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A member of the club

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By Sue Schumann Warner – 

I’M USUALLY NOT MUCH OF A JOINER. Although I think it’s nice to belong to clubs and causes and social groups, I haven’t had the time for that in the last number of years.

I did join a new club a couple of months ago. Most people think it’s a woman’s club, although I’m told a small number of men join every year as well. None of us applied for membership, you understand, and to tell you the truth I don’t believe any of us really want to be a member.

I suppose you could call it sort of exclusive–it only accepts one out of every eight women–although, since it doesn’t discriminate in regard to age, race, religion or social status, I guess it’s really not all that exclusionary. Some of my best friends have already joined…I’ve learned a lot about the club’s history, initiation processes and general membership from them. They’ve been a big help to me.

Some of us will be lifetime members; some of us may become former members at some point. I hope I’ll become a former member some day.

By now, you’ve probably figured out what I’m talking about: it’s the “breast cancer club.”

I joined another club earlier this year–that one’s the “motherless child club.” Never mind the fact I’ve hit the other side of 50–when it comes to mothers, we’re all children, regardless of our age. I didn’t realize how high the initiation costs were to join that one. Priceless, I’d guess, since we’re talking about emotions. I’m just thankful I joined at this late age, instead of when I was truly a child. I needed my mom for far too many years to have lost her love and encouragement any sooner.

All this recent club joining has made me aware there are a lot of other clubs out there, with lots and lots of members. Oh, I suspected they existed–I just never realized what they were all about. Now, I see that there are widows and widowers clubs, missing children clubs, terminal illness clubs, depression clubs, estrangement clubs…I’m sure you know of a lot more; maybe you or someone you love has paid the membership fee to join one or two.

One thing I’ve discovered, though, is that I’ve got a friend who happens to be quite a joiner; he has signed up for them all–every single one. He’s a member of any club you can think of that involves loss, grief, and pain. In fact, I understand he’s a charter member, fully paid up on initiation fees and lifetime dues.

And you know what? Because of those memberships, he knows what I’m feeling–and he knows what you’re feeling–when we pay our dues to join those clubs.

He’s with us in our dark nights and long days. He holds us close–he wraps his arms around us and doesn’t mind a bit if we get his shirt a little damp with our tears. He doesn’t even mind if we complain and tell him there’s a mistake–that we don’t belong in the club, that we don’t want to sign up, that it’s not at all for us.

I think you know who he is.

I like what the Bible says about him in Deuteronomy 31:8, II Corinthians 1:3-4, and John 14:27. You probably have some favorite verses of your own.

Just remember to talk to him as soon as you receive your invitation to join that new club. He’ll tell you all about it. He’ll be there with you. He cares.

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