I have two of the most wonderful sisters ever created by God or man. Robin is older by three years, Melanie is younger by four. Both of my sisters have a gentle spirit, always looking for the good in people and even at this age in our lives they remain disarmingly naive about the underbelly of society. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t had their head in the ground, they’ve just chosen to see things in a better light than most.
As a family our spiritual awakening occurred when mom moved us from Maryland (Washington DC area), to Eatonville, Washington. We live for three months with Grandma Jo before my mom was able to join us. Grandma Jo spent her entire life in service to the Eatonville Methodist Church. She didn’t waist any time in requiring us to attend church.
The Methodist church was not the ‘happenin’ place in town as far as offering things for kids our age so she made sure we ended up at the local Baptist church, they had a much younger crowd at that time. For the first time the four of us kids (Robin, Dan, me, and Melanie) wanted to attend church.
Eventually, mom arrived and about 8 months later we moved to Puyallup Washington (25 miles up the road) where mom had managed to buy a home. It was in Puyallup at the First Church of the Nazerene that we all truly blossomed as believers.
During this time my older sister, Robin, would be sure to watch over me as I interacted in the junior high youth group there. I found myself eager to share with her all kinds of spiritually things I’d learned.
While at this church my younger sister, Melanie, first took to the stage. I recall so clearly at the age of nine she was allowed to sing a song during the main service and her trek as a singer had begun. I remember the performance as if it happened yesterday too. She stepped up and belted out an amazingly classic version of “Prayer is the key to Heaven.” She has performed that song on many occasions since and each time i get goose bumps.
My sister’s took different path’s in life, Robin maturing and attending college while working, and Melanie struggling through her teen years despite the touch from God on her life for singing.
Melanie and I had a tough go while she was young. For whatever reason she and I were at odds with each other and on many occasions I would be physically abusive, all justified by reasoning she was a spoiled brat and a pest, and deserved to be put in her place. Then, while she was 14 years old, my mom informed me she’s tried to take her own life and ended up in the hospital. The next time I saw her was at church the next week. I was in college by then (remember we are fours year apart) and had largely lost myself in my own world.
I remember that Sunday the Pastor gave an alter call for people wanting a change in their life, to have their load lifted by Christ. I saw Melanie go forward along with perhaps 50 other people. Our church, by then we attended an Assembly of God church in Tacoma, was very large so Melanie was not alone with struggles in life. I was moved to join her and went forward.
I put my arm around her and as the Pastor kept talking I broke down in tears and cried for my sister. I remember giving her a big hug and asked her to forgive me for the harsh treatment I’d given her over the years.
I told her I didn’t want to lose her, telling her just how much I truly loved her. From that point on my sister and I were forever bonded. That unspoken bond is felt by her and i to this day.
Through all the challenges both of my sister’s have had in life they’ve both remained gentle and loving, both people I could turn to for a kind word whenever my life seemed clouded. Each time they hear my voice on the phone, to this day, they greet me with a smile that comes through the phone and welcomes me.
No moral lesson to this story, it’s not over yet. I walk away from this reflection understanding once again to redeem the time with loved ones. A well placed “I love you” never returns to us void.
Thanks for reading this far.