On Monday night, I organized several tables of Euchre (a card game) at a local restaurant/bar. I do this once a month. Most of those who play are either church members or friends of members. It’s been a great way to get to know others without any social pressure. In Ohio, euchre is bike riding. You learn it as a child.
My 23 year old daughter texted me. She wanted to know what I was doing. I texted back, “Euchre”. She asked if I needed another player. I texted, “no.”
Now, Hannah is not a regular church attender. She is a CEO (Christmas and Easter only). Baptized and confirmed in the faith, she is typical of many her age. Of course, her father died suddenly when she was only 17. Consequently, her faith in a Caring God took a nosedive. Right or wrong, I have given her lots of room to doubt and explore. My only requirement, which is a gift to me, is to show up on Christmas Eve and Easter. Once, I asked her to come on Mother’s Day. She decided to rescue a friend who was having car trouble instead. The nerve!
Anyway, she loves our church. Total strangers have loved and encouraged her. They have let her be. Even when she was a fitness competitor who posted bikini pictures on her facebook page, most didn’t judge her. The few who did got unfriended to my applause. That being said, she does church her way.
Monday night, I assured her we had enough players. She asked to come and hang out anyway. When she arrived, she immediately walked by me to hug another player, a church member with whom she has played in another league. “What about me?” I protested. Everyone laughed. Hannah makes an entrance. She is a charismatic force, so it was clear that “she was in the house.” As she pulled up a chair beside me, one of the players at another table bowed out. Matt wanted to make room for Hannah to play in his spot. I went back to my game.
When most of us were finished, I headed over to her table. One player was crying.
What had Hannah said? Did she do something to make this woman cry? This woman is my friend. She is a church member, for heaven’s sake. Let’s face it, not all young adults are sensitive to the feelings of others. My anxiety started to rise. I am a protective pastor.
Come to find out, Pat was grieving. A loved one had died and she wasn’t able to drive to the calling hours. It was too far. So Hannah told her that she would drive her. She would be her chauffeur. She would pick her up the next day and accompany her. Pat was crying because Hannah was doing church her way.