by Pat Reck
All good stories have heroes and endings. Yet this story has no end.
This story began when Frances, my heroine, took a job driving a "cabulance" two years ago to make ends meet for her young, struggling family. Driving a huge Ford van, with a wheelchair lift no less, was a giant plunge for her, since she'd barely gotten her drivers license! But she was ready. Frances is a glowing, growing-in-the-Lord example of countless young women in the LWML who shine in our communities yet humbly diminish the roles they play.
Frances' job had her picking up wheelchair patients, some disabled children, for physical therapy, doctor visits or occupational therapy. A few months into the job Frances was switched to a Subaru wagon, taking ambulatory patients to appointments, such as the three women she regularly transported to kidney dialysis. Frances introduced Christian music in the car and quickly grew quite attached to Patty, Margie and Marie, who had been a Christian all her life.
Marie, abandoned by her own family yet well cared for in her adult foster home, was curious about the conversations of Frances' personal life, her wee handsome son, church activities and LWML. There is an undeniable glow about Frances that lights up the lives of those around her. After a few weeks of bonding, Marie admitted she missed going to church.
That opened the door for Frances and her family to suggest they pick Marie up on Sundays and take her with them. Frances' pastor was able to visit the foster home to provide private instruction, and Marie soon became a member. Within months she received her first communion, a day shared in tears of joy.
In Frances' family, church is followed by dinner out. Other young couples often join them. They may take up three booths or half the restaurant. Marie is now part of birthday parties and Super Bowl Sunday. Baby Corbin calls her "my Marie."
Then Frances met Bob, a recent transplant to the foster home and a life-long Lutheran. While he is fortunate to enjoy nearby family and many outings, he too missed going to church. Now Bob and his foster family have been befriended by the young couples and have expressed interest in worship services. Bob's caregivers have witnessed the outpouring of love from these once-strangers who faithfully make Sunday church attendance possible for Bob.
Frances' church family has wrapped their loving arms around Marie and Bob. They have been involved in emergency hospital trips and long-night sittings for comfort. "We're so attached to these folks, we're in there for the long haul," Frances says. There is no end to this story, because there is no end to making a difference.
Young women like Frances are the stellar heroines, forming the present and the future of our LWML societies. We need to encourage and support them, and remind them that on the road of reaching out, God uses our simple acts of kindness as conduits for His love and compassion to touch others.
Calling All Readers
Lutheran Woman's Quarterly would like to hear from you and to share your responses to the following: Tell how you have been encouraged by another Christian woman.
Submit your responses (100 words or less) by July 1, 2005 to Associate Editor Janice Brauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to117 N. Knollwood Dr., Wheaton, IL 60187.