November 10, 2005

My Change of Heart

I don't usually like to post (or say, or think) negative things in case someone involved is reading. However, I think this is generic enough that it won't matter too much.

While Danny was sick, I was not allowed to attend church business or committee meetings. If you've ever been to one of these meetings, you probably understand why I, the wife and caretaker of a man with a fatal disease, was forbidden to attend them. If you've never been to one, I'll tell you it's because churches are made up of people and people are not always very sensitive or nice or aware that other people exist.

The first meeting I attended after Danny died I only did so because there were some important things to vote on. I almost left that day directly after church and skipped out on the meeting, but "something" told me to stay. And it's a good thing, because if I (and another friend who showed up directly before the meeting after hemming and hawing about it all day at home)hadn't been there, we would have potentially lost some good friends to The Most Holy and Sacred Church of The Couch. (You know. The one where you get to wear your pajamas and don't have to shower.)

The second meeting I attended was this Sunday. I'm not sure why I stayed for this one. No important vote and the voice of my husband ringing in my head, forbidding me to go.

I'll pause for a moment to just remind everyone that our church members were absolutely fantastic during Danny's illness and after his death. They made sure we were taken care of and bills were paid. Our grass was cut, we had beautiful potted flowers outside our house, and delicious meals every week.

But, boy, did I wish I'd left that meeting on Sunday. I can't tell you how many times I heard someone ask why so-and-so wasn't there or heard someone casually mention that so-and-so was supposed to have taken care of something but hadn't, and what in God's name were we going to do now?

On Monday before the mail arrived, I was still feeling frustrated. Then I went to the mailbox and was excited to see a letter-sized envelope on the front porch from Kenmore, New York. The envelope contained at least a dozen cards and letters from students four to seven years old at Faith Up Church School. Their teacher, Miss Karen, is the sister of Carla who attended Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School with Danny. Both sisters were Popping Culture observers and admireres of Danny. Here are some excerpts from the cards.

Dear Miss Stephanie,
God loves you. We're very sorry that your husband died. We love you with all our hearts. We're sorry that you're sad. We love you.

To Miss Stephanie,
God loves you and cares for you, and so do we.

To Miss Stephanie,
God is there with you through everything. You are in our prayers.

Dear Miss Stephanie,
We love you. We love you with all our hearts.

Wow. What a completely unexpected blessing. I am incredibly grateful for the prayers of these children and for their teacher, Miss Karen, who is showing them how to love.

I am also grateful for the reminder that that there are lots of good people in the world and they're the ones who deserve the attention.

So, THANK YOU to the kids at Faith Up Church School in Kenmore, New York! You guys are the best! And thank you to Miss Karen! I love you, too!

Posted by Stephanie at November 10, 2005 01:52 AM

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These kids are amazing! (My sister is too) I've known most of them since they were born and they still amaze me with their capacity for love and their understanding of God's love for them and others.

The people at both my home church (Faith United Presbyterian Church) and the church I am interning at (Amherst Presbyterian Church have been with and have been praying for you and Dan since his illness began.

My sister told me that she was going to have the kids do this for you and she let me see them before she sent them. I am so glad that they came at a time that you needed them.

We were both touched by Dan and now we are touched by you. Thank you for continuing this part of Dan's ministry.

Posted by: Carla [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2005 12:57 PM

Stephanie, this message is from my sister Karen:


I'd like to echo Carla's sentiments that I'm glad that these letters came at a time that you needed them. I understand what you're saying. There have been people at Faith that made me want to just give up and go home and become that couch potato, but these kids keep me coming back. Each and everyone of our kids are so special and have a very special place in my heart and Carla's. I will print out your blog and bring it to church on Sunday to read to my class as well as Miss Debbie's class. They will be so glad they made you feel better. Thank you for reminding me how very much I do love what I do at this church.

Posted by: Carla [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2005 02:35 PM

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