A few years ago, our parish designated a previously scheduled Trivia Night as a fundraiser for our family. Here's the thank-you note I asked to be read that evening.
It’s Trivia Night, so here’s a trivia question for you: Category, Movies. What 1985 movie is memorable for featuring an Amish barn raising?
I’m sure this elite gathering will have no trouble in naming the movie “Witness” – what a great flick! It starred Harrison Ford as a detective who hides out from the bad guys in an Amish community and attempts to adopt the Amish way of life.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll especially remember the barn raising – the way the community comes together to aid one of its members; how the men and women and children all instinctively gravitate to tasks for which they are best suited; the manner in which the workers seem to challenge each other, even compete with one another, in accomplishing the tasks at hand as rapidly and efficiently as possible.
Of course, it’s a Hollywood version of a barn-raising, complete with swelling musical score, and I’m guessing a real barn raising would be a bit bumpier, a bit sweatier, and maybe even a bit grumpier. Even so, it’s a beautiful image of what the Body of Christ is all about – the corporate unity of believers that witnesses to its faith through how it serves and suffers with and loves.
Here, now, we are the recipients of that service and love, and we are keenly aware of how the Body of Christ is suffering with us. As many of you know, our child is battling a complicated and deadly disease. It’s also very insidious, and we didn’t catch it until it was pretty far advanced. Consequently, she had to be hospitalized out of state, and she's still not home.
We’re happy to report that her medical condition is very stable now, praise God, and she has been discharged from the in-patient unit to an out-patient program.
As much as we’d like to have her home and have our family fully reunited again, we have elected to continue with the program for it offers great promise in helping her beat this rotten disease. The staff is estimating that she will be in this program for 6 to 8 weeks. We’re hoping, of course, that she will be home sooner, but we have to be prepared for a longer stay if necessary. As you can all appreciate, we will do anything and everything to get her the help she needs to beat this disease and regain the joy and freedom which she lived so fully before it showed up.
And here’s where the barn-raising imagery returns to the fore, because you have joined us in that “anything and everything” – by making us meals, by watching our other children for us and giving them rides, by your encouragement and advice and emotional support, and, most especially, by your prayers.
We have said this many times to many people throughout this ordeal: We would be lost without our parish, our community, our friends. Thank you. Thank you. A hundred, a thousand times, thank you. We love you, and we know we are loved. That is the church. That is Christ.