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Reflections on a Sibling and the SaviorDecember 27, 2011
My sister died today. That is not language we use anymore in our country and particularly in the polite culture of the South. Nobody dies any more. Nobody has died since the fifties or sixties in our culture. They “pass” or “pass away” or my favorite, “enter into rest.” They don’t die. Or do they? It depends upon whether our lives are based on biblical truth or the basic teachings of a pagan culture. My sister died today. The Bible says that we are appointed unto death once and then comes the judgment. The only indication in the Bible that people do not die is that Jesus makes clear that believers do not experience the true and real and deep pains of death. Mystery there to be sure but no mystery about what happens to us at the outer limit of life: we die.
My sister died today. Born on July 25, 1953 and adopted soon thereafter by George and Evelyn Wright who had been told that they could not have children normally but one fourteen months after Alta came to join the other baby (me) who had come into that home shortly after September 23, 1952 my Mom would give birth naturally to a boy, Harry; on November 1, 1954. There we were like stair steps in the home. There is a picture of us all three sitting in bathing bowls and it is clear that our ages are very, very close. Alta and I were adopted out of an adoption ring that was running in Augusta in those days. Some were making money in sneaky ways and the positive benefit was that babies like Alta and me got better homes in some ways than we would ever had otherwise. Many of those babies were born to young teens who lived with their parents in a mill town district known variously as Harrisburg, Frog Holler and Pinch Gut. Many of those teen girls found hope in Medical Students at Talmadge then MCG and whatever it is now. Many found despair instead as they were left pregnant with babies that they could not afford to care for. That was my story. Alta’s was different.
Her biological grandmother was full Cherokee. Her sister who died in recent years was very much Cherokee and so was Alta when her hair was longer. I do not know that I ever knew her to be happier than when she found her biological family. Life in our adoptive home was never easy and most painfully difficult after my father died. We had almost all that the world could offer and were spiritually poverty stricken and emotionally malnourished. We were supposed to find happiness in things and stuff and trips and you get the picture; it did not produce then. It does not produce now. So when she found a sister who looked so much like her, she was happy.
We were not close. Death divided us and the trauma of our home caused too much despair. We never talked about it really. How could we? What would we say. I saw her on Thursday and had a good talk. I assured her that I loved her; she most wanted to know that from me. I prayed with her and held her close. My sister died today.
My only hope in life and in death is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why on this day on the Eve of Christmas and on the morn of the day of Christmas I will not grieve but will rejoice that there is hope for sinners in only one Savior who is to be fully savored because He entered this life that through His death we might enter life forever with Him. He alone is to be treasured above all things and all else.