One of my mentors from my early adulthood is a woman named Ruth. Her story is a fascinating one, though you could never guess it when sitting with this quiet woman at church. But that is a story for another time.
Ruth can talk theology in the most moving way and in another breath offer good housekeeping advice. I always enjoyed talking to Ruth and her friends after church. I was the young chickadee among the wiser women.
One Sunday after service we were waiting in the auditorium for our potluck to be set up by the volunteer group. The lights had been turned off, but the natural light was plentiful being a clear day.
Somehow the conversation gravitated to salad spinners.
“What’s a salad spinner?” Betty asked.
“Betty,” Ruth leaned forward in her chair and cupped her hands as if holding one, “they are these wonderful bowls that you put your washed lettuce in, turn the crank and when you finish spinning the lettuce, it comes out nice and dry.”
Betty was so glad to hear that she could save a little money on paper towels and save time too.
For the next ten minutes we exchanged stories, advice and comparisons about the different models of salad spinners, and which one we thought Betty should buy.
But during that ten minutes a curious thing happened. We all began leaning closer in to each other as it seemed that someone had turned off the natural sunlight that had once been streaming in so beautifully through the auditorium windows perched at the second story level above us.
After that ten minutes passed there was light again. We slowly and instinctively began to draw away from each other, all the while focusing on the nature and practicals of salad spinners.
My husband popped his head into the auditorium shortly after the odd black out.
“Are you all coming to the potluck?”
“Why yes,” someone said, “But why did it get dark?”
“A squall blew through!” John declared surprised we hadn’t gone out to witness it. Snow squalls were rare. They would blow in with little notice. It could take a clear sky to ominous gray in a matter of minutes, dropping several inches of snow sometimes. And just as quickly, the skies would clear up again as if nothing had happened.
Since the windows in the auditorium were too high to look out, we went outside. It was amazing to see a few inches of snow had blanketed the parking lot where it had been dry before worship service.
To this day when I use my salad spinner I think of Ruth, Betty and the other ladies at the first congregation we worshipped with as a newly married couple. They loved us unconditionally and mentored us in so many wonderful ways. Making salads reminds me to pray for our beloved congregation up north, which is pretty much every day.
In my younger years I would have judged a conversation about salad spinners as shallow. But being away from home, learning to grow up in another region of the country, I was glad to have my church family and treasured each encounter.
It was a genuine love for Christ and each other that had us enjoying our moment of talking salad spinners as if we had been discussing a grand theological issue. It was a love that couldn’t draw us apart, even when the squall outside darkened the auditorium.
What has God used to remind you to pray for others and his church?