As I continued to keep watch, I noticed a calmness here, a sadness there, delights and disappointments. But nothing wanted to be written about.
I told a friend about my day helping at our church’s thrift shop. “I was standing by a shelf of used books when I noticed a copy of My Grandmother’s Hands–the same book I wrote about on my blog and planned to buy. I was even listening to it on Libby on my way to the church. Incredible, eh?
“I only intended to stay and help out for an hour or two, but it began to rain. So I decided to wait for it to stop before I walked home.
“In the meantime, I had one meaningful conversation after another. Each person opened a door and invited me into their thoughts, feelings and experiences. I felt so privileged.
“Then the rain came down in buckets, and we needed to bring in all the wares that were under the canopies outside. When it was time to close, we began taking down the tents. Rain had collected in pockets of the fabric, so we began tipping the tents to let the water pour off. When we came to the third one–you know where this is going–I missed my cue and got drenched. You should have seen me. I looked like a drowned rat.”
“What a day,” my friend said.
I thought I might write about it, but I didn’t know what that day was saying.
During the week, I watched myself in meetings being present and distracted, hearing others and offering suggestions that moved things forward.
I watched myself write up notes from those meetings while Fred researched air travel requirements and deciphered airline speak. I saw myself sitting near him as he booked my flight to Minneapolis for my niece’s wedding in October. I felt so cared for and thanked him. “I know this kind of thing is stressful for you,” he said.
Still, nothing in my week was becoming a story or poem.
Wednesday morning, two days before I was due to publish a post, I still hadn’t written anything. I sat with Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds.
In the quiet, I saw Jesus scattering seeds on the hard path, the rocky soil and in the weeds. Then he found a tiny patch of good soil in me and sowed there. I pictured him pouring more and more goodness into that wee bit of receptive soil.
As I lingered with this image, I began to see that a deep hurt had caused me to protect myself with rocks, weeds and hardness which kept my experiences from taking root. But God found a soft opening and seeded hope, wonder, and stories.
I had thought there was nothing significant enough to write about. But I realize now that I wasn’t able to feel the significance of what was happening.
Love came–through people and circumstances–found an opening and helped me feel and see again.
I watch the rocks and weeds fall away. Birds fly off, looking elsewhere for sustenance. I see big patches of rich, dark soil and stories sprouting everywhere.
Some seed fell on good earth and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.
–Matthew 13:8 (MSG)
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Once a month St. Stephen the Martyr Anglican Church’s Thrift Shop is open for shoppers to come and find treasures. Volunteers work diligently to receive donations and make them available to our customers. The items are priced affordably with those who are on limited incomes in mind. For over 45 years, the Thrift Shop (newly rebranded as the New to You Market) has been serving the Lougheed Mall area of Burnaby with proceeds going to support, not only church ministries such as our Wednesday Lunch Club (an outreach for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness) but non-profits such as The Burnaby Food Bank, Cameron Elementary School, Doctors Without Borders, Union Gospel Mission, Covenant House, Dixon Transition Society, Crossroads Hospice Society. If you’re in the area come by and visit!