I was visiting a 96 year old parishioner and we were sharing our common love for service. This woman has run Sunday Schools, flower committees and served on various Boards and committees. She asked if I was busy and I said I was but that I love every minute of it. Then I realized I had overreached, spoken without tempering my remarks with a sense of limits and I qualified myself with, “Well I love everything except for meetings.” She responded with, “I loved meetings, I was a good organizer and had a strong attention to detail.” I was impressed, there are many who love meetings like her but most are reluctant to say it, it’s somehow uncool to like meetings now.
With a beaming smile she continued, “My gift was organization. That was the gift God gave me. I think you should bloom where you’re planted.” I sat there and let her words sink in. What wisdom! Further, I looked around me. She and I were sitting in a room at the facility where she lives that was 100% decorated with flowers. Wow! She smiled, she beamed, she was a flower who had bloomed. The gift she received had been watered by the Spirit and given with grace-filled love.
Her greatest achievement, she said, was taking over a Sunday School many years ago, in a far-away church, growing the enrollment from 35 to 435. While back then church attendance was the norm this accomplishment was still mighty impressive, sure every young family went to church then, but which church they attended had a lot to do with how the Sunday School was organized. Today Sunday School coordinators have to find teachers for 10-25 children in most mainline churches, then we are talking hundreds of children. Being organized, liking meetings, was a great gift.
The idea that we can and should “bloom where we are planted” is a wonderful way to look at our lives, our discipleship. Rather than lament what we didn’t receive, in my case the ability to sing, this woman looked at the gift she did receive and worked hard to mature and share this gift with others. What a witness!
And this is why I love to visit…