I forgot all the Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons. I had scads of them. It was going to save us bundles of money. We stood in line at the Ft. Worth BBB on Friday night, Sharon and I, waiting to pick up the dorm room package we’d ordered in California. Ahead of us was one of three other TCU Freshmen (and I mean male types) we’d met on the plane also headed for Texas Christian University. He was with his mom who’d been very friendly to us on the plane. I bemoaned my forgetfulness in leaving the coupons and this woman began looking into a large, legal sized envelope in her arms. “How many do you need?” she asked.
Not wanting to be greedy and figuring she’d need as many as possible given the number of items on the table, I said “One would be great”. “Really? I’ve got lots.” And I could see that yes, indeed, she had scads and scads of BBB coupons. She gave me six and wanted to give me more.
The items we had were totaled up and I handed over one coupon. The clerk asked, “Do you have more coupons?” Well, yes I did. I was stunned that I could use more than one on the same ticket, but apparently it’s allowed. Additionally, the expiration date doesn’t mean anything. I gave two more, knowing we’d probably be back for additional items, which we were.
Travelling costs money. Staying away from home costs money. We were given shelter by Sharon Beaucond, niece to Jan and Ray Akin, members of our church. Sharon B. gave us a place to stay and even more, gave of herself: her kind and loving presence. It wasn’t just that she helped us keep our expenses down, she provided a sense of home. She made us coffee cake on Sunday morning and listened to our tales of moving in.
After moving in, we were fed dinner by the Rodenberg family in their new home. (Former members, recently moved within five minutes or so of TCU – Tamara is now on staff at Brite Divinity, the seminary related to TCU) It was their first dinner in their dining room at a table with chairs. It was extraordinary hospitality, given that they’d begun to move in just the day before. We were fed more than food. The laughter and stories filled us with joy, comfort and encouragement.
Sharon receives two scholarship grants because of her Disciple connections. Those funds are made possible by stewards who gave long ago and stewards who give today and stewards who manage those funds. One of those funds is from the Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation, Inc. The Beasleys made their money in oil and were members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). More about the Beasleys another time, just to note that these people who we never knew are helping us send our daughter to college. That’s generous. It’s like planting a tree in a yard you are leaving: leaving a gift for the next occupant.
We worshiped at South Hills Christian Church on Sunday morning. A number of people spoke directly to Sharon, offering their assistance in any way, letting her know all she had to do was call. Here was a community ready to be her community if she wanted. They didn’t insist she come back; they offered their help whenever she wanted to call.
Within the span of 72 hours, we received these gifts and many others. The generosity of other people carried us through a time of incredible transition. I am rich with blessings. My cup overflows. Gratitude spills out.
All these people and more became to us ambassadors of God’s generous care. What wonderful teachers I’ve had over the last three days. Their able stewardship inspires me to be a better steward, a more generous steward.