"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Post Office Ministry

I got up this morning with a list of things to do and places to go, but instead of getting frustrated with the interruptions and delays, I decided to settle into the rhythm of the day and see where it took me. And thus I found myself waiting in line at the post office to mail a certified letter, completely oblivious that I was about to have a head-on collision with a divine encounter.

A younger woman came up behind me wearing a medical blouse of sorts. I said good morning and asked her if she was just getting off a shift. She said, “Do I look that bad?” I said, “No, but you do look tired.” She told me she “sits” with elderly people and had been on duty for 11 hours and had 3 more to go before getting off. She began wiping the tears from her watering eyes and told me just how tired she was. Since the line was long, we had plenty of time to chat. I asked her who she sat for and when she told me, I said, “Yes, I know them. Didn’t the wife die recently?” She hugged herself and said, “Yes, and I miss her so much. I have cried and cried. You know, you get so attached to these people because you’re with them night and day. I have wanted to quit because I’m so tired, but I just can’t. They need me so. Besides, they become like family.” I reached out my hand and touched her and told her she had been given a precious gift and was using it well, and then I said, “I just speak God’s rest on you today,” to which larger tears welled in her eyes as she responded, “I receive it.” We talked a moment more, and I tried to encourage her in her “ministry” before the post office clerk yelled, “Can I help the next customer?”

Upon finishing my business, I turned around to speak to her, but she was already busy with hers at the next cubicle. I had planned to just say, “It was nice talking with you” as I walked past, but before I could, she turned from the clerk and asked, “Where do you….”, and I thought she was going to say, “go to church?” Rather, she posed it, “Where do you do ministry?” I knew what she meant, so I said, “At Grace Church, and I would love for you to come visit us.” She told me she would like to and asked for directions. We exchanged names and a few more details and parted.

“Where do you do ministry?” Oh, the absolute profoundness of that question! I have not been able to get it out of my mind all day. My pastor’s favorite verse is John 1:14 from The Message: And the Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood. He is constantly encouraging us and challenging us to move from our comfortable “pews” on Sunday morning and go into our “neighborhoods” – those places where we meet people where they are, where real life happens, like in post offices -- and minister to them by being the hands and feet and, maybe most importantly, the heart of Jesus.

Maybe, just maybe, I got a taste of that this morning with Deran.


Patti said...

Just read you post office blog…..I was very touched at the sweetness of the Lord’s Spirit b/w you 2.

YOU truly have a gift to be able to talk to strangers and they respond to you. When I try to talk to strangers, they often look at me like I am crazy or just give 1 word answers like they do not want to be bothered w/conversation. I wish I was able to minister like that, sometimes my mind freezes and I do not know what to say. I have several dear friends with this same gift. It is awesome to see it work!!

Anonymous said...

Very nice post, I enjoyed reading it.