Over the wknd we women naturally did a lot of talking - & I realized that much of that time we (myself included) spent complaining to some degree about something ... - but - now that all has been said & done, I don't remember "B" complaining even once! Somehow I managed to hear what she didn't say above everything else that was said ... & I really admire her because of it.
During the retreat, there was a drama/character portrayal (a last minute addition to the program bc the speakers realized they were expected to do an extra segment that they had not originally planned on) in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, poured her heart out to Elizabeth in a letter. At the end we were to identify ourselves as either a Mary, overwhelmed w/ grief &/or burdens - or as Elizabeth...one to whom others might turn to pour out their hearts & find some wisdom, encouragement & support. Elizabeths were also to think of a Mary to come alongside & help in some way. Naturally, because "B" was literally at my side so much of the wknd, I considered myself to be an Elizabeth & identified her as "my Mary" but I was stunned to learn that she - even w/ all her hardships & how dependent she is on others to survive each & every day, considered herself to be an Elizabeth(!)- & her primary care giver as "her Mary"! "That", was so precious to me..., it was the "souvenir" I chose to "bring home"!
My heart was not right to begin the wknd with & I knew it. I hoped/prayed God would change it. See, for some time, I've been so frustrated w/ how consumed people are w/ taking care of themselves & their own families & w/ running the church as an organization by serving on committees & running programs that require so much time & energy that it seems they're too busy to share the love of Christ to the loneliest & most needy of those whom God has so conveniently placed right in our midst. So - sadly, it was mostly out of sheer frustration that I determined to be the change I long to see by agreeing to be her guide for the wknd. Yet I knew that if somehow I could get past my frustration, my passion might then be converted to com-passion - & she & I would both be much more likely to be blessed this weekend.
Anyhow ... who knew that God would use "B", to open the eyes of my heart to see that change was much needed there - & then, over the course of the weekend, to guide my heart right to it(!) - to exactly the change that was needed ... as she led by such beautiful example.
10 Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."
11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."