In Prayer, A Way Out Of Sorrow

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I stood in church, my head bowed, my tears falling.

My friend Donna had died almost two years ago, and I still missed her so much.

I came to really know Donna as she was dying. Nothing more could be done -- no more surgeries, no more drugs, no more maybe cures.

I went to visit with Donna because it seemed the right thing to do. I had the time while my toddler son was in preschool. I felt good doing this -- giving my time to another person. But from the very first visit, I was the one who received. Donna's gifts to me were her friendship, her courage and her love of life.

In church, I had to muffle a sob, and my shoulders starting shaking. I prayed for Donna and for the family she left behind. I prayed a little for me, too.

We knelt, and then we stood again and prayed as a community: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the words and I shall be healed . . . "

I closed my eyes and as I spoke these last words I felt enveloped in a comforting warmth, like an embrace. I felt lifted up, and it was as if the whole church fell away from me. Suddenly my pain was gone. I felt healed of my sorrow.

When I opened my eyes beautiful music played and voices were lifted in song. My tears had stopped flowing. I smiled at my husband and at my son and followed them to receive Holy Communion.

-- Cheryl Somers Aubin is a writer and memoir writing teacher. She lives in Vienna, Va.

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