Notes from Jan

Weighing in on Faithfulness

July 18, 2020

It’s what I called him, Uncle Faithful, but not ’til after he died.  He was daddy’s eldest brother, a bachelor.  Uncle Jack lived one of those quiet lives that doesn’t make much difference unless being faithful in small ways adds up to more than most of us imagine.  I wrote about him in The Welcome Song.

So why bring him up today?  I’m never all that sure about why someone or something comes to mind.  Sometimes I blame or thank God, other times I accept responsibility. This time, however, Uncle Jack showed up because of his Sunday School pin.  I’d been fishing around in my  jewelry drawer when I snagged his pin.  I don’t think you can still earn them. This one, made of metal and embossed with enamel,  resembled the kind  a military hero might wear. Several linked bars dangled from a fancy looking shield.

Well, Uncle Jack was no hero unless faithfulness counts. The pin honored him for seven years of perfect attendance at Sunday School.  Does that matter any more? Truth was, he should’ve had a drawer full of those pins. He never missed, as far as I know. If he said he’d do it, you could consider it done.  If he said he’d be there, he was. Uncle Jack grew up in a time when what you said and how you said it mattered. He wasn’t perfect but he represented something important, faithfulness.

Last week I read in a devotional booklet from the Episcopal church, “Faith is what we believe but faithfulness is when we act like the things we believe are true.”

Maybe I need to keep that pin where I can see it, since I haven’t been to Weight Watchers in months.  I’d hate to step on their scale and hear it yell, “Whoa!”.




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  • Reply Joyce C Ruppell July 19, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    I can certainly relate to this as my husband has one of those perfect attendance pins with 5 bars attached! He told me it was a thrill to receive each one. He certainly represents faithfulness in all its qualities!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 19, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Well, faithfulness is worth honoring, Joyce. If not down here, faithfulness will be honored up there. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

  • Reply Nancy Mering July 19, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    I’m betting that Uncle Jack’s Sunday School attendance was 52 weeks of the year–as it was for me when I grew up in the 50s. Those teachers didn’t get the long summer breaks that most churches do now. I’m not saying that was better; just that Uncle Jack’s–and those Sunday School teachers’–commitment was even greater than would be needed today to get the same pin.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 19, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      That’s the truth! I learned so much from Mrs Miller my Beginner’s class teacher. She did wonders with her flannel graph board and Bible characters. Plus she taught us to sing “the Welcome Song”…which we sang to every new person who came into our class. Since I was the preacher’s kid, I never got it sung to me, but that was not as important as learning to sing it for others. Mrs. Miller made sure I and every other little kid felt welcomed, with or without the song. She also made sure we knew it was Jesus who was most happy we were there. Sometimes when she sang the song, it was almost like Jesus singing to us.

  • Reply Wendy July 20, 2020 at 9:10 am

    What wonderful memories Jan, both in your blog and comments. In my humble opinion Uncle Jack was definitely a hero, because faithfulness is that important! By the way, I just finished reading The Great Reckoning upon your recommendation. Inspector, Commander Gamache reminded me a lot of Jud. Talk about faithful. PS I’m not going anywhere near a scale! Covid has not been good for the diet 🙂 Love you!

  • Reply Jan Carlberg July 20, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Hah! Covid’s a beast! Don’t you love Gamache! I’ll be sure to look for Jud the next time I read one of her mysteries.
    the Inspector is full of integrity, loves his wife and is kind and thoughtful…so I get it!! Pennys newest book’s due out in early September.

    • Reply Wendy July 20, 2020 at 10:48 am

      Yes, Gamache and Jud are all those things – plus in this book how he reached out to the students at the academy, just like you and Jud always did! And you continue to do. I’ve only read 2 of her books but found them quite well done. Just wish there was a little less language… but I understand it’s part of the character so I try to read it that way.

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