Still this morning I'm emotionally exhausted. Yesterday I preached on Eccl. 4:7-12 and the importance of community. "Two are better than one." At the end, I talked about how clearly that truth had been taught in the past five weeks to the eight families who were directly involved in the wreck. We learned of the vital importance of community from so many people. First, there were the seven Highland boys in the following vehicle who were told by the driver (as he got out to go help) to stay in the car. They began praying immediately for their friends. They prayed when we (the parents) didn't know to pray. There were also the many people all over the world (check out the comments on my January 16 blog) who carried us in prayer and encouragement. When we were frozen by fear and could hardly pray, others offered those prayers. I invited the eight families down. It was an emotional sight to see everyone up there--two in wheelchairs and one on crutches, Brody's parents and brothers, and all the rest of us. Then four from the group--two children and two parents--offered testimonies about what they'd learned about friendship and community. Here is what Diane said: "When I first heard the news that my child was in a serious car accident, I could hardly bare the fact that he was somewhere alone, hurt, and afraid and I wasn't there. Then a couple of days later I heard news about those who helped our children. I can't begin to tell you how comforting that was for me. "In this world where people are afraid to get involved, our children were surrounded by warm, caring adults. As a mother, I am especially thankful for the women who were whispering into our children's ears with their calm, soothing voices. I'm thankful that they took our place in the dirt, since we couldn't be there. And I'm grateful that they held our children's hands and provided their mothering touch. "On that cold Sunday afternoon in January, these women and men became community in a way I'll never forget." After her words, we invited down many of those who had stopped to help our children and Julie as they lay injured that afternoon. We had invited all we knew of -- many of whom our families had been in contact with by phone to thank and to learn more. And yesterday these "Good Samaritans" came to Highland from New Mexico, Monahans, Midland, Lubbock, and Abilene. Can you imagine what it was like for us to see them in person for the first time? Diane and I got to be with the woman who sat by Chris's side the whole time to calm him, keep him warm, pray for him, and try to keep him awake. When we weren't there, she became a mother to him. Then we invited down all the emergency response people who were able to come. We had 13 or 14 able to come from Citizens EMS, Southwest Helicopter, Eula Fire Department, the Callahan County Sheriff's Department, and a Callahan County judge. Once they were all down, the church broke into long standing ovations at both services. Then as the elders and wives gathered around all of us, Dickie Porche thanked God that these people didn't pass by on the other side. In between the services, we had a private reception with the eight families and all these care-givers. So many of the parents spoke words of appreciation during this time. I was especially struck by what one dad said: our eight families are bound together forever. So, yes, I'm emotionally wrung out. These people who stopped to hold Brody as he was dying and to care for the other seven as they were cold and frightened are a living witness to this old text: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.