One of my very favorite things about living in a small town is the closeness and support bred into its people. Folks in small towns aren't just members of a community; they're members of a family, evident in good times but proven in bad.
A few weeks ago, a little girl in our community became ill. Suddenly, dangerously ill. She was just six years old and -- from what I've heard -- went from being perfectly healthy to lying on her death bed, all in a day's time. Obviously, her parents' world turned upside down. But not just her family's. Her community's too.
During the weeks this sweet girl was in the hospital, I saw a community ignite and go to work. Before she became sick, I'd never heard of her. But I soon knew her name, face and spirit well. Her picture was on flyers all over town asking for prayers and donations. A fund had been quickly started at the local bank. The barbecue joint sold "pork butts" with proceeds going to her family. A Facebook page was started to spread awareness and encourage prayers. And a town square, prayer vigil was held, with more than a 100 people holding hands in front of the courthouse, praying hard for one of their own.
|credit: Laura Estes|
Every time I got on Facebook, I saw townspeople posting about this sweet girl. Some knew her personally. Others, like me, just felt like they did. Everyone urged everyone to keep on praying.
In the end, God chose to take this small town girl to an even better, eternal home. None of us know why. But we're finite, and God's God. I can't fathom the loss that her parents feel. But I do know that on the day of her death, I saw her family members make statements about the "HUGE amount of love in this town," and it made my broken heart smile.
Because that's what we're called to do. Whether we share a town, a last name, or simply, a Creator.
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ., Galatians 6:2