Last night, every time I opened the fridge, a ball of stress would immediately form in my stomach.
One of our church members owns a Chick-fil-A, and let me tell you, I would recommend a restaurant owner in every church. Every week he donates tea for the cookie hour following the service. And for the church picnic, he donated tea and lemonade, plus cups, utensils, napkins, and plates. It fell to us to pick up the beverage donation yesterday afternoon, and as we drove away, it looked like we had robbed a Chick-fil-A. Except we're not very good at robbery, so we took gallons and gallons of tea, instead of money. We put the drinks in coolers on ice, and when the coolers ran out, we stuffed tea in the fridge. I ended up cooking the baked beans overnight in the crock pot, because I realized if I cooked them any earlier, I wouldn't have any place to put them.
It is no fun for a fridge to give you stress. Fridges should be full of comfort.
By the time we got to the county park at 8:30 this morning, my stress was mostly dissipated, because the planning period was over. For better or worse, we had done what we could, and now things were just going to happen. We unloaded everything - we had surprised ourselves by making it in one trip - and then our helpers started showing up.
I got credit for a lot of today, but I don't feel like I deserve it. Even when the ball of stress was building inside me, logically I knew it would be fine. The congregation is full of people eager to help and accepting of whatever limitations occur. People just rolled up and pitched in, and the work got done when I wasn't even looking. Our proud grill volunteers readied their stations for the meat, proud to be serving the Lord with charcoal and tongs. The tables got set up, and then the food started arriving: salads and cobblers and sandwiches and fruit and brownies for miles.
The weather was beautiful, and everything went on without a hitch. While our grillers worked, we had a service sitting in lawn chairs and on blankets in a soccer field. I took communion, then headed over to the tables to start uncovering all the dishes in preparation for the rush of hungry Episcopalians. By the time I went through the line, some of the choices had been eliminated, but there was still plenty to fill my plate. We sat with our fellows and listened as they congratulated us for a job well done, then talked about other great events they thought we should organize.
Today, my fridge has a half-gallon of lemonade and a dozen cooked burgers and hot dogs, wrapped together in a foil ball and then stuffed into a hamburger bun bag. We had leftover gallons of tea, which we passed out to everyone who was still there at the end of it all. This is one of the things I enjoy about helping out at church functions - you usually get rewarded for your efforts with leftovers, and you never know what you will end up with. Someone took home a package of cheese, another got the rest of the bulk bag of charcoal. Everybody left happy. I got home just in time for my Sunday afternoon nap.