When I was a Beehive (the first class in Young Women’s back in the 1960’s), my teacher was an adorable newlywed named Cindy Clark. She simply sparkled. She and her husband, Steve, eventually had a gaggle of equally sparkly and creative children (one of whom took a class from me and brilliantly, delightfully broke every rule I gave).
I never saw Cindy without a smile—and I’ve seen her often over the past forty years.
Last Saturday, Cindy and Steve and their family met a tragedy. Their daughter, Stephanie, was in a plane crash with her husband. The flight instructor who was with them died soon after the crash, but Stephanie and her husband are still clinging to life. She is burned over 80% of her body, and he over 30%. They have four children.
How do sparkly people handle such a blow?
Stephanie’s sister, who blogs humorously about domestic issues and speaks constantly about joy, continued blogging, and interrupted her humorous musings with the news of what had happened. She invited all readers to join the family in a fast—and then linked to LDS.org to help non-Mormons understand the LDS-specific way of fasting, and its significance. She also invited anyone who loved Stephanie—or who simply cared about the devastation this family is enduring—to send balloons into the air. I believe this will happen all over the country, 5:00 MST. I will be at the designated park to send my balloon up like a prayer.
Two days ago, I was in the hospital with my daughter, who was set to give birth. I massaged her head and urged her on with words like, “You’re doing so well!” as she labored. In the last moment of birth, when the baby’s head and shoulders were delivered, the midwife told my daughter to lean forward and bring her baby out. She did, and I witnessed the circle of a mother helping her baby into a world which includes so many possibilities, including the most tragic. I thought of Cindy, sitting beside her daughter in another hospital, another unit.
Years ago, I wrote a book loosely based on my sister-in-law’s slow, terrible demise from M.S. I created a courtship scene with the protagonist and her soon-to-be husband—before the M.S. had manifest itself. They are helping clean up the big oil spill in Santa Barbara, and he (a lapsed Mormon) asks her about faith. “So you believe in God despite all of this,” he says. “No,” she answers. “Beyond it.”
That is the kind of faith which has always undergirded this remarkable, sparkly family.
If you would like to join in prayers and a balloon launch, go to cjanerun dot blogspot dot com.