‘Hello, I’m Pauline, Pauline Lewis,’ I introduced myself to my friend, realising she did not recognise me. It is some years since we met, and I had had to ask one of the carers before I located her. But yes, now I did recognise her.
Sadly having had to give up her own home, she still had her wits about her, and had been interested in attending our annual day for Christian Writers. It must be four years since she was last able to attend, but we have kept in touch by letter. Now our visitors from Louisiana were going into the home to take a service and it was a chance for me to attend and catch up with my friend.
‘There is another Pauline Lewis who lives in Porthcawl,’ she informed me. ‘She has been a missionary, and used to write for the Christian Herald.’ But then she added, ‘She is an important member of ‘Grace.’
I tried to assure her that there was not another Pauline Lewis in Porthcawl. I must be the one she was thinking of. Yes, I had been a missionary, and yes, I certainly used to write for the Christian Herald. (I’d had my first ever short story published by them, and wrote for them for many years.) But no, I was not an important member of ‘Grace.’
Having realised that I was that same person, and that she must have forgotten my face, she insisted that yes, she had read in the Gazette that I was an important member of ‘Grace.’
How could that be? I am not on the leadership team, (except inasmuch as I am Missions coordinator, but that would not be recognised by anyone else as important, surely?) I was amazed that my friend had even remembered that I was a member of ‘Grace’. Perhaps I had an alter-ego?
Well, I am sure it could not have been in the Gazette, but as I thought about it I realised that it is true, that I am an important member of Grace. No, I am not in leadership, and I don’t qualify for the youth group, but I am a member, and that in itself is something of importance. You see, it is no good having leaders unless there are those who are willing to follow.
For years I tried to remind the Lord that I was good at following, but not at leading, but he reminded me that he is in the business of choosing the ones no one else would choose, the ‘are nots’ of society, so that he would get all the glory,. And so he sent me out, not in a supporting role, but to lead. Eventually I went to Ghana, to take responsibility for their already thriving Sunday School movement.
When Grace Community Church was established in Porthcawl I was delighted to give my support in whatever way I could, for this fellowship was in answer to our prayers, and though not always in the best of health, I try to attend whenever I can. I try to remember the question a fellow missionary, also retired, asked himself;
‘What sort of church would this church be
If everyone in it were just like me?’
So now, if I’m tempted to stay home for one reason or another, I remind myself, ‘If everyone did that, there would be no church to go to.’
Yes, we have a wonderful, and mostly youthful leadership in Grace, and we are so thankful to God for their zeal and commitment, but yes, I am important too, and so is every faithful member and adherent, for without us there would be no church. We may not get a mention in the Gazette, but God sees and takes note.
So yes, this is the real me, not some alter-ego. I am grateful to my friend for reminding me that I am an important person in ‘Grace’ and I thank God for all you others too.