As my husband and I were walking into church on Sunday, I could hear laughter spilling out of the kitchen. Barely in the door, John, my husband, immediately engaged a friend in conversation; I turned toward the laughter. I walked across the spacious, light-filled foyer, past the comfortable couches and clusters of tables and chairs occupied by adults and kids, then glided by the large area where outerwear is hung up, highchairs are stored, and the church pigeon-hole style mailboxes fill an entire wall. Fair warning! If you attend Bethel with any regularity, you will be assigned a mailbox and will regularly be encouraged to fetch out the information.
I swerved deftly into the church kitchen and asked why everyone was laughing. My friend Terri held up a note card.
“A funny ‘Thank You’ note?” I queried.
“Not exactly,” said my friend. “What’s funny is that no one knows who this note is for. It is not addressed to anyone but simply says, ‘I want to thank you for the delicious dinner you brought for our family last week. The kids and I enjoyed it all. Your wonderful meal was a real time saver.Thank you again. Anna’ ”
“I found the note in my mailbox last Sunday, “Terri explained,” but I was not the one who made the meal. I thought, ‘This thank you note must be for Norma; she’s always making meals for others.’ So I put the note in her mailbox.
“When Norma picked up her mail on Tuesday before Coffee Break Bible study she read the note and said, ‘I wonder why I got this? I didn’t make dinner for Anna’s family. It must be Ginny’s.’ And Norma put the note in Ginny’s mailbox.
“Ginny came in on Thursday for prayer group and collected her mail. When she read the thank you letter she said, ‘Oh no! This is in the wrong mailbox! I didn’t help with that meal. It is probably meant for Barb,’ and she slipped the envelope into Barb’s mail slot.
“Barb came in early this morning to attend to the communion trays, spied something in her mailbox, found the thank you note and read it. She considered the situation and decided, ‘This card is not supposed to be in my mail. I better check with the women in the kitchen this morning. They will know who should get this lovely thank you note. ‘ ”
“And whose is it?” I asked.
“No one knows!” burst out Terri. “Did you make a meal for Anna and her family?” she asked me. I shook my head no.
I never did learn who made the meal for Anna and her children, but I love this story. It says so much about the women of Bethel Church:
- They care for those in need.
- They don’t take credit for an act of kindness they didn’t do.
- They assume the charitable act was done by another and want them to receive the thanks for it.
- They see the humor in what might be judged an aggravating situation, and…
- They check their mailboxes!