Friday, August 19, 2011 — Week of Proper 15, Year One

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 980)

Psalms 140, 142 (morning) 141, 143:1-11(12) (evening)

2 Samuel 19:24-43

Acts 24:24 – 25:12

Mark 12:35-44

When I read the story of the generous widow, I always think of Margaret. She was an elderly woman who had lived alone for many years. Her husband had died at a relatively young age. He was a butcher at the neighborhood supermarket. Margaret had been a homemaker all of her life, like so many from her generation. She raised their children, and every day she prepared their meals. Her husband came home each day for a sit-down lunch with her. The family ate dinner together every night.

Now her children were far away and mostly out of touch. She had lived alone on a fixed income for more than twenty years. Her income was the survivor’s share of her husband’s Social Security. He had been a life-long employee of a non-unionized supermarket with no pension plan. To say she lived modestly would be an understatement.

The first check she made each month was her tithe to the church. She faithfully contributed ten percent of her total gross income. In our church, she was above the mid-range of pledgers. She gave more than most, even though she had less than nearly anyone. No one would have known though. She was quiet. Present. Faithful.

She said she took the prayer list with her each Sunday and prayed every day for those who were listed. She read the Daily Office. She always brought a potato dish to our pot lucks.

If you watched her carefully, you would see a person at peace. She had an intimate, intuitive relationship with God, expressed so humbly that she rarely hit the radar screen.

There was a coherence around her. She didn’t make or create waves. She simply walked with God and served quietly and modestly. She lived with a deep and abiding acceptance of things — her state in life, her neighbors and friends, herself. The word “abide” comes to mind. She was a person who could “abide.” She never seemed hurried, stressed or anxious. She was pleasant, respectful, and quietly happy. She is an saintly example for me.

I think of Margaret from time to time when I get too stressed or complicated or self-absorbed. When I feel anxious or worried. Though she had very little, she had everything. She knew and trusted God, and she accepted and loved life as it is.

I moved away from that community many years ago, but everywhere I go I keep my eyes open for other Margarets. They are out there. They are everywhere, in every congregation and community. They help ground us all. They spread peace and coherence. They know who and whose they are. Blessed are the meek.

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