Wednesday, August 02, 2006

God's mysterious gifts

The honor of the job ..........
I love my job. It’s like a dresser with lots of drawers. I’m in and out of them all day. The daily push and pull is interesting all by itself, but over time I have noticed unspoken perks. Lots of them. I get to see many different sizes, ages, types of people, but I don’t have to spend a great deal of time with anyone in particular. There is not enough time in the day for that- but I get to know lots of folks and I get to learn little bits of their stories. That’s a big perk. Every now and then, I am allowed into their lives, and those times are the most precious.

The Pastors play a large part in helping people through hard times. I see people experience the mourning and the joy that life gives them. My office offers a short-stop respite where the Pastors’ offices and sanctuary give deep and lasting comfort and peace. I’m a dot and a dash where the Pastors offer parentheses. ( ) warmth and love.

There is a member who brings pictures in almost weekly, for me to mail out. He keeps the church memories alive with random and spontaneous photos. Another comes to my office with questions about this and that, and she always writes down my answers in shorthand. One man shares my interest in Tai Chi, and he comes to grab a handful of discipleship bracelets every few months, so he can distribute them when he’s out and about. A young adult comes to water my plants and to inquire about the chronicles. He keeps me on task when I’ve let too much time pass without writing. Small, miniature members enjoy my treasure chest. I keep happy meal toys and stickers in there for little visitors. Brief Encounters, these special friendships. Brief and very very important. Each one different, and unique. A kaleidoscope of the world passes by my office each day.

Lately, an angel has touched down in my nest. She came carrying a huge burden of challenges. Her basket became too heavy to carry, so she had to drag it alongside her. I watched her grow into her sadness. I watched God take hold of her heart and open it to others. She formed a close connection with her Bible Study group. They extended their class into the summer to keep the connection strong. She walked a frighteningly unknown path every day. Even so-she allowed herself to be comforted and nudged along the way, she stayed on a clearly spiritual path. When her sadness reached fruition, her grief was surrounded, in situ, by so many who had grown to love her. She didn’t see what I could see.

She was wrapped tight with knots of pain, and was held and rocked with soothing friendships she had formed through her sad experience. She is unaware of the effect she has on those around her. They are so focused on her that they don’t see it themselves. It’s surely a God thing. Doesn’t God want us to be community to each other? To grow that way? Reciprocal relationships? Pure and simple love? It’s all there- the continuum of love and support is strong. She calls for and receives, and by that, she gives SO much that goes to those around her. It’s a win-win situation. The pain is there, but so is the love and with that comes the promise of better seconds, maybe minutes- and hours to days.

There was a time that the waiting was cumulatively hard, I could find no particle of ease to give her- so I “hired” her to be my admin asst. It was all make-believe, but I called her when she was late, I gave her things that needed doing, asked her advice, put her name on the sign in board… At first, she thought it a joke, an attempt at kindness from someone who didn’t really know how to help her but wanted to. After a few days, she began to wonder if maybe I was delusional, the front desk receptionists asked about the new staff member on the check in list and I said, “Leave it there a while- tell her she needs to do a better job at signing in and out- the next time you see her.”

I brought a more comfortable chair into the office and called it hers. We cleared a place on my desk for her to work. I begged for her help. She helped me clean out my closet, and I taught her the church chick secrets of mixing mixage for my desk.

She helped me do lots of things, but mostly, she helped me to know her better. We laughed, and we played office. We took a long lunch one day. When her best friend left town, I was the checkpoint for how she was managing. Time passed. Her darkness came, she lost a big part of her heart in the loss of a child-the grief that she carried lingers- I imagine it will for a long time to come. How can it not?

From where I sit, I see that she will remain surrounded by the friendships she has built. And if all else fails, she’s always got an office to hang out in.

Dear God,
Thank you for giving when it feels like you are taking.


Anonymous said...

Indeed, God, thank you for sending our church chick to nest among those of us fortunate enough to love her at her "work church".

Anonymous said...

how are the plants doing?

Anonymous said...

Love your "dresser" analogy - "in and out, the daily push and pull" - just great!...Sounds to me like your angel has found an angel in you, as well. Keep up the very good work, church chick. Your friend, neb.

keysunset said...

thanks for letting me know about your blog!

Keep up the good work, church lady!

Questing Parson said...

Seems to me there's one more pastor there than listed in the bulletin.

jledmiston said...

I like the dresser analogy too. You are a gift to your congregation.

Anonymous said...

Hello? Anyone Home?

the reverend mommy said...

You have a marvelous gift. Thank you for this.

Cathy said...

What a wonderful ministry you provide. Find a job you love and you never have to go to work.