“Carrie, you have wounded my heart. Why do you keep saying hurtful things?”
My sister rolled her eyes. “Oh please, you’re so melodramatic, Sandy. Get over it.”
“You’re always insulting me in front of my friends. Why?”
“Why, why? Always, why? Sis, you just don’t get it. Read my lips. You…will…nev…ver…SING. Stop embarrassing yourself and I wouldn’t have to come to your rescue.”
Growing up in a family of five girls, with me…stuck in the middle, wasn’t easy. I was the plain sister. My hair was plain. My face was plain. My nose was plain. My whole me was plain. But…I could sing. I knew I wasn’t perfect but from the moment I woke each morning, I wanted to sing. My sisters constantly teased me about my singing. Carrie was the worst. She was a year older than me and seemed to find joy in wounding me with her words. Carrie couldn’t sing. Actually, she hated singing. She would scream at one of us sisters for playing a record or hummed as we worked. Just after Carrie’s seventeenth birthday, there was a huge argument between the five of us over our record-player disappearing. Carrie finally admitted she’d thrown it out. She stormed from our house and moved up state with her boyfriend. I never saw her again. Marsha was the only one who kept in contact with Carrie…besides Mother. The teasing continued from the others but not as often or as cruel.
After high school, I worked as a secretary for a pastor in a big church. One day, he heard me singing along to our church’s latest CD. I was busy typing the monthly newsletter and didn’t see him enter the church office. Usually the place was empty on Fridays so I could sing to my heart’s content…where no-one would make fun of me. Pastor Lloyd was just standing there, leaning on the doorframe. It gave me the fright of my life. My face burned with embarrassment.
We had a long talk that day about my voice and experience…or rather, lack of. Within a few weeks, I was singing back-up on Sundays and shortly after, the music director allowed me to sing my first solo.
That was nine years ago. I finally got over the hurt I grew up with…or so I thought.
We had not long arrived home from church, when Geoff, my husband of six years, went to the study to put his Bible away. I began preparing lunch. The telephone rang and I let him take the call and kept working.
“Honey, it’s your sister…Carrie.”
Gingerly I accepted the phone. Carrie’s taunts echoed in my head…they still hurt. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to focus. “Hello.”
Sobs and hic-cups muffled her words. “Sandy, hic...Marsha gave me your…hic number. What’s your address? I need to see you.”
My eyes sprang open. “Carrie, where are you? What’s wrong?”
“Stan’s left me…for another woman…hic…again. But…hic that’s not why I called…hic... Please, Sandy.”
I gave Carrie our address and hung up. Geoff knew of my years of Carrie’s relentless insults. There was nothing Geoff and I didn’t share. I admitted my mixed emotions about seeing her and Geoff prayed for wisdom and peace. I was so afraid she would wound me again.
My sister arrived shortly before two o’clock the following afternoon. She talked non-stop and seemed genuinely happy to see me and Geoff. Her frail figure worried me though.
“Carrie, are you okay? You said yesterday that Stan had left you. You’re also looking…unwell.”
Carrie burst into tears. Geoff left us alone. I wasn’t sure if it was her bawling which made him feel awkward, as it did me, or if he thought it was best for Carrie and me to sort it out ourselves. We were still talking when he returned to the kitchen a few hours later.
“Geoff,” I said quietly. “Please sit for a moment.”
I filled him in on some general pieces of conversation before I continued. “Geoff, Carrie’s kidneys are failing. Without a donor, she could die. Marsha, Eleanor and Sophie, aren’t compatible and she’s asked me to be tested. We do have the same blood-type. What should we do?”
Geoff took my hand. “What do you think you should do, Sandy? It’s your call.”
I searched his eyes, trying to see his thoughts, and then turned to see Carrie’s tear-stained face. I looked into her pleading eyes and felt her anguish. “I think it’s time for wounded hearts to heal.”
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