It was 8:30 in the morning by the time I groggily entered the church kitchen. I knew we were ten minutes late, but we always are on Sunday mornings (my husband doesn’t believe in leaving the warm, cozy bed before absolutely necessary).
She was already there.
Our church treasurer was starting to set things up for our pancake breakfast fundraiser. It was the third Sunday in a row that we had served breakfast, and I had decided that today would be the last one.
Let me back up. My church has a Bible quiz team. They, like hundreds of other kids in our denomination, memorize particular parts of the Bible (this year, it was Romans and James) and compete with each other. Every other summer, there is a big quiz competition in a big city. Ours are going this year. But we need money. So my husband, their coach, says “yeah! We should do a pancake breakfast!” A couple of days before said breakfast, I realize that he is leaving most of the actual planning/executing to me, since I said I would help.
It is the first time I have ever been in charge of a fundraiser. Lots of stress, blah blah blah. The first and second ones go pretty well, although the wonderful people in the congregation point out all of the flaws and problems they see. So helpful, since they were things I did not think of. Anyway, I was out of town yesterday, and I forgot that, being Memorial Day weekend, our church would be a ghost town. So I had another nice lady pick up (too much) supplies for the breakfast.
The first breakfast, I had seven people helping. Fewer last week. But today, it was just me and Ms. Toni. I was thinking that the breakfast was already a failure, because we couldn’t do the work of 7 people.
But we did somehow.
The only people who came to eat were ten 20-something-year-olds. We made $15. I didn’t care. I was tired. I just wanted people to eat our delicious pancakes. I ate some pancakes and sausage myself. They were great. I went back in the kitchen to start the clean up.
Toni was there.
She was washing the dishes.
We had a conversation, in which she revealed that she is the age of my grandmothers. I was shocked, since she looks a good decade younger than that! Lord, let me look that good when I’m her age! She mentioned that, like me, she will be gone the next couple of Sundays (but she will be doing professional clowning and I will be at a camp). “I don’t think people will notice that I’m gone,” she said with a chuckle.
And I was struck. Struck by her faithfulness. Her dependability. Her humility. The pure fact that she was there early when I needed her. When no one else could. Struck by her love for our teenagers. Her devotion to doing God’s work, and her willingness to follow the kooky plans of young church ministers like me.
We are moving on to different kinds of fundraisers after this, but I dare not move on without pausing to notice her faith in God which moves her into serving others. Her life touches mine.
It is in moments like this that faith is passed down, and moments like this I am proud to say that Toni is in my faith web.