“Never had set my foot inside a church door,” Carol said, ” and when I did go they were talking with their eyes closed.” Her grandmother had to explain praying to Carol.
Several weeks after moving into Killingsworth Carol had asked to go visit her elderly grandmother. During her visit she was invited to accompany her grandmother to church, but Carol declined.
After several months of hard work and many hours of reflection Carol returned for another visit with her grandmother. Her grandmother asked her again to go to church with her, and this time Carol said, “I brought a dress home with me. Yes, I’ll go to church with you.”
Carol was telling this story in the Monday night house meeting that all residents and staff attend. Much of the sharing is matter of fact; sometimes the sharing is sad; sometimes there are victories to celebrate. But this sharing was different. Something in Carol’s voice had silenced all the impatient sighs and whispered comments; something peaceful in her face had stilled the usual shuffling, and squirming. The room was warmed by her story, but Carol told us she was having cold chills telling about going into the older ladies’ Sunday School Class with her grandmother.
She spoke in awed tones about listening to her grandmother and her friends pray. And she rubbed her arms as she spoke about her feeling of peace when she heard them pray for her! Carol laughed nervously saying it was giving her goose bumps to talk about it. They invited her to pray, and she hinted that she tried.
After the 11:00 a.m. service, she had been given a tape of the morning’s sermon. She described listening to it as she drove back to make the Killingsworth curfew. ” It was funny,” she said, “how fast that trip went! After knowing this feeling is possible, I don’t think my life can ever be the same. God is a little scary, but good scary. I want God to be a part of my life like in my grandmomma’s life.”
The Bible she received her first week at Killingsworth had very small type and language Carol didn’t understand easily. What a good gift that one of our volunteers talked with Carol about her amazing experience of grace, understood her puzzlement, and arranged to get her a Bible written in language more helpful to those who are just beginning a faith journey. Even at this tender place — though everything about Carol may seem much the same — she was exactly right when she told us in the house meeting: her life won’t ever be the same again. Thanks be to God.