Because it is summer, I have not had as many chapel services at the pre-school, and I have been missing my regular dates with the children there. I try to work in some free time visiting the classrooms, but it's hard. We are working on so many things at the church right now: getting people ready to visit homebound members with communion, working on a small group program for the fall, welcoming a group of new members to the congregation, planning worship and some new "All Ages Learning" for the fall.
But today, I took a break, and I went over to the pre-school for a little while.
It is in my letter of call, after all. Right there in black and white, one of my responsibilities is "relating to the pre-school."
But that's not why I go.
It was lunch time when I walked in the door. A couple of the classrooms were in the middle of their lunch. As I approached their table, one little boy jumped up and ran to hug my legs. A little girl came over and tugged on my skirt. "I got so big!" she said. Two or three others said the same thing: "I got so big!" they told me. I agreed. They are growing all the time.
I admired ribbons and new tennis shoes and t shirts with dinosaurs. Students told me about baby brothers and puppies and everything they were excited about, which was everything. When one group was done eating, another group arrived. Their teacher asked if I would say table grace for them.
Some younger children came in as well, following their teacher like ducklings following their mama. When one little girl saw me, she waved as if I were her long-lost cousin.
I don't go over to the school as often as I should. There are so many lists of things to do, strategies to accomplish, goals to achieve, and I forget that knowing the children is as important as any goal, task or strategy.
But today I remembered. I remembered that my work is Grace and Grace is my work. My work is loving the children and the shut ins, saying prayers and bringing bread and wine, and being there. All of my lists and strategies are worthless if I forget. I walked into the school and got hugged around the legs, and I remembered the grace of being known and loved for no particular reason, just because you are.
There are mysteries in the universe, and I am called to make them known, as they are made known to me. It's not a strategy. It's just love. It's just the grace of God, which is being loved, just because you are.