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Her Place in Line
At 43, battling cancer, Meredith learned of Sondra’s presence in her body. With two nearly grown children, Meredith doubted God’s wisdom, and timing in placing this life within her. Still, this last born child bolstered Meredith to fight for her own life and for Sondra’s. Sondra was born on a Thursday afternoon, plain, thin and quiet, yet warm and receptive to Meredith’s touch. Meredith held her tightly, “You are precious!” she sobbed. Wee Sondra appeared to smile.
Three years later, after Samuel’s wedding and Lena’s graduating with honors, Meredith died. Lena, held her little sister’s hand during the funeral service, grateful for the warmth of Sondra’s small body against her own. Sondra provided a buffer from the grief that filled the funeral parlor. Her presence carried the weight of grief that her family could not carry alone. When Samuel smiled down at Sondra, her chin quivered, but Sondra bravely returned the smile.
Sondra was a quiet, common, and mostly unnoticed child at school. The teacher sat Sondra by the troublemakers, knowing that Sondra would not squeal, tattle, or engage in mischief. Sondra spent recess with left-out Alaina, tossing a ball back and forth, listening to Alaina’s high pitched squeals of delight at having a friend. Sondra was always the child questioned to gain the truth of student disputes. “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble,” Sondra would protest. “It is the truth, not your telling of it, that will determine who gets in trouble,” came the reply. Thus, devoid of joy in the task, Sondra would aid justice. In high school Sondra pulled the curtains for the productions. In science class the teacher paired Sondra with Kenny for the final project. Kenny did not know evolution from atom. Still as Kenny held up their project, Sondra stood quietly behind him, and smiled broadly at Kenny’s first taste of success.
As expected Sondra’s older siblings obtained prestigious careers, and moved away. Sondra stayed in her small town serving in the church nursery, singing to the babies, but never in the choir. She made the sweet tea, and cleared the tables at basket dinners. Sondra cared for her aging father. She was the one who felt his hand go limp at his final breath. At his funeral, Sondra smiled shyly at guests from her place at the end of the mourner’s row. Sondra was one of those rare people who knew her place and accepted it with grace.
The mission bus slid down an embankment and overturned, killing all its occupants. The minister peered out the door to see Jesus waiting for his saints. Quickly, the minister ordered his flock. The minister would exit first. Then, the elders, the choir director, and the Sunday School teachers would follow. But upon opening the door, the minister’s shoulders drooped. Jesus was no longer there. For one brief second the minister thought Jesus had left them. Then, a noise from the back of the bus drew his attention. The emergency door was opened wide. There stood Jesus reaching up for the first person in His line of saints. Smiling shyly, Sondra took His hand.
Contributed by Carolyn Primm