You see that little glass object in the photo? You know what it is? If you said it is a glass canning funnel, you would only be half right. That little glass funnel is a representation of a God Appointment. That little moment when someone says something to you or does something for you which to them seems a simple and straight-forward act, but to you it is just the thing you needed at just the time you needed it. That’s a God Appointment. A simple encounter with a person that comes about just when you need it most.
I received this gift this weekend from my neighbor who was simply trying to find a home for this last item left from cleaning out her mom and dad’s house. You see, my neighbor has been in the process for the past 14 months of dealing with the “stuff” that remains when parents pass on or go into assisted living or the nursing home. During her process I have been the recipient of many “gifts”. She has donated fabric to our 4-H club for sewing Operation Santa stockings, she brought me a couple of lovely denim jackets, but Saturday’s gift, this funnel, was the most timely and precious gift of all.
I was out in my garden (as usual) Saturday evening, pulling weeds and thinking about a devotion that I was to give at work on Monday. (for those who don’t know, I work at a church). I knew what I needed to say, but I wasn’t sure WHAT to say. That’s when my neighbor came across her front lawn.
“There’s the woman who cans,” she said. “This is the LAST of the things we have to get rid of. It has been sitting on my table and I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with it. I knew it was too special just to give away, but when I saw you, I knew you would give it a good home.”
She could not have known how meaningful this gift was to me at that very moment. I hugged her, with tears stinging my eyes and thanked her for the gift. I told her that her gift brought back memories of my grandmother, mother and Aunt Lola. This funnel represented the labors they put into their daily lives, it represented the keeping of the home and that spirit of doing it yourself that they ingrained in me, through no direct fault of their own. I watched these women and simply wanted to grow up to be like them.
But the symbolism of this small, glass gift goes beyond the memories of the by-gone era of aprons and house dresses, of brush rollers and Dippity-do, this also represents a difficult decision that I have been prayerfully considering for some time. It was, to me, the confirmation I sought that I had made the right decision. This gift and the fact that it was the last thing that she needed to place to close the door on the long process of figuring out what to do with her family’s things, an item that she sought the perfect owner for, was meant to be a symbol of the return to my life at home.
The day before this God Appointment, I sat down with my employer and turned in my resignation. My final day on staff there will be June 30. Our family has prayed about this decision and considered our options and came to this conclusion a couple of months ago. We’ve been living with the decision during this time, praying for the clarity this would be the path I should take. In my eyes, my neighbors gift was more like a welcome home gift than anything. That her journey of settling out her parent’s estate, while not linked to mine directly, started and ended at nearly the same times as my job, is not lost on me. It was my BOOMING voice telling me that this time is done and it is time to move on.
I cannot wait to employ this beautiful gift and every time I use it I will be reminded how God uses each of us in the lives of others. While I will miss the people at my job and my interactions with people who come through the church, I would be lying if I said I was not excited to be back at the table full time. To those I leave behind at work, please know that I intend to hold on to you tightly as we transition from co-workers to friends.
So, look for this blog to reflect more of my gardening, cooking, sewing and home projects! I am excited to see where this change takes me. It will require some adjustments and some scheduling, and perhaps I will get scheduled to make a few God Appointments too. In this time of so much horror and grief, I think we could all need to be a part of these wonderful acts of kindness, either giving or receiving them.