Steel Magnolias

I visited the mother and grandmother of the little ten-year-old girl who was electrocuted at her home. The grandmother had really raised them both as the mom came to live with her when mom was fourteen. We cried and hugged, trying to make sense of what happened, all the why’s. I did my best not to offer platitudes, trying to remember what had meant the most to me in that time. Some of my readers may not know that we also lost our oldest daughter at nine in a fatal car wreck along with my mother-in-law.

Driving back from Juarez, I heard a song “thankful for the scars, for without them I wouldn’t know Your heart.” It’s true. I felt closest to God in the deepest hell a mother can find. But I can’t yet say I’m thankful for the experience. I told them both to hang on to God’s hand, that he was big enough for their anger, their shouting, their disbelief, but not to let go. To let go would be to fall into a pit of bitterness.

I visited them three more times, once with the pastor from a visiting team. Each time they seemed a little stronger. But they are so worried about their men who do not talk. The women have each other, their tears a special gift from God. Tears help cleanse our emotions. But men don’t seem to want to use those tears. They hold them tightly in, like keeping a special bottle of wine or perfume for years. They don’t understand that their value is in the pouring out.

Lately I have worried that I don’t cry as easily or as often as before. Maybe just a change in hormones or maybe a hardening to the horrors of this world. But, the tears came for these two women who are holding their family together amidst the tears. The unnatural order of death and the sudden and final event is so shocking. The world seems to shift under our feet. The only choice is to hang on to our faith in God, test it to see that it holds. And one day the scars may allow us to be a comfort to another.

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