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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Worship (corporate) (10/04/07)

TITLE: By Our Love
By Johnna Stein
10/09/07


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As we tag along behind the Land Rover Hearst, we are guided off-road onto a mere rocky path. I hold my breath as my husband firmly grasps the wheel to maneuver over the rough terrain and to avoid the largest potholes. I find my right foot offering benign help as I press hard onto an imaginary brake. As we jolt along this narrow winding road, I can see figures descending the hill ahead, closely huddled in small groups. When the dust cloud settles, our family is drawn to the gathering. As I look around, I can scarcely take it in: the pauper’s graveyard.

The desolate wasteland is dotted with white crosses marking the passing and remembrance of each precious child who has “passed on” as they say in Lesotho. No other grave boasts a white cross, only those from the orphanage. We have all come to celebrate and mourn the passing of this tiny child who touched so many lives in her brief 11 months. One by one caregivers share the joy they experienced nursing this critically ill child and the hope she gave. I feel an ache of sadness closing in on me and tears roll involuntarily down my cheeks. I see my daughter racked with the same overwhelming grief. I wrap my arm around her shoulders unable to protect her from life’s tragedy.

As the pastor eloquently proclaims the promise unto this child of eternal life, the African caregivers begin to lament and sing psalms. The power and fervor of their prayers far outweighs the fact that we do not understand the language they speak. Their voices reverberate into the afternoon air for all to hear. My soul is touched deep within and I know I am praying the same prayers to the same God. We all feel as one as each of us places a delicate yellow flower over the tiny white casket. Together we loved her and together we bid her farewell


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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 10/14/07
So moving and tender - you have a wonderful grasp of language. This is poetry in prose. Lovely.
Beth LaBuff 10/14/07
This is very beautifully written! I smiled when you mentioned the "imaginary brake". My daughter just got her license and I use that brake too. :) I know this story has happened many times over and for this little girl I'm glad that this life is not all there is to our existence. Very well done!