Part of this process of redemption that I go on about here is that I believe God wastes nothing. He calls forward pieces of our story from the past to be used in the present for the Kingdom. Part of my past was about 3 years spent running a closet/organization store in the west end of Hamilton, Ontario. It was called "The Closet Wizard" - the Wizard was one of my favorite people I had the opportunity to know in Hamilton, Charles. He was a Jewish, South African husband and father who was so much fun to be around. I kind of fell into the job but found that it suited my skill set well.
I am a helper by nature, I never wanted to be, but it just is resident inside of me. I can't stand in the grocery store without noticing someone who can't reach something or who has a question about a product I've used on their face. I am the person you regularly ask "do you work here?"
During the whole time of my employment at said closet store I mourned the fact that we longed for ministry and God closed the door and here I was stuck organizing rich people's closets. I promised myself in that time that if I could ever use this skill in the kingdom that I would do so willingly and make some sense about why I lived that piece of the puzzle of my life. And I have been able to keep that promise in strange and wonderful way - from organizing retired missionaries closets on vacation in Florida as they were panicked about how they were going to downsize into a tiny condo to helping young mothers make the most out of their kids small space and find a way to get things out of site and out of mind.
You can't believe the way women's eyes glaze over when they hear that I have this skill set - they get all dreamy and distant as they think about how many more shoes they could fit into the spaces they have if they just had them organized. Guys, the way to a woman's heart is not only jewelery - organize her closets and you will be her friend for life!
It truly is a life-giving enterprise. I never realized it at the time, but having a place for people to put things away and find them again makes life easier. How much time do we spend tripping over things or looking for the lost items? Maybe if we all were a bit more organized the world might be a less chaotic place to be? Closets for world peace? Well, that might be a bit much, but I tell you this because today I have the opportunity to put my promise into action.
I have prayed for quite some time here that way would open into the community here for me to begin to use my gifts and learn from those doing the work. I have a pretty big personality. Being in a new culture (yes, the Maritimes have a distinct culture all their own - anyone not born here is from "away" - and those of us from "away" have much to learn from this large hearted, kind, centered people) the last thing I want it to bust into a place that is already doing great work and tell them how it should be done. I have seen it happen far too often, in my mission class in college it was termed "Big Bwana Syndrome" - I never wanted to be Big Bwana. I want to learn - but there is something I miss sometimes if way does not open. My big feet tramp down in ways that I miss many times.
This opportunity is too precious to me to step on any toes or blunder in a look like I know what I'm doing. So I am honored for this opportunity, but there is trepidation in my heart. I long to offer my skills and yet learn at the same time. It is new for me. Far too many times I promise what I am unable to deliver - and it is my prayer today that I refrain from doing just that. God help me to keep a reign on my tongue, to sense your leading and not my own here. To listen more than speak and to live in the moment of opportunity - helping others, instead of trying to make myself look more important.
Today I get to go to the Volunteer Centre (our local food bank) and help Donna, the woman who has been doing the work so well for so many years, with the basement of the centre. For those of you who have been following my story for a time, you will know how deeply this opportunity moves me. Please pray for me.