Never am I more convinced in the goodness of humanity than when I’m bearing witness to what goes on in the church in which I work. As the Finance Manager, I am often the only person who is privileged and charged with keeping private, the special offerings people make in the name of a loved one or as a special intention. They are heartwarming, but my favorite of all donations are the ones that come from the people I know have very little to offer.
This morning I got to be the recipient of an unmarked envelope filled with crumpled dollar bills, assorted coins, and one dollar folded into the shape of a heart! The simple direction given in broken English, “for the church”. I nearly burst into tears, but I calmly offered a hug and the largest thank you smile I was capable of. I know in my heart that this person saved all year to give this offering. I asked his name in order to give him tax credit but he wanted no part of it. God will surely give the credit where it’s due, this much I do know.m
On the other side of my office door, a florist has arrived with huge plants and some beautiful wind chimes. The phone has rung off the hook with calls inquiring about a funeral taking place here this evening. Five days before what was to have been his birthday, a family will celebrate the life of their 26-year-old son. (I cannot begin to even imagine how I would cope with this. I have a 28 year old. It hits too close to home.)
Still in all I am witnessing the people of this church, come together in multiple capacities. One lady has called repeatedly asking for telephone numbers as she is trying to find someone to be a house sitter for the family; another has just dropped off food for the dinner they will have here this evening; another will be offering a prayer; another will play during the service; five ladies have offered to be receptionists this afternoon as people come to pay their respects; another lady just called to have me check to see if we have sugar for the coffee cart; another has arrived with linen table cloths for the dinner tables this evening…it goes on and on.
A reminder that school has just started and each of these people surely have other things they were planning to attend to, yet they’ve stopped their respective worlds in order to come together for their friends. It’s beautiful to witness.
I’ve spoken to the Pastor and I can hear the contemplation in his voice. Ahead of him lies the daunting task of aiding and comforting the family of this young man; performing a service I am certain he wasn’t prepared to have to do so soon. Bless his heart, he isn’t that much older than the deceased. He’s at home trying to work on multiple things, yet I know where his heart is right now. It can’t be anywhere else.
Two minutes ago a lady from Iran came in and in a heavy accent and broken English asked for information on ESL (English as a Second Language). She was visibly relieved when I understood what she needed and I treated her especially kind. (I love getting to be a pseudo American Ambassador!!) We chatted about how she came to the states to have reconstructive surgery on her crushed esophagus. (WHAT! OMG!) She showed me horrifying photos! Now that she is healed, she wants to work on speaking better English. We finished our visit with a giant hug and she took off this adorable fish charm that was her purse bling and handed it to me. I tried to refuse but she insisted, telling me she wants me to remember her because she will remember me. (Awwww; as IF could forget her!)
I came in this morning not feeling my best self. I’ve spread myself too thin over the past months. Last week I catered three separate times in addition to being here full time, filling in for a co-worker and also working another part-time job. I haven’t been sleeping; I’ve been stressing out over strained relationships; we’re still trying to decide on a few business options. I could go on and on. Many times I struggle over whether I should keep my church job or move on to something full-time with benefits. I absolutely don’t make enough money here and there are no benefits.
Today I get to sit squarely in the middle of the warmth of God’s love and I get to drink in the love being shared in this building as I continue to field phone calls and answer doors to receive flowers.(Oh and did I mention I can hear little children singing in Latin? Yes. There’s THAT as well.)
When I think of the things in life that I can attach the suffix, “GASM” to, top of the list are the times when I feel my mind, body and soul are present and in sync and I’m giving of myself whole-heartedly. There is no better feeling in the world than to be in service to another; living from the heart.
Thank you, God, for placing me where you would have me today.
I think I’ll stay a while longer.