Monday, September 8, 2014
As a MAX (Mutual Aid eXchange) insurance agent, I am often approached to help sponsor events, or to advertise in in an organization's publication or program. I have to budget the marketing dollars and feel a great responsibility to not waste the money that the MAX leadership has budgeted for this area.
I have turned down quite a few opportunities, but felt strongly I would like to help out with the Church of the Brethren's local camp. This is called Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center, located in Keezletown, Virginia. In a beautiful wooded setting surrounding a lake, this camp has opportunites for all ages -encouraging Christ-centered living and leadership. It is hard to believe that in 1958, the first 60 acres were purchased for only $50 an acre!
I worked with the director, Doug Phillips, to come up with a plan - I had MAX Insurance sponsor a hole (a $100 donation), but asked if I could also come help. I had the marketing department send me some items so each golfer would have a face to put with my name, have something to remember MAX Insurance by, along with my contact info. I took nice fabric shopping bags with the MAX logo out to the camp earlier this week. These bags would be filled with snacks/water for each golfer. There were 120 of them. I also asked if I could be there while the golfers arrived and meet each one and give them the bag. Doug seemed happy that he would have more help.
This all sounded like a great idea until Friday evening. I had worked about ten hours and was ready to stop. Kelly was still gone - he had a meeting that day in Beckley, WV and wouldn't be home until later that evening. I went to the MAX storage unit to get some items to put into the bags. I also loaded a table into the car. Then went to Bath and Body Works as I had a coupon (gotta love those coupons!) Smelled enough scents to make my head spin. Settled on some soaps, a small lotion and a 50% off Pumpkin Harvest candle. Went to the Dollar Store for other treasures. Stopped at my friend, Heather Walton's house to deliver a late birthday card and one of the yummy soaps. Then....off to Walmart to purchase two restaurant gift certificates for a drawing I wanted to do with the golfers. Lines at Walmart were about 14 deep. I gave up and decided I could stop in the morning on my way.
Kelly got home and helped me prepare 120 packets. (that boy knows how to staple!) and I put together what I wanted on my table there. Finally done about midnight and then couldn't sleep. Typical when I have a very early morning. I got up at 5 and showered and was out the door a few minutes after 6:00. It was our neighborhood's semi-annual garage sales yesterday. Belmont Garage Sales. Just hearing those words make many people drool. It's crazy. Well, at that early hour yesterday, the neighborhood was already beginning to be crowded with those combing the streets for the first chance at a deal. Nuts! But Walmart was much less crowded than the night before. I decided on two $25 certificates - one for Ruby Tuesday's and one for Chili's.
I set up at the tournament and soon began meeting the early arrivals. They gladly wrote their names and numbers for the drawing. I knew a number of them, which was a surprise to me. The Church of the Brethren community is tightly knit - as is the Mennonite community here. You see the same people, hear the same names at the events. Sounds a lot like our church.
Soon there were lines and the golfers were anxious to get on the carts and on the course. They all seemed grateful for the bags, but I had to scramble to keep everything going. I would unpack a box of 12 or so bags, put them on the ground, make sure they also had the goodies I'd prepared the night before in each one, and keep the table filled with the bags. In the meantime, I was helping with the muffins, making sure they wrote their names/numbers for me, and helped with anything else that needed done. It was hot, humid and very stifling as we were in the golf cart building with no moving air. I took my glasses off as I was sweating and hooked them on the front of my shirt. About 30 minutes later I realized they were gone. I kept looking for them as I worked, but they were seriously gone. These are very nice prescription glasses - Vogue frames. They were not cheap. Oh well. When all 120 golfers were sitting in the 60 lined up golf carts, with two MAX bags in each cart, I finally took a breath. It was a beautiful sight. After the rules of how the tournament would work was explained, there was a prayer. The last golf tournament I worked was with the Ohio Roofing Contractors Association - in Huron, Ohio. That one was so different than this one. They were nice guys in Ohio, but it definitely didn't start with a prayer, and the language was rough. The language and jokes got rougher as the beer cart emptied. This time there was no beer cart. It was announced to the golfers that I had lost my glasses and they could be in one of their bags and to please look and turn them in at lunch if found. I then packed up my things, loaded the car and came home. Exhausted. Talked with Meg on the way home and we decided to go to a few garage sales. Neither one of us really was in the mood to shop too much, but she found two T-shirts, and I found a carton of ABC blocks for my "grandma stash". Big spenders. Oh, and I bought some warm lemonade from a little girl named Amy. I always buy lemonade from children selling it. Even if I have to drive down the road and then pour it out the window. :) Then we picked up Brock and went to "pet puppies" at Sylvia's Pets. Meg and Brock want a puppy so badly. There were some adorable Puggles and some Lab/Husky mixes. We got to hold them and smell that great puppy breath. They hope to "rescue" a puppy, though, and not purchase any from a pet shop. But we all got our puppy fix. They stopped by the food trucks on 42 for lunch. I'd never been there. They both got BBQ from their favorite truck. I saw one advertising "soul food". I bought a couple chicken tenders and some collard greens. We brought it home and shared it all with Kelly. Then they left and I got ready to go back to the course to welcome the golfers in. It was hotter and even more humid. Those golfers looked pretty rough after 18 holes in the sun. Wilted, actually. The camp cook had made a great lunch and everyone sat down to rest, eat and either brag or commiserate about their game. Prizes were announced. When it was my turn, I took the mic and announced the winners of our drawings. I had Doug (the camp director) pick the entry out of the huge jar I had brought. It was a great day there and I met some fantastic people. I am so blessed to work and associate with great Christian people. I've learned a lot about love, service and quiet strength from the good people I've met through MAX.
But...I left without my glasses. I was grateful I had an old pair. Not my current prescription, but better than nothing. I was thinking about those glasses on my drive home. That I should have been more careful. I thought about why I had lost them - and it came down to this - as I was focusing on things right in front of me, I didn't really need them. I didn't need to see far away, I didn't care about the bigger picture, just the task at hand. So I was careless with them. But....to go anywhere.....to walk to the car, to drive home....I really could have used those glasses. Things were not as clear as they should have been. I really wished I had them. Sometimes that is how it is with us. We only see the here, the now. We lose sight of things as they really are - the bigger picture. We are slowed, sometimes even stopped from moving forward with this lack of perspective. We need to be careful to remember who we really are - His daughter or son. That temporal things are just that - temporary. We need to have an eternal perspective. See more than we can with our natural eyes. See clearer than we can with our natural eyes. We can't be careless with things that really matter.
The rest of the story - today, after church, I looked at my phone and saw I had a message from Delaware. The message - A man who was at the golf tournament said it was the weirdest thing. At the bottom of the bag he found some glasses. He said his wife was there, and thought she heard me say something about my glasses. If they were mine, he'd be happy to mail them to me. Boy, am I glad I took the time to put my contact info in the bag!
Like the Beatles, I will soon be singing...."I can see clearly now..."
(this Saturday is just half over....the rest is continued in the next post)
Lakeview is an incredibly beautiful course.
Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center
Worship and meeting area at the camp
Brethren Woods - peaceful water