Reblogged from: Midweek Manna
I chuckle and smile when I remember her. As you read this, read this with only the best of thoughts and a sense of gift. For she was a gift to me and the church.
It is hard sometimes to love difficult people. It is harder to define difficult people for there are more times than we want to admit that we ARE difficult people.
When I met her she and her family had been told by many churches they were not welcome to come back. They were too disruptive or too difficult. And the truth be told in many ways it was true. But somehow it did not seem appropriate to say you are not welcome. So we welcomed them.
She was the first to get to church on Sunday. I actually had to tell her that she had to come later as I needed some time alone in the church before worship. When she came, she demanded your attention one way or another. So she reluctantly came later.
I gave her a job. She put the registration envelope and sermon sheets on the chairs—every other chair. When someone came into the room and saw her doing her job, she made sure that they knew she was doing it exactly as the preacher had told her. When she was done, she waited for me to give her a word of praise.
Mandy gave her some dresses that her mom had passed along. Again, you would have thought she had gotten them from Saks Fifth Avenue. She wore the dresses with so much pride. I think she enjoyed the fact that the preacher’s wife had thought of her in the gift.
During the songs of worship, she danced. She sat at the back of the sanctuary but she danced. There was no doubt that the dance before the Lord was authentic. I think in her younger days she must have enjoyed dancing.
She brought the preacher pies. Now few of them were edible. But she was so proud of her pies. I would take them and thank her for her gift. The food she brought to our fellowship dinners was not edible so we would quietly remove them. When she asked, I would tell her that it was already gone!!! She would laugh.
She confronted people in a nasty way sometimes. I would have to tell her that her words were not appropriate. I would tell her to be nice. There were times when I would have to gently move her away physically. When guests came to church, we would smile and tell them to understand that she would say some things that were not appropriate. I would tell many she was a special gift from God requiring us to love. Her discussions ended with the line, “the preacher said…” Trust me I never said most of what she reported.
She dated Elvis, owned the Saints, and was filled with more stories than life could have ever imagined. There is a part of me that always wondered if some of what she said was true. I think all of it was true for her. You never can tell where people have been!
When I visited her in the hospital, she thought she was always being abused. She was not a hospital friendly person. I do not think she liked being cooped up! But she would settle down when I would tell her that she had to do what they said. They were helping her to be able to go home. The nurses loved to see me coming!!
She loved her church. She knew that the church loved her. Oh that the church could love like this more and more! Oh that the church could be loved like this more and more.
She is now dancing in heaven I am sure. She gave me more than I want to admit. She gave me a glimpse of how God loves difficult people right where we are.
Remembering her I cannot do anything but chuckle and smile.