They say empathy is natural for children but comes a bit harder for adults. But sometimes adults just get it right. What better place for it to happen than in church!
Our beloved minister, Don Vaughn-Forester, had missed some time at the pulpit with rather serious cancer surgery around his nose. It required considerable grafting.
The congregation had been looking forward to his return, especially the choir — as his booming bass voice always added much to the musical message.
The day he was back at church was exciting for all of us who came early to prepare for the worship service. But for some reason one singer rushed out to her car after speaking with the choir director.
When she returned she opened a pharmacy bag. While the choir director explained that the preacher would be sporting a bandaged nose, the bag was passed around and we each chose a colorful bandaid.
As the sanctuary doors opened and the congregation began to enter you could hear many a stifled giggle, and tender grins bristled with expectation. As they noticed the minister sitting quietly up front, they began to figure it out, and were touched one and all at the choir’s obvious mission of support and caring.
We in the choir were privileged to stand together in caring empathy with our returning minister. Visitors didn’t know what to think till the surprised minister found the words to thank his loyal choir!
We even had a new member that day who said any congregation which could display such love must be a wonderful place for a church home. And he stayed many years to add his efforts to the work of the church.
This church could have been any community of faith. But it happened to be Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church in The Woodlands, Texas, located in the suburbs north of Houston.
It was both touching and amazing how caring can reflect itself in the little things that stick in one’s memory forever. I don’t recall what we sang that day but I’ll never forget the bandaids, the gentle smiles, and the sense of community we all felt that fine Sunday morning in church.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.