Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SING (08/16/18)
TITLE: How Will I Ever Sing Again?
By Mariane Holbrook
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Holding the trembling hand of his wife, Mary, who sat beside him in a folding chair, he dared not look at her. As much as he was suffering, Steve knew Mary's grief was, if anything, greater than his own.
"No one should have to experience the death of a child," he thought. "How will we ever, ever get over this?"
Seeking some sort of physical reminder of little Maria who had died so suddenly and violently, Steve wore his daughter's small Linus blanket around his shoulders through both the memorial service and the graveside service that followed. When it was over and the small group of close friends and relatives had dispersed, Steve drove home in silence with Mary and the rest of the children.
Making sure Mary was resting in bed and the children were occupied, Steve walked deeply into the woods behind their house and screamed, "Why, why, why, Lord? Why didn't You listen when I begged You in the hospital to heal my little girl? I don't understand at all." Over and over he screamed among the trees until his voice grew raspy and thin.
Steve lowered his tired body onto the soft, mossy floor of the woods and tried to make sense of it all.
Three days before, five-year-old Maria played with her two sisters outside on the lawn of their home. Maria couldn't reach the monkey bars but knew her seventeen-year-old brother, Will, who was at that moment driving the family's SUV into the driveway, could lift her. She raced toward the moving vehicle but her brother failed to see her.
Mary was inside the house when the commotion started and was first to reach Maria's lifeless body. Steve, on his cell phone on the front porch, arrived seconds later. They took turns doing CPR and calling for help. Maria, taken by helicopter, died en route to the nearest major hospital.
Will, the driver of the vehicle that killed Maria, was distraught beyond reason. He leaped from the SUV to reach Maria and aided in trying to resuscitate her, without success. After she left by helicopter, Will began running towards the woods, determined never to stop. He was unable to deal with the horrible accident for which he felt responsible, so he kept running.
His older brother, seeing him flee, tackled him and held him down until he could get him back to the house. No charges were ever filed against Will and it was determined that Maria had died by accidental death.
Lying there among the leaves, Steve remembered the first time he saw Maria. He was with a singing group in China in 2004 when a missionary placed the one-year-old orphan in Steve's arms. It was love at first sight.
Steve and Mary had already adopted two Chinese orphans but Steve was sure he could talk Mary into adopting this spirited, adorable little girl.
They named her Maria and she bonded immediately with all the members of Steve's family, including his two birth sons and one birth daughter and the two Chinese adopted daughters. Maria was mischievous, full of joy, sometimes disobedient but always laughing. Now she was gone.
Steve finally got to his feet and started walking toward the house. He felt his singing days were over. Though he accepted Maria's death as God's will and believed that there are no "accidents" in the life of God's children, still his joy was gone.
"I have nothing to give an audience anymore," he reasoned. "How can I possibly sing after this tragedy, the worst thing I've ever experienced in my life?"
For weeks, Steve stayed at home, grieving over his loss, turning away visitors, spending
time in the woods or taking long walks with Mary by his side. Depressed, he
sought counseling along with other family members who needed help dealing with their grief.
One morning, Steve woke to the sun shining brightly through the curtains of their bedroom. He felt a burden had been lifted, a new energy had been released within him, and suddenly he began to sing.
He sang every worship and praise song he knew, loudly, one after another. His joy had returned! God had renewed his spirit and he was ready to go.
He picked up the telephone and dialed a number. "Hi, this is Steven Curtis Chapman. May I speak to my manager, please?"
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