During the month of September, we are initiating our Grateful & Generous Stewardship campaign, and will be featuring an article each week from a different parishioner as they reflect on what stewardship means to them and how it connects them more deeply to their faith.
by Heather Lawyer
When we first joined St. Margaret of Scotland parish almost twenty-five years ago, my husband Chris and I were invited to a potluck dinner in the church basement where several couples and young families shared a meal and got to know each other a little bit. I remember being nervous, wondering if we would really connect with anyone and if we would feel at home here. What I took away from that evening (aside from a full tummy and some new friends) was that this was a community of people who were generous, genuine, and kind. They were generous with their food and their warm, inviting nature. They were genuine in their heartfelt introductions and conversations. And above all, everyone was kind. I knew we were in the right place.
What I could not have predicted or scripted was how those characteristics would show up for me over and over again throughout my life here at St. Margaret’s. When we were grieving a very sudden decline in a family member’s health, a fellow parishioner sat with me at my kitchen island one morning and listened. Listened to me as I processed what was happening. Listened as I went over and over in my mind what I should do in this situation, and listened as I expressed fear of what was to come. She gave me warm and genuine attention, and just by bearing witness to my struggle she helped me come to peace with it. She showed up, and in doing so God’s grace was revealed. This parishioner’s presence and kindness told me that I would not walk alone.
Recently I had an opportunity to show up for another parishioner. I noticed her at mass, deep in prayer but also seeped in sadness. We hadn’t seen each other in some time since our children weren’t in school together any longer, but it didn’t matter. Our reuniting hug and brief words told me all I needed to know. She was struggling with a family member’s decline in health, and I felt the familiar rush of emotions that I had experienced those years ago. I knew at that moment I would walk this walk with her. I would show up, and in doing so, hopefully reveal God’s grace to her.
Often I think we don’t always know what to do for someone when they are suffering, and sometimes that results in us doing nothing. We keep them in our prayers, but we are not comfortable with the act of walking with that person through a painful time. But being comfortable is not something we at St. Margaret’s rest upon. I have been the giver and receiver of kindness and attention when it was most needed, and as I reflect on stewardship here in our parish, it is this that comes to mind. We simply show up for each other.
We raised all three of our children in this community, and as they begin to form their own adult faith-life, I am grateful they have the foundation of witnessing and experiencing the revelation of God’s grace in everyday acts of empathy and kindness here at St. Margaret of Scotland. May we all recognize God’s call to reveal his grace in each and every encounter with one another. Peace, my friends.