Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Tea Set

This fall I was asked to lead a workshop at a women's weekend spiritual retreat. Since I don't bead, meditate, or do sacred dancing, but I do know how to string words together, I decided to teach a class on writing the spiritual devotional. I'd never written one, but I studied a bunch and realized they followed a fairly standard pattern of a verse or quote, followed by a short personal story, and finally a few questions or take-away points as the conclusion.

I wasn't sure how the whole thing would go over. Would the women want to write? If they did, would they enjoy it? Would anyone be brave enough to share their work with others? After giving a brief introduction, I read a few examples, handed them pencils and notebooks, and sat back to watch.

My "students" turned out to be star pupils, diligently writing their devotionals and then offering to read them as well. I wish I could convey how moving they were! Many brought us to tears, but all of them brought us closer together. Someone volunteered to compile the pages into a little booklet. Once again, the power of the written word had triumphed.

My devotional is appropriate to the season, and so I share it with you here. Happy Holidays!

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. Proverbs 23:12.

Before my daughter's second Christmas, I purchased a little tea set at a local store. I could hardly wait to see her open it, help her set up the flowered cups and saucers, and show her and her doll how to pour "tea." It was still in the back of the car when my mother called and told me she'd found a wonderful gift for Lexi --- a tea set.

I groaned and headed back to the store. On the way I passed my church, a steepled white Congregational in the center of town. Pull in, a small voice told me. And so I did.

The parking lot was quiet. I glanced to the side door of the building and saw a lone woman shivering in the December cold. I put down my window and asked her if she needed help.

"Yes," she said. "I heard there were some toys here?"

I took her into the building where we found the small pile of donated toys. She looked through them and sighed, shaking her head. Impulsively I asked her what she wanted. "I have a little girl at home," she said. "I was hoping for a tea set."

When I handed her the box from the back of my car, a look of surprised joy spread across her face. It was the best Christmas gift I have ever received.

Lord, the whispers of your Spirit work through me. During this busy season, help me to listen.


Lisa Bork said...

Awesome and inspiring, Vicki. Thanks.

Darrell James said...

Very touching, Vicki. Thanks for sharing.

G.M. Malliet said...

This gave me a chill. These odd coincidences - are they that?

Thanks, Vicki. Have a most blessed holiday.

Same to all of the Inkers!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Your post made me cry, but in a good way. Didn't we just have a post about crying? ;)

Thanks for sharing this lovely story.

Lois Winston said...

I'm with Sue Ann on this, Vicki. You brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful story!

Terri Bischoff said...

This is a beautiful blog post! I'm going to share it with my minister and the other board members. :) I'm so glad you listened to that voice that told you to pull in.

Vicki Doudera said...

Thanks all for your comments! Terri, I am glad you will share my story and wish you could have heard the others. When they are compiled, I'll send.
Am now in Deb Sharp land visiting the in-laws, trading pines for palms. College son Nate and captain son Matt both here with Ed, Lexi and I. It is blessed to be all together!
Wishing all of you the joy and wonder of the season!

Alice Loweecey said...

Vicki, thanks *so* much for making me cry.

Srsly, lovely story.

Sandy said...

Thanks for sharing your story

Ingrid said...

thank you Vicki.

Kathleen Ernst said...

What a lovely, lovely post. Thank you.

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