Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Betty the Church Lady


I was thinking of A Secret Infatuation the other day.

By the afternoon the drizzle had ceased but the mist was as thick as ever. It was almost teatime when the Reverend Mr. Watts phoned. He had a small house on the other side of the village, perched off the narrow road on the steep side of the open moor, no distance away but awkward to reach, some way away from the first of the village cottages. 
Eugenie, listening to his anxious voice, felt sorry for him. His cold was worse, he complained--if only he had some cough lozenges or even a lemon, and he had finished his aspirins.
"I'll come over with whatever you need," said Eugenie, cutting short his unhappy complaining. 

and later

There was a message for her when she got back home. Could she go and see the Reverend Mr. Watts about the Mothers' Union and the pram service and could she at the same time bring him some more aspirin?

Eugenie is just doing what a church lady do. Other heroines in the Canon bring flowers to the church or organize lines of Sunday School kids or host stranded travelers overnight because the Rectory is so massive and wash out large tea urns all in the normal course of church-y events.

I really relate to La Neels's church ladies. I belong to a congregation that exploits free labor puts one to work and over the years I've been a pregnant and nursing Cub Scout leader, Sunday School teacher, on the activities committee, president of the women's auxiliary, etc. Right now I have two jobs (never the flowers! Why don't I ever get the flowers?). For one of them I teach a class one hour a month on an assigned topic for an adult class of 30-ish people. The other is called 'Compassionate Service Coordinator' and I facilitate all the serving that needs doing. This means that at any given time I'll have a text on my phone that someone just had a baby or had surgery and needs meals brought to them or rides to the hospital or temporary childcare.

Anyway, I think it's made me wiser about my own human nature--how happy I can be when I've really done some good. And how hard it is to pick up the phone when I know who it is and what they'll need and how much time it will take.

Does anyone else have any fun church (or other secular service organization) service stories to share? Times you've been pressed into service like Eugenie up there?