Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Daniel

I belong to a women’s Bible/ study group that meets on Tuesday afternoons. Unofficially, our group is called Companions in Christ because that was the title of the first book we studied when the group formed three years ago. During its first two years, the group’s members ebbed and flowed a little. We now consist of five loyal companions who have been together, faithfully meeting, for nearly a year. During that time we have shared births and birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, illness and injuries, sadness and sorrows, joys and triumphs. We have grown to be a close-knit group that celebrates our diversity of spirit and comes together hand-in-hand to walk this journey as followers of Christ.

One thing that we all have in common is that we are mothers. With the exception of one, all of our children are college aged and beyond. All of us have raised daughters. I am the only one who does not have a son. Of the four who do have male offspring, three have sons named Daniel. I’m not sure what that really means, but it is certainly an interesting statistic.

At the end of each of our gatherings, and often woven through the discussions of our study, we share the incidents of our daily lives and our prayer concerns with one another. Yesterday I shared an experience that I had on Monday.

A representative group from Resounding Harmony sang for the “Service of Remembrance” at Children’s Medical Center here in Dallas. This service is an opportunity for the hospital staff - doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists - to grieve the loss of those children who have died in the past year. This year there were 212 little ones remembered.

Prayers were offered by the pastoral care team, poems were written and read by nurses, and amidst almost total silence, with the exception of a sniffle here and there, the name of each child flashed in a soft white script against a solid black screen. The sadness of this seemingly endless list of lost little ones was broken by quotes and pictures of flowers that were bursting forth with life.

Resounding Harmony sang three selections - “Through the Eyes of a Child”, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, and “This is Why We Sing.” During our warm-up Russ Rieger, our director, warned us to look at him rather than those who had come to grieve because this was an incredibly emotional experience and it is very difficult to sing while crying. We all had our eyes fixated on Russ but it didn’t help much.

They lyrics of the songs become so much deeper when sung in this context. Glancing out at a sea of people who gave their all to save the lives of so many children who ultimately succumbed to death and singing the words, “Can you still see the world for all the good it has to give?” or “If I’m laden at all, I’m laden with sadness because all the world isn’t filled with the gladness of love.” will move almost anyone to tears. The pain and sorrow in that room yesterday were eased slightly in the lyrics of our last piece, a piece that aptly states the mission of Resounding Harmony, not only in the context of the Children’s Medical Center Remembrance service bur in each note we sing. “This is why we sing . . .soothe a soul, mend a heart, bring together lives that have been torn apart . . .this is why we sing, why we lift our voice, why we come together as one in harmony.” I pray that we were a part of soothing some souls on Monday.

Because the theme of the service had been seeds and flowers and life and growth, we were all asked to take with us a sachet of wildflower seeds. Each had the name of one of the 212 children on it. In planting those seeds, the memory of the child lives on. I took my seeds with me yesterday to show my companions at book study. On the attached tag it said, “Remember Daniel.” One of the group members quickly exclaimed, “You too have a Daniel!” . . .Why yes I do.

I do have a Daniel. I have never seen him or heard him or touched him. I have never fed him or calmed him or laughed with him. But I will hold him. I will forever hold him in my heart and in my prayers. When my seeds sprout and bloom I will imagine him as a boy alive, happy and carefree.

I will remember "My Daniel".