The first impression I had of the lady in the doorway was of a deer in the headlights. Wide-eyed, she was looking around the room. That’s when I met Linda.
We were having our “Small Group Rally” in the church auditorium. Our small group table had filled, so I was headed to the side of the room to get another chair. I looked up to see a petite, wide-eyed woman standing in the doorway.
“May I help you?” I asked.
She was there to find a small group, so I invited her to come to our table and sit in the chair I had in my arms. The evening progressed. We exchanged information. She wasn’t sure her husband would be interested. “He likes things like motorcycles”. We assured her so did several men in our group. She nodded. Maybe he would come then.
And that is how our friendship began.
She and Loren began attending our small group. She was like a sponge, soaking up new insights. She jumped right in with both feet, eager to learn and grow.
They shared about their teenage daughter, Danielle. Such a troubled child. And Cameron…..the boyfriend. A bad influence. But they still prayed for him.
Soon I felt a connection with Linda. We could communicate with eye contact……a raised eyebrow…….a gesture. She would call me the day after group met with questions or concerns. She was afraid she might have offended someone with her comments. Or she disagreed with a statement that had been made and wanted to work through it with me.
We laughed and prayed together on the phone.
My concept of a telephone call is “bottom line”. I just don’t enjoy talking on the phone. But one evening, Linda called me at home with an extra urgency in her voice. As I listened, what I was really hearing was a mother who felt like a failure. She hadn’t done enough…….or had done it wrong. Tears began to flow.
We talked for two hours. In the end, she understood she had done the best she knew how and Danielle was making choices that Linda would not make.
Loren and Linda asked for prayer about selling their home. It all went very quickly. Soon they found the perfect place. Linda was so excited to have the group Christmas party in their new home.
At our church ground-breaking on July 10th, my husband John and I sat and talked with Loren, Linda and Danielle. I saw the pain and fear in Linda’s eyes when Danielle left to go find Cameron.
August 1st was a beautiful sunny day.
As a bookkeeper, the first of the month is always a long day at work for me. I worked straight through from 7:30 to 4:30. Hungry and eager to get home, I was a little dismayed when John asked me to leave again as soon as I got home. He had purchased a new bicycle and very kindly asked me to take him to the cycle shop so he could ride it home.
We pulled out of our driveway just as the 5:00 news came on the radio. We heard the words “two females shot at 26th and S. Edison”. When John asked where 26th and Edison was, my answer was “Linda and Loren’s”.
I sat in the car in front of the cycle shop, while John went in to change into riding clothes. My cell phone rang. It was a lady from our “care group”, asking me if I had heard about the shootings. She said they were showing Moreno’s house on television.
I told John the news update when he came out to the car to say I could go on home. By the time John got home, I had already called our Pastor. John met him at Moreno’s. Then John called to say they were following Loren to the Police Station. John’s next phone call was the hardest. “The worst that could have happened has happened. They are both gone”. Loren had been told his wife and daughter had been shot……..murdered in their own home.
Loren and Linda were not at small group last night. But they were. We could see them, sitting on the couch, Linda’s laugh echoing in the room. We have lost one of our family……..and we grieve. But not without hope. Linda has just moved again, sooner than she expected. Now she has a mansion.
And our phone calls have become a treasured memory.
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