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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Holy Folders
By Angeline oppenheimer


Lily buttons her satin white blouse with trembling hands. “Good, I’m still able to do it,” she muses as she runs her fingers down her blouse to the pleated folds of her skirt. “I know, I know, my granddaughter thinks I’m trapped in the Victorian ages, but hey, it still looks as fashionable as the day I bought it, if I may say so myself. Kids, these days, what do they know about fashion? Now, they wear our once trendy baby doll dresses with a pair of jeans!”

Very slowly, she turns herself sideway to inspect her profile. The blouse is neatly tucked in, even at the back. From her Ikea organizer, she pulls out a black pair of pumps, the predecessor the now popular ballet flats. She edges her stockinged feet into her well seasoned shoes and smiles at herself. “My wrinkles may be craters of compact powder, but at least, Lord, I can still smile and I still have most of my teeth, even if they’re a shade off and a few are on their last leg.” Lily nods to herself, “Lord, I know I’m babbling off again, but I can’t help it. I wasn’t exactly born with a quiet streak, so, Lord, I know you’ll bear with me.”

Lily walks over the giant-print calendar that her daughter had hung up on her bedroom wall for her. Tuesday. Check-right day. Time : 8.45 am. Check--anytime now, Elaine will knock on her door. She can’t wait--she sits by the chair in her little entry hall and swirls her thumbs in circles. Sorry, it’s a tick she developed as a young girl while waiting for any number of things and now, she finds herself twirling a shriveled version of them.

The knock finally comes and Lily opens the door to welcome her chauffeur. Elaine had volunteered to drive Lily ever since Lily failed her eye test at the DMV. Always on time, no matter the seasons or circumstances, Elaine embraces Lily’s tiny body with a warm bear hug. “Ready, Lily? Don’t forget your purse and here… I’ll help you carry this… you won’t be needing this while you can have my arm,” Elaine raised her right arm for Lily while she gathers the walking stick in the other.

Even though the ride to church is a short ten minutes, Lily loves every single minute of it. Her current state of health has kept her home most days and any outing is relished like a kid licking the last drop of sweetness off the lollipop. She likes that Elaine doesn’t mind that she winds her window down. She loves the air playing with her hair, puffing them up at the back of her neck. The smell of Mother Earth as the car scales through the tall pine trees brings her a fresh sense of wonder. “Lord, I love this day,’ she mutters but quickly stops herself before she launches into another lengthy dialogue with God. Talk to Elaine, she chides herself.

Finally at the church, she and Elaine head for the room adjoining the sanctuary. There everyone exchanges greetings before they settle down to the task at hand. Holy Folders.
Each gets a stack of newsletters. With deliberate diligence, Lily takes one and folds it into thirds. She puts the first one on her right and proceeds to repeat the task. Sure, it’s mundane and mindless, but Lily enjoys the repetitive motion. Light conversation punctuates the rustling of papers. Laughter flows easily in the usual group of five. Everyone is way passed fifty but Lily heads the pinnacle of this Holy Folders Club. She has been at it for the past thirty years.

Sure, Lily has assumed many roles in her long life. She was the Sunday School teacher, then Superintendent of Sunday School, Youth Coordinator, Hospitality Lady, Muffin Lady (where she visits every new comer with her famous blueberry muffins), designated baby sitter when young mothers come for Bible study. But slowly, her responsibilities have frizzled out and dwindled down to this one task.

Two hours later and only fifty folded, Lily wishes her hands can work faster. But no one is complaining and she smiles, grateful that she can still perform this menial task.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/30/07
I love this!
Ann Renae Hair12/01/07
Amen! Let's do anything we can to serve for as long as we breathe the air God gives us on this earth! Great story.
Emily Gibson12/01/07
I hope this is me in another 30 years, doing whatever I can with what I have left of mind and body! Wonderful characterization.
Dee Yoder 12/03/07
Wonderful story about using every single gift the Lord blesses us with; and a good reminder that our gifts can change and grow as we get older.
Temple Miller12/04/07
I loved your imagery and terrific details.
Yvonne Blake 12/04/07
This was very encouraging, a reminder that anyone of any age can serve the Lord. I love the way you had her dress for "church", typical of that generation, even if she was just going to fold letters. Good character study. Well done!