In weakness … I’m pretty weak! Sunday sermon takeout

No post-sermon message today. I was too busy running from bed to the bathroom Sunday morning to even try to attend services. Still, like every woman, I managed to do some of what needed to be done:

* I ran a couple loads of laundry — much needed, given how much laundry I’d dirtied earlier.

* I dropped off three cakes I’d baked for a charity fundraiser.

* I took my brother-in-law (who has no car) to the supermarket, which I hadn’t been able to do the day before.

Thank God for a helpful husband!

Thank God for the kind of husband who isn’t afraid to cook dinner, empty the dishwasher, or wash the cooking pots. And for the kind of sweet cats who will not leave your side when you’re feeling poorly.

Saturday morning, before I got knocked out by the bug, I was standing at our table at our neighborhood’s yard sale and met a wonderful retirement age local man. He had just stopped by on route to an odd job for one of the landscaping and home repair clients who had always been his family’s living.

Like many African-Americans of his generation, his education had been severely constrained. Unlike many, he had not grown bitter.

Every excuse for weakness … none taken

“You don’t deny an education to a person who’s dumb,” he told me with a grin, tapping his skull. “You deny an education to a person who’s smart.”

His own four children were all professionals, including a dentist and an accountant (I forget the rest). They made a beautiful wallet portrait of an adult family together with him and his wife.

Museum amassed while doing odd jobs

In the course of doing odd jobs over the years, he’d been asked to clean out several homes to prepare them for sale — accumulating in the process documents and artifacts that describe much of our town’s early history. When he tried to donate them to the local historical society, they didn’t want them, he said. Copies, sure; but not the precious originals.

I had to wonder: Did they think they were protecting a weak-minded man who didn’t know the value of what he had? Were they unwilling to receive an accession from a mere working man? Or were they concerned about a possible lawsuit from heirs once the items their parents and grandparents considered worthless came to light?

There’s no way of knowing. But while my Sunday weakness remained pretty weak, my Saturday friend, in his lifetime “weakness” of limited education and job discrimination has amassed a museum of valuable local history that I’m looking forward to visiting.

God’s goal: strengthen each other, visitor says

God tells us that in our own weakness, God’s strength becomes visible. And my Saturday friend insisted that our meeting was God-ordained: that we were messengers from God to each other, for each other’s encouragement.

I’m pleased if he found encouragement from me. I know I found encouragement from him.


About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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