My mother is a deaconess in her Protestant church. She is also the organist. It is a very small congregation in a small church in a small New England town.
Mom had been busier than usual this past advent. She was always running around, trying to do so much for so many. She was pretty stressed and I was worried about her. After all, she is 81 years old!
Her church had a special service on Christmas Eve. They had practiced the Christmas songs over and over and she was excited to play the organ for it. But she was so tired, she fell asleep in her living room chair. When she woke up, a quick look at her clock threw her into a panic. She was going to be about 20 to 30 minutes late for the service! Oh no!
She got dressed in a hurry and ran out the door and drove to the church, so upset about being so late. Did they start without her? Did they sing anyway? What were they thinking?
My mother rushed into the church and everyone looked up and breathed a collective sigh of relief. And then started asking questions.
Where had she been? Was she OK? They had tried to call her but got no answer. The pastor told her that they had decided to pray when they could not reach her. They were starting to imagine the worst. And then, five minutes later, she walked into the church, safe and sound.
And when they all settled down, they finally began the Christmas Eve service, singing with joy for more reasons than one.
Last Sunday, sometime during the service, the pastor asked the music director (my mother) to please step up to the front of the church where he was standing. Then he told her he had a gift to give her, something he thought she needed.
And he handed her a big, battery-operated alarm clock!
And the whole congregation broke out into gales of laughter. My mother, normally so shy, laughed right along with them. Feeling loved and safe, she knew she was blessed to be part of this church community.
She knew she was home.