So I’m doing my usual coffee and snacks prep in the church kitchen this fine Sunday morning. The microphone feed from the Worship Service is working well. I’m listening while measuring out the coffee into the filters.
The phone rings.
I wait while it rings 3 times, hoping that the sound tech or the office assistant will get it-out there, as in-not me.
Nope, so on the 4th chime, I pick up.
It’s a woman on the other end, asking to speak with the pastor, by name. I tell her he is in front of the auditorium at the microphone, and cannot come to the phone right now. I can take her name and number, will give him a message.
She goes into her story about needing groceries.
and how Soenso got some help with her groceries.
and Pastor would be a good guy to help her out.
I mentioned again that he was quite busy, and I would take a message. It might be better to call during the week, when the pastor is actually in his office.
She finally gave me her name and number, which I wrote on a slip of paper with the first available writing utensil I could find—a child’s marker, in the color lavender. Oy, don’t anybody leave a pen near the phone?
It took a bit more mumbling, but finally, I was able to put the receiver back into its cradle.
I finished the writing on the note, then took it to lay on the minister’s desk.
By now, I am about 10 minutes behind for my set-up.
Two other ladies came in the kitchen then.
One asked if she could help by refilling the ice cube trays.
The other asked about the phone message.
I told them the tale about a woman needing groceries, and could the pastor help out.
We all got to giggling about it.
The thing is, the minister’s sermon, coming through the sound system, was about the parable of being a neighbor, using the injured man and his Good Samaritan as an example.
He also mentioned about helping a woman with groceries in the recent past.
Here, by an inconvenient phone call, was the follow-up.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a hard luck story.
As you’ve read before, our family’s been through financial stress.
We are in position now to help when we choose to do so, but it would have to be beyond the charities already written within our budget.
Hearing about a woman’s problems at the same time as the minister’s message did seem to come as a double whammy. I am all too well aware of compassion fatigue, and have to step back quite often to examine why I am in the middle of yet another situation where I think somebody can’t get it done without me.
But the minister’s message was about making a choice to help. Taking one small step, deciding on one certain area with the best comfort and ability to fulfill a service.
A little later in the morning, in a tone of voice I couldn’t possibly believe to be serious, a man stood right in front of me and said ‘you just can’t quit’ doing the coffee and snacks for the Fellowship Hour.
Well, I have given notice as of Labor Day, and I think 3 years is enough for me in the position, and really, somebody else within the congregation should have the chance to do some serving, to show a different flair for the job.
Especially if answering the phone means making nice.
~~love and Huggs, Diane