“We often write about love? Yet what is this love we talk about so effortlessly?”
The Sunday of the week of the general, district and parish elections in the UK, I arrived in Church, as usual, 10 minutes late. I hurried through the cafe area where it struck me: “It’s my turn to do coffee”. A friend had asked me to swap coffee duty, days earlier. I agreed and then instantly forgot; until; that moment, when I saw the hatch firmly closed and no sign of mugs and biscuits.
As I arrived there was a lull in the service with everyone looking at grafted jars. I bundled myself into my seat at the back next to my Mum. The service was about the Vine and being grafted or pruned or both. There was a festival going on outside which also caused a slight stir as someone had come inside to use the toilet. I whispered to my Mum regarding my plight. During the service I decided what to do. In the last hymn, I dashed out to buy milk from the One Stop shop. I ran back, hot and breathless, in the hope that no-one would notice.
It might have worked. Except unfortunately the boiler had not been turned on. My Mum tried to defend me. “The boiler just isn’t working” she cried. Except it was, it was just slow to heat up. So the people began standing in a queue and I had to accept defeat and usher them back to their seats to wait for the water to become hot.
The boiler is the site of a previous misdemeanour. Once, when I was new to the coffee rota I had forgotten to switch the boiler on before the service. On this occasion I did not realise the mistake until I had served the first person with a completely cold coffee which she whisked away before I could stop her. It was only after she had gone that I realised there was something odd about the way the water and milk had settled in the mug. It hadn’t looked right. Then I discovered the water was cold. With all the people milling about I couldn’t quite place who the first person was and so never rectified her cold coffee.
Again in that instance, there was a delay in serving out the coffee while the boiler warmed up. The efficient and organised Church stewards looked aghast. However, they spared my blushes, and ever since had ensured that they turn the boiler on as soon as they arrive. It just so happened that the day of my bad memory, was the very day that the person who is usually there to switch on the boiler, was out marshalling a boundary walk.
Finally the water was heated. So there I was, my 86-year-old mum standing beside me, stoical and loyal and helping out by putting the coffee grains into mugs; another kind person from the coffee rota was placing biscuits on the plate; and all the folks were chatty and friendly as they queued up again. I, still flustered as eventually I served them, and racing to make up time, splashed hot water about and spilt milk on the worktop, apologising profusely to all and sundry. This time the organised and highly efficient folk who are always early or on time, hardly turned a hair. They asked how my husband was doing with finding employment and even sympathised with me saying; “We know you’ve got a lot on!”
“ Let love be real, in giving and receiving, without the need to manage and to own; a haven free from posing and pretending, where every weakness may be safely known. Give me your hand, along the desert pathway, give me your love wherever we may go.
As God loves us, so let us love each other; with no demands, just open hands and space to grow.
(Michael Forster (1946-) Copyright 1995 Kevin Mayhew Ltd
How does this fit in with the Secret Santa Blog day? Well, I acknowledge, I have had a lot on, so I couldn’t guarantee that I could write a post in time to email secretly to someone-else. Yet I longed to be part of it. So I asked Paul at
as to whether I could join in, if I had time, by posting my post at exactly the same time as all the others and seeing whether it fitted in with the theme of everyone-else. This was his reply:
Not only OK, but quite inspirational!! Thank you!! You (again) broaden my mind: working within this “Secret Santa” structure? Not even relevant. Connected in our Lord? Oh yes – always!! Your words (again) touch in a very special way. To be part of this in a way that works for you, is right for you – but still be a part of this …. ? Kind of is the essence I was drawn to – before my “logistic brain” took over! 🙂 So, dear Julia, thank you!!
Is this answer and all the above reactions, an experience of Love? I will let you, dear Reader, be the judge of that.