So, here I am again, trying to bring a little more organization to my work space! Keith, my favorite computer guru, is coming this morning to investigate some issues that need addressing.
To that end, I thought I would make some effort towards cleaning up my email folders. The world has changed dramatically since many of those additions and they are simply outdated—both in content and application!
Thinking it just a mundane task, I have been proved very wrong! Oh, my goodness, what a gift has been given me today, early in the morning!
Thinking I would just speed read, discern what should stay, what should go, I came across a folder devoted to my friend, Kaye. She was our pastor for many years. She remains my pastor. Among her gifts, which are many, she was our shepherd through the death of our long time pastor, Howard Olds. It was not an easy task. Her contributions have been endless and continue.
Kaye and I had the honor of being part of a Covenant group for many years. We met every week. There were six members, as is the norm for a Covenant group. Small. Our intent each week was not planned around an agenda, book, or study. It was predicated on holding a cross in hand and sharing our lives as they relate to compassion, devotion, worship and social justice. We were to hold each other accountable in ways that would move us forward, challenge one another…..but, most importantly, encourage us to grow in God’s grace and use that growth in a hurting world. It became an important part of who we are now.
Those hours included our shared grief during the illness and death of Kaye’s beloved daughter, Leslie. There are simply no words that can adequately honor those times together. They continue to this day as we remember Leslie and fully realize her witness to our own lives. She lived her young life fully and her legacy is honored by the many ways we use what she taught, what she modeled, who she was.
So, I reread Kaye’s writings now, having lived through and enjoyed all those hours together. Her words take on new meanings, new challenges, they become cumulative rather than individual entries.
Her folder had many, many emails, documents, sermons, prayers, laments and joys. Reading each one carefully from the very first forward taught me something I thought I knew….should know! Each lovely, individual writing adds up to our lives together. It draws a picture of the person writing. It affirms that life does include many joys and many sorrows but they become part of a landscape that is supported by love, by community, by silence, by prayer.
They are not all easy to read, of course. They are honest in the vulnerability Kaye shares…. the replies the same. They reflect the very human condition but fully acknowledge God’s power, his love and our need for his grace. They are an example of unintended influence, just day to day living.
What I see the most and feel the most from all these words… is strength. Strength gifted by God and accepted to do the hard work, strength that brings comfort, strength that dances at joys, strength that mandates our call to be all we can be, all the time. Even when we don’t think we can. Even when it is really hard. Even when it doesn’t intersect with the prevailing culture.
I have always thought Kaye a woman, a person, a pastor, of courage. I just read (and am still reading) what that looks like.
A reminder is often necessary to affirm the cliché and overused words that living really does happen moment to moment. Those moments in fact do become our lives with ripples we might never know, most likely won’t know. They become who we are. I just read them.
You guessed it! Kaye’s folder will make the cut!