The halls of our church are lined with artwork created by the children of the Providence Presbyterian Child Development Center. They’re holding a fundraiser, you see, an art show to raise money for scholarships and playground equipment.
As I turned the corner to Sunday School, I looked up to see this.
What a beautiful interpretation of a profound truth. God can love the wohle world. And He does!
We’d spent months planning The Big Sale, months filled with meetings and spread sheets and check lists. It was the kind of event that required that level of planning; there were a thousand moving parts, each one dependent on the other. As the big day approached, we prayed for good weather. We hoped for a decent crowd. We crossed our fingers that in spite of the fact that a competing West Columbia “Biggest Yard Sale Ever” was being held at exactly the same time—a sale so well financed they had radio commercials, for heavens’ sake—our little church’s effort would, in the end, be worth all the energy we had devoted to it.
Saturday rolled around and before the sun could peak over the horizon, car after car filled the Providence Presbyterian lot: first, our own church members who showed up with such enthusiasm I would have called the day a success before the first sale was made; and second, shoppers who strolled and wandered and purchased, happy the treasures they took home were bought (in large part) with dollars that would help fund our fellowship hall and its outreach activities.
My dear friend, Teresa Coles, and I manned the Joy Market table that held goodies handmade by Providence members. She and I had spent countless nights together crafting for the sale. Even we were surprised when we saw the bounty that came from our baskets as we unloaded our cars. Scarves, necklaces, bracelets, journals—we had actually pulled it off!
I had my back to the crowd when I heard a familiar voice behind me. I turned and beheld a sight so remarkable—so surprising—all I could do was open my arms for a gigantic bear hug.
I can’t believe you came I said, a genuine, heartfelt response to the miracle before me.
Of course I came, she said. Although you can’t imagine what it takes to get this crew anywhere.
We laughed and hugged again.
Then we discussed The Big Sale, Lila Anna and I, the many opportunities for these precious boys to explore “inside” (the Joy Market) and “outside” (the Big Yard Sale). And then I said again, overwhelmed with gratitude as I was, I can’t believe you came. I can’t believe you went to all the trouble it took to pack up those boys and get here.
She looked at me, a Lila Anna smile spreading across her face in that way that lets you know something really good is coming.
I learned a long time ago she said measuredly, looking at me in earnest. You do the things friends ask you to do.
I nodded slowly, knowing she was right, knowing it was true.
You do things for friends simply because they ask she repeated. Period.
A life-changer, that LA lesson. One that reached my heart. One that will stay with me, forever.
It’s a cute story with such a sweet message, said my friend, Cindy, about the Christmas play performed by our youth this year, the youth at Providence Presbyterian Church.
And it was. The Wishing Tree is the story of a group of teenagers working in a mall on Christmas Eve. Each member of this group of colorful individuals finds his or her wildest Christmas wish granted because each is a wish for someone else.
But the magic of this show is not in the play itself. It is, instead, in the spirit of the performers; a band of believers who share the joy of this miraculous season with so much heart it touched my soul in a beautiful, joyful way.
I am grateful to the Providence Players one and all—and, in particular, their fearless leader, Andy Simmons. Their performance of The Wishing Tree is a sweet, sweet gift to every person in the audience.
Want to go? Tickets are available at the door for tonight’s (December 15, 2012) performance of The Wishing Tree. Curtain rises at 7:00 pm. Providence Presbyterian is located at 1112 Hummingbird Lane in West Columbia, SC.