The Bell Ringer

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When he decided to remain in the small town, he knew certain options would be limited. It was with a twinge of sadness that summer turned fall when all of the college bound kids drove out-of-town. He didn’t expect to see many of them again and if he did, he figured it would just be by chance. The gal he wanted to like in high school paid him no attention. He wondered if she knew how wonderful he thought she was or if she even knew he existed. He knew in his heart as she left for the big state school that his dreams of dating had likely come to an end. Not that he had ever been on one.

A few years later, in his mid-twenties, he found himself wandering into one of the town shops…or shoppes as some of the signs displayed. They knew one another from high school so it was comfortable to walk in and say hello.

Leannette had stayed in town to live with and care for her grandmother. Her other grand-kids seemed to be just far enough away or have just the right combination of reasons not to offer help or even visit. Not unless you call a Christmas card to Grandma help. Leannette always chuckled when she opened the cards for Grandma…knowing, before she pulled them out of the envelope, that it was one of those Merry Christmas cards with the all-American family of smiling relatives you never see anymore.

Grandma’s comment was always the same: “Don’t they look just wonderful.” An to her that is all they were. Christmas card people who just looked wonderful. No more, no less, since she didn’t know them.

One day, Leannette asked the Bell Ringer if he would mind helping her hook up one of those small do it yourself trailers to the back of her car. “Going somewhere?” He already knew the answer but not the details. “Going to Nashville to live with my sister.” “She already got me a job lined up where she works and there ain’t nothin’ keeping me here now that Grandmom is gone.

He held back a tear.

With a lump in his throat, he agreed to be at her house Saturday morning at 7:00  to help with the final heavy box or two and connect the trailer. It had been in her driveway a week so he knew she was close to leaving. It was then he summoned up the most courage ever and asked, “Would you like to go to dinner Friday night?”

“That would be fine,” she said as if she almost expected him to ask. They agreed to meet at the restaurant around 6:30. It was one of the happiest moments of his life and one of the most surprising too!

By 7:30 Friday night, he placed the money for two dinners plus the tip under the glass. After all, he had taken up a good table for a little more than an hour. He knew he didn’t need to walk by her house to see what he would see, but he did anyhow.

 

all rights reserved

excerpt from The Bell Ringer

 

 

Update Leaving Church With Guilt

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Thank you for sharing  Leaving Church With Guilt and the wonderful and constructive comments.

Let us communally pray for those in need. There is so much hurt. There is so much pain.

The good news is God’s news! Let us lift up our prayers this evening.

Scripture: Quote: Verse –

Haven’t done this in a really long time. If you have a scripture that applies to this topic….if you have a favorite verse…..if you have a favorite quote.

Feel free to add it to our comments and I know in advance our community will be blessed.

Thank you all so much for being here!

Maintaining Our Spiritual Balance

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There have been times on my walk of faith when I seem to lose my way or balance. I think I even wrote a post titled My Wobbly Walk of Faith.

When we are spiritually balanced, other areas of our lives become balanced as well.

Our emotions for example…are we quick to anger and lash out? Or, have we learned at such times, to consider what it is we are about to do or say?

During my talk with God about this, I was guided to share the following:

“The good of reason flourishes more in the temperate man.”

– St. Thomas Aquinas

My prayer for us is to pray for spiritual balance so when God guides us to be a gentle witness in this hurting world, we are prepared.

Leaving Church Feeling Guilty

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I have been given the blessing of having some extra time to work and have been finding and following some new blogs.

My heart was touched today when I read a post about a woman who had gone to church, heard the message and left feeling guilty. She was told it was not the “Christian way” to be feeling the way she was feeling.

The woman is a rape victim.

She is not at the point of having “Christian way” feelings toward her rapist.

This is not an easy post to write because her description of pain and suffering is not easy to read. I want to stand with her, exactly where she is at this moment. Acceptance. Letting her know it’s ok to feel the way she feels. To assure her that Jesus wants to wrap His loving arms around her and dry her tears.

I feel anger toward her pastor. I feel anger toward pastors and ministers who stand up on Sunday mornings and tell people that where they happen to be is not the “Christian way”.  I feel so sad for a person who has walked into church looking for healing  and acceptance and left with an additional burden of guilt.

This has to stop.

I know only one way to stop this. Communal prayer to ask God to touch the minds and hearts of these pastors and ministers as they deliver their messages. Thank you for your prayers.

I can’t go to bed with a quiet conscience if during the day I’ve missed any chance, however slight, of preventing wrongdoing or of helping to bring about some good.”

– St. Maria Crocifissa di Rosa

 

 

The Bell Ringer – Sunday Afternoon

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As he had for years,  the bell-ringer sat on the bench outside the church to listen and sing the final hymn. He knew most of the hymns by heart and had studied an old hymnal like an enclyclodpedia…memorizing who wrote the words, the music and the year it was published.

Before any parishioners left the church, he was in the bell tower, watching his watch for exactly 1:00. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to be seen….he knew just about everyone from the grocery after all these years. There was just a bit of peace inside the tower and the connection he had to that watch.

Like most Sundays, he would wait for everyone to be out of sight before leaving and locking up for the week. He made sure everything was clean and in good working order. Most of the church would be heading home for dinner together. He would be walking home alone.

Those not planning a dinner, likely walked over to the Hensely House which relied on the after church crowd on Sunday. From offering plates to plates overflowing with home-made food. From one blessing to another.

He was in the Hensely house one time for a date but she never showed up. He looked at what he would have ordered. He left that amount plus the tip under the spoon…even though he didn’t eat, he had taken up a good table for two.

His walk home was often the same…down the rail road tracks to his street and then to his house. He looked at his watch and those rail road tracks and wondered.

Dinner was very simple. The butcher would have saved him a good cut of steak and he would have paid for it right before closing. Leanna, the cashier would always ask him if he had big plans for Sunday?  He would laugh and tell her of course he did! She knew that wasn’t true, but after all those years, a routine can become routine.

All rights reserved. The Bell Ringer is a possibility for my next book. Comments welcome.

Thank you for being here.

Sunday blessings.

Sunday Morning

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Today, on our walk of faith, let us give thanks for our blessings.

Let us communally pray for those in need and those spiritually seeking.

Let us talk with God about what we don’t understand.

Ask God to guide us to share our testimony in a kind and gentle way.  May we share our testimony in conversations where we first listen. Then, provide a kind and gentle invitation to join us on our walk of faith.