“When (Jesus) looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.’”
A couple of Sundays ago, we had a wonderful Stewardship sermon from Pastor Gretchen. (When I was Catholic we always called that talk “The Sermon on the A-mount.”) I was particularly inspired to look back and see who, in my past, has taught me the meaning of stewardship. Pastor Gretchen talked about the stories that inspire us and I’d like to share one of my favorite stories. The story is about Miron.
My parents were older when I was born, with active lives and my mother worked as a nurse. The story goes that Mrs. Cora Miron started babysitting me when I was only two weeks old. She was “elderly,” I guess, but, I’m afraid, not too much older than I am now. She was a long-time widow, Italian (boy, could she cook!) and she supplemented her Social Security by babysitting for fifty cents an hour. My parents kept her quite busy I am grateful to say. She usually came to our house or as I got older I would spend the night with her at her tiny duplex apartment she shared with Mrs. Mottram upstairs. I got to sleep in a “two-pillow” bed when I stayed with Miron, which was a real treat. Oh, and as a toddler I couldn’t say “Mrs. Miron,” so I just called her Miron. Until the say she died, my whole family called her Miron.
On Saturday nights, I would stay with Miron and we would get up to walk to 6:30 AM mass on Sunday mornings. She would let me put the coins in the church envelope which I thought was a fun bit of business, but it also taught me about stewardship. Miron made so little money and yet it was important to her to contribute to the church. This was an important lesson I learned at her knee. I learned many other important life lessons from her, too, like how to ride a city bus since she didn’t drive. I wish I’d been old enough to learn how to make her famous bone soup or sweet tea, but, alas, those secrets went with her into eternity.
Miron had grandchildren who came to visit every summer and I was always included in the festivities. There were four Miron kids and the last thing they needed was one more, but there I was–always included. Granddaughter Mary and I slept in sleeping bags under the dining room table and kids covered nearly every inch of the floor. (Someone else scored the two-pillow bed). We had so much fun, playing hard all day, going to American Legion baseball games, ending the days having bowls of cereal before crawling under the table to sleep. They even took me to visit their other grandma about an hour’s drive away. We sang several verses of “Henry the Eighth I Am,” until I’m sure the adults were ready to leave us by the side of the road. These rich memories make me smile every time I remember. I learned inclusion from Miron, too. There was always room for one more.
As I got older and no longer needed a babysitter, Miron became like another grandmother. She came to dinner on Sunday nights and we still saw her regularly. It was hard for her when I out-grew her as a sitter and began babysitting kids myself. It helped that we still saw her regularly. It was spring of my senior year in high school, when I was called to the hospital to say Good-bye to Miron. She passed away just as I was becoming an adult…she saw me all the way from birth to adulthood. And that is a rich life lesson in steadfast loyalty and love. I hope she is one of the very first people I meet in heaven. Oh, and I still keep in touch with her grandchildren.
Our stories shape us into the people we become in life. I’m so blessed that I was shaped by a lovely Italian lady named Miron. I will forever be so grateful for the memories of riding the bus, putting her coins in the church envelope and sleeping under the dining room table. As we approach this season of thanks, let’s all take some time and remember our stories and the rich characters within them.
Darling God, thank you for our stories. Some stories hold lovely memories and others may be more difficult for us to remember. But you hold our stories just as you hold us, gently and lovingly. Thank you for reminding us of all we have to be grateful for this season of thanksgiving. And help us to be open and inclusive to others. Amen (PS: Please give Miron my love!)