I saw the crumpled paper out of the corner of my eye while talking to an acquaintance at the end of choir rehearsal. I finished my conversation, bent over, and picked up the paper to toss it in the wastebasket. At the last second I uncrumpled and read it.
I saw my handwriting.
I love to sing; singing in the choir fed my soul. The choir room was my sacred space. Our choir director usually started us with vocal warm-ups, then we'd rehearse a few anthems before taking a break for devotions. We exchanged prayer requests at the end of each break. We wrote them down and put them in a basket, then took one from the basket as it made its way back around.
This evening was different. Our choir director asked us to write down a personal prayer request, one we might not otherwise share publicly. He challenged us to sign our names if we felt we could. It didn't take long to write mine—the words flowed easily. I'd written a personal request but couldn't decide if I'd sign my name. With palms sweating, at the last second, I signed my name, folded the paper, and tossed it in the basket. I'd taken a huge risk. I remember thinking, Anita, you are really desperate to do this.
Now leaving to go home, I picked up that crumpled piece of paper to discover my handwriting. I smoothed it and read it again.
"I'm very lonely. Please pray for me."
I'd found my plea, discarded and tossed on the floor. I was devastated. I put the smoothed-out piece of paper in my Bible, and thought, I'll take this home and throw it out myself! Then no one else can find my confession. A piece of my heart was inked onto that piece of paper. It withered and died that night.1