When No. 1 Son was five years old, he entered and won a poster contest sponsored by the local electric company. The award ceremony, which included a fancy-shmancy catered dinner, was going to be held at a historic plantation house in Nashville. Notables from the Nashville political and social scene would be present for the occasion, along with reporters from local news stations. This was going to be a BIG DEAL.
A night out, a fancy dinner, an opportunity to meet and talk to new and interesting people...I should have been excited. Instead, I dreaded the approaching festivities. My gloomy mood only worsened as the date drew nearer. Sometimes it's so hard to be cheerful, to be grateful, when....
Enter Amy, a friend from our little church plant. Amy was an executive at a Nashville publishing firm, one of those women I tried not to envy for their glamorous lifestyle. Smart, funny, a sharp dresser....Amy unknowingly made this mother-of-six unduly aware of my frumpiness. I had a saggy, baggy body and wore saggy, baggy mom clothes that looked like pajamas and that were often splattered with spit-up or bits of baby cereal. Amy, on the other hand, usually looked like she was ready for an appointment with the President. She would have fit right in at a fancy awards ceremony.
I answered a knock at the door a few days before the dreaded event. "Camille, I've been digging through my closet and think I have a few things here that would look really good on you..." Carrying an armload of dry-cleaning bags, Amy pushed past me, past the crowd of children at my feet, into the house. "Do you have any dress shoes?" she asked as she headed down the hall to my bedroom. I stood gaping like a fish out of water. What in the world is going on?
"Here, try this first." Amy thrust a hanger into my hand as I entered the bedroom. While I followed orders, she began digging through my closet. Yes, it seems I did have a pair of dress shoes - one pair of black, patent-leather pumps I had held onto from a previous life. "Good. I think we can work with these." Amy backed out of the closet and stood up, a shoe in each hand.
I pulled Dress #1 over my head. "Amy, what is this about?"
"You guys are going to a big 'Do' this weekend, right?"
"I'm dressing you for the ball." She looked at me for a minute, then shook her head. "Nope. Not that one....here try this."
And so, before Amy left my house that morning, I had a suitable outfit for Saturday's dinner. We settled on a beautiful cream-colored dress with black trim. Simple, straight lines, very sophisticated, absolutely gorgeous. She had even brought a new pair of pantyhose. I felt like a mountain had been lifted off my shoulders. Maybe this will be fun after all...
Saturday afternoon, Amy knocked at my door again. She was on her way home from a morning at the office. "Here," she pulled off her long, black wool dress coat and handed it to me. "There are gloves in the pockets, if it's cold out." Amy was beaming. I was on the verge of tears. "Have fun tonight!" She gave me a big hug and left.
Why am I telling you about Amy? Because Amy modeled Christ, and I think we would all do well to consider her example. Amy's keen eyes and tender heart made her aware of a need I had not even expressed. Amy saw an opportunity to meet that need, and was willing to risk the possibility of some awkwardness or discomfort to help a sister. I pray that, like Amy, I will have eyes that see into the heart of things, to the not-so-obvious needs of those around me. And that seeing, I'll have the boldness to act.
4 weeks ago