Publication Information: McMillion, C. P. (2012, Sept / Oct). Siren. Christian Woman Magazine, 28(5), 62.
The varsity boys, decked out in their school colors, charged up and down the freshly cut field of green last night under the glow of stadium lights.
It was homecoming, and there was a certain exhilaration in the air. Blocking, tackling, carrying, passing, and running, it seemed that each young man was at his best, each one pushing the limits of his endurance.
Parents and friends shouted encouragement, and girls with ponytails and matching ribbons shook pom-poms against the night sky. Both teams had scored, and fans were in a festive mood. A couple of players had suffered minor injuries in the first half, but they had walked off to cheers, and all was well. Homecoming court was presented at half time, the queen was crowned, and the visiting team kicked off the third quarter.
Early in third-quarter play, there was a pile-up around the twenty-yard line. When the crowd cleared, one boy remained on the ground. Minutes passed with coaches and officials surrounding him, but he did not get up. A faculty member stepped away from the group and made a call on his cell phone. It wasn’t long before we heard the wail of sirens as first a hook-and-ladder truck and then an ambulance made their way into the stadium. Minutes ticked by, medics attended to the boy, doors eventually closed behind the stretcher, and the crowd resumed its noisy celebration.
We started for the gate as the quarter ended, not knowing what the final score would be. The ambulance carrying its precious passenger approached slowly, and we stepped off into the grass to let it pass. I am sure I wasn’t the only one who wanted to lay a hand of comfort on this boy’s family or the only one who whispered his name to God.
Protect him, Father. Let him be all right.
I could not help thinking of our own children. We prepare them as best we can, and they step on to life’s field with great excitement. But there is no predicting how the game will go. We cannot know what blows they will take, who will gather around them when they fall, whether they will walk away from hurt with wiser eyes., whether they will walk away at all.
Sometimes we stand in silent witness to their pain, knowing that at the moment of their greatest despair, you may be engaged in your mightiest works of healing.
Teach them to look to you, God, when they are broken.
Teach them to trust your love, to rest in the comfort of your arms.
Father, hold them close.
We whisper their names to you.