"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Tablecloth

I don't know if this is true or not true, but it's a great story, none the less.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my friends. May God bless you and help you achieve everything you want in the coming year.
Craig Latham

The Tablecloth
Submitted by Pastor Rob Reid

Understand that things happen for a reason. The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, were to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn. They arrived in early October, very excited about their wonderful opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything finished in time to have their first service there on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting and staining, etc., and on December 18, they were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19, a terrible tempest -- a driving rainstorm -- hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

On the way home, he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items he saw was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the perfect size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time, it had started to snow heavily. An elderly woman running from the opposite direction was obviously trying to catch a bus, but she missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus, which was 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew quietly and paid no attention as the pastor got a ladder, hangers, etc., to hang the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe his good fortune. How beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area perfectly!

Then he noticed the elderly woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was as white as a sheet. "Pastor," she asked hisitantly, "where did you get that tablecloth?"

The pastor explained how he had found the tablecloth at a flea market. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were her own initials, she explained. Then she told him she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as she listened to the pastor explain how he had gotten the tablecloth. The woman said that before the war she and her husband had been well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week, but he had been captured, sent to prison and she never saw him or her home again.

After hearing her story, the pastor wanted to return the tablecloth to her, but she wouldn't hear of it. She asked the pastor to please keep it for the church. The pastor then insisted on driving her home. He felt that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and had only been in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve! The church had been nearly full. The music and the Christmas spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door as they left and many said they would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare at the front wall of the sanctuary. The pastor couldn't help wondering why he wasn't leaving. Maybe there was something wrong.

When the pastor approached him, the man asked him where he had gotten the tablecloth up on the front wall. He told the pastor it was identical to one that his beloved wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria, just before the war. Then he asked, "How could there possibly be two tablecloths so much alike?"

The older gentleman told the pastor how the Nazis had come and forced his wife to flee for her safety and how he had planned to follow her, but he had been arrested and put in prison. He never saw his wife or his home again in all the 35 years between then and now. The pastor asked him if he could take him for a little ride.

The man agreed and they drove to Staten Island to the same building where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. When they arrived, he helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked, and when the door opened, he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could have ever imagined.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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