Just like my mom, I too had a Thelma. I was in my twenties, she her sixties. I would say an unlikely friendship, as at its beginnings, I didn’t see that a friendship is what it would become.
Thelma was a mainstay in her church, a church that I ‘married’ into. My husband, before we met, had moved across the country, fresh out of college and joined as a youth leader, teacher, helper.
As I began to settle in and make this new church my church, I noticed Thelma.
She was beautiful, she wore her years stylishly, her elegant clothing along with a warm smile.
Our little family began day trips with the Empty Nesters, the senior citizens, Thelma included. One of my earliest memories with the group, we stopped for a roadside break. As others stretched their legs, Thelma unpacked her bags. Snacks, cold drinks, napkins. And small vases with flowers. Packed in her bag! I was truly so amazed!! Tiny glass vases with arrangements of wildflowers, adorning our table at the side of the highway. At that moment, I knew I wanted to know and be more like Thelma!!
Thelma loved to serve. She served her church family with beautiful food, and coordinating table decor. She had specialties, finger sandwiches, bite sized appetizers, and sweets. She made cookies, and butter tarts, cream puffs – her personal favorite, and these wonderful carmely squares with colorful marshmallows.
She would come in before church fellowship events, her car laden with trays and trays of prepared foods, freshly ironed tablecloths, flowers, and platters and candlesticks.
Yet, she came in ‘unawares’. She never made a big show about how much she brought, how hard she had been working, or how much it cost. And then she would set the tables, laboring long to decorate and serve. And when everything was finished, there she’d be. Ready to clean up, load her car again…this time with all of the empty, food smeared platters and cloths. And at home, labor longer to wash, tidy and put it all away till the next time.
I was so fortunate to be able to help along side of her. And watch. And learn. She taught me so much about using her gifts to give to others.
It was in those hours of working together, serving our church family, we got to know each other. To talk and share, or sometimes to just work together in silence when we had to just get stuff done. I would see her at her best, and sometimes a frazzled, tired not so best. As she would see me too! Our friendship was forged, not in common likes, or activities shared. But in working together with a common goal.
In the Body of Christ, we need to see those around us. Not for what they are on the outside. A senior citizen. A teenager. A new mama. We need to see each as a sister. We give, and we get. And in it all, we grow -and graft together. Don’t be afraid to meet and make that unlikely friend.
Thanks so much, friend, for stopping by!