She handed me the bag with a fancy boutique name I could not pronounce,
“You won’t forget will you?”
My Mama knows my nature to forget things, I assured her I would not. I put the Boutique bag beside me on the front seat. She had told me it was a shirt for a coworker. I knew what she meant. The natural assumption would not have been that Mama went to the fancy Boutique store, the kind with a name that is pronounced “Booty-que” instead of ”Boutique.”
I knew for a fact she was not likely to have been into the fancy store with the fancy name as it was likely located in a mall. She hates to “shop,” is fairly practical, and typically “shops” the on-sale racks. She is always stylishly put together but a less than sticker price cost. When we were teenagers and would go shopping, she spoke the same mantra prior to entering the store, a shopping with teenage girls sort of battle cry,
“I am not buying it unless it’s on sale!”
She wasn’t dressed in a tartan nor did she have her face painted as William Wallace running headlong into a field of enemies, but she was firm. She said it and she meant it. If those name brand jeans that everybody wore and wanted weren’t on sale, we knew not to even ask. The battle cry has become my own as I now too, shop with teenage girls.
My Mama is a mender of things. Hemmer of garments, repairer of zippers, sewer of stuff. Someone is forever asking her to perform the aforementioned to garments and things. She has a standard response, “Let me take a look at it and I’ll see what I can do.” I am not a mender, I do not know my way around a needle and thread like she does. My work is sloppy and elementary compared to hers. I struggle with basics, however, one of my most fond memories of growing up is when she taught my sister and me to sew a quilt square. I chose the “Ohio Star,” a series of squares and triangles sewn together to form something of beauty.
That day she waved in my rearview as I drove away with the unseen garment in the bag. I had no idea what she had done to it. She’d said it was a shirt but that’s all I knew really. I was just the courier. I have transported formal gowns, wedding dresses, swimsuits, pants, dress shirts, Bermuda shorts, a pair of firefighter bunker pants, little bitty baby birthday bow ties. The items she has touched and relinquished to me to return are too numerous to recall.
I made my way to my destination, half forgetting the bag on the seat beside me. As I pulled into my parking space I was mentally mapping out how I would return the garment to its rightful owner. She is one whom I love and adore so and was trying to configure how I just might fit in a quick visit. I was thinking as I realized I was parked crooked so I backed out of my space, looked left and right, and pulled back in just a smidge straighter. I noticed to my left one who was going to the same final destination as the package that I had been entrusted with.
I rolled my window down and yelled her name to get her attention, “Hey can you take this to Casey Rae for me? It’s from Mama!” She nodded and came closer to my cattywampus van. I thanked her as she took hold of the still unseen shirt. I straightened up again, and by the time I exited my van the shirt and the new courier were long gone. I had done my job, I knew that I had handed the precious cargo off to one who was trustworthy and would, in fact, deliver it accordingly.
That evening, Mama asked me, “Did you give the shirt to Casey Rae?”
“No Ma’am, not exactly,” I said in between bites and looked up to see her expression. I knew she would be disappointed; I had not completed my task.
I mumbled between bites, “I gave it to Moffis to give to her.” Mama nodded in approval knowing that the shirt arrived to its owner promptly and just as she had intended it to. As we carried on our conversation about other things I thought about how that bag from the fancy Boutique had been in a sort of a relay, many hands touching it, transporting it, for the achievement of a common goal. Each of the couriers playing a role seemingly unimportant but in reality just as significant as the Mender’s role. I was reminded of this verse, found in 1 Corinthians 3:6
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
That verse says that in the Kingdom our jobs may not be equal, may not seem to be of the same caliber, but are all important. Ultimately it is God who does the big work, the work of Salvation, but every time we carry the gospel to another, we are a part of that work. When I handed off that package to Moffis, I didn’t go into a full explanation of the contents, no more than Mama had when she handed it to me. Yet, our work, the delivery of a fancy bag and its contents, was as crucial as the mending had been. Perhaps if I were writing that verse to fit that scenario it’d read something like this:
Mama mended, Amy carried, and Moffis delivered.