Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wine into Water

The First Presbyterian church of Charleston is magnificent. Stained glass, curved, hard wax polished pews, magnificent organ. The wedding coordinator for the church stood before us in a lumpy cotton skirt - but it was 102 degrees out and we all arrived dripping wet. Declaring the church rules she said, "... And NO alcohol AT ALL in the church! I AM NOT jOKING!!! If anyone is caught with any alcohol at all the wedding will be immediately cancelled and every asked to leave the premises. I heard a small stirring and looked over at my young teen granddaughters. They were staring straight ahead, a bit too solomnly. I know that look though. There was mischief afoot! Their dad was doing the same, all the while inching away from a cardboard box sitting on the first pew beside him as if it contained a bomb. The woman leaned forward to make her point, her skirt skimming the box containing 16 bottles of wine that had been delivered and brought in to protect it from the scorching hot car!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Something Worthwhile

My work took me and a student friend to Dallas this week, as part of the requirement of a student award we were granted to help a local school. The event turned out to be valuable, but before I knew that I was just a bit unhappy about taking most of my week to do this task. Steve said to me, after praying for me, "Maybe something worthwhile will happen." My daughter Rachel said the exact same words over the phone.

So, did something worthwhile happen? There was conversation and networking and eating and presenting our school and our work. There was an interesting connection with a mutual friend and some laughing and learning.
As I was leaving the hotel I stopped at the Buss-man's desk to retrieve my luggage and two young guys were there to assist. I had passed them earlier as sentries by the front door and had asked a question and passed a word then. So at the desk I commented on their change of venue and we smiled.

Having received my luggage, the one young man, a tall lovely African American wearing a black with gold trim cowboy outfit said, "May I ask you something?" He was looking at the computer screen and I thought it was a survey of customers.

"Do you consider yourself excellent?" he asked?

Taken aback I paused, and then said, "Yes, I guess I do."

"So," he said, "you don't consider yourself to have flaws."

I laughed! "Oh that isn't what I mean. I have so many flaws. Excellence is about what is inside."

He said, "What's inside? You are excellent but you have flaws. That is how you see it."

 "Yes, of course. I am excellent in that I know who I am and I live out of that, but there are flaws in everything in my life."

Long-ish pause. "So do you have any advice for me?" he asked.

Hmm. I smiled. And thought. And so much wanted to have a brilliant sentence come out of my head. But of course that didn't happen. So I said, (and this won't be exact, but the closest I can remember) "I guess I would tell you that you need to get to know God, and His love for you, and get to know yourself. If you know God and know yourself you will find your way. And you will be excellent."

His turn to pause. "So you believe in grace."

 I laughed. "I definitely do. I need a lot of grace."

"And you believe in forgiveness."

I felt joy to be able to say, "Yes. I need a lot of forgiveness in my life. Always. And for some big things too. But yes, I believe in grace."

 "Keep asking questions," I said. "You are going to find your way." He smiled for the first time.

That was it. I think that was worthwhile.