Notes from Jan

Nothing Ordinary About Any Of Us

November 3, 2022

This was a week to consider saints. Obvious ones like Saints Peter and Julian of Norwich. But also ones who lived among us but are now dead to this world, yet alive in another. That word dead always lands with a thud, even when I write it. Thankfully, it’s not the last word. Jesus saw to that.

Well, the last place I expected to meet a saint was at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Normally, on Wednesday mornings I’m with Community Bible Study but yesterday, instead, I tended to my “bad plates.” So, after failing to book an appointment on-line, I drove to the RMV since Wednesdays from 9-10, senior citizens can come without an appointment.

Lets just say, I had no clue there were so many old folks, like me, still driving. When I arrived the line snaked around the building and into the parking lot. I should’ve packed a lunch. Some muttered, others checked phones, but most shifted to cushion tired knees and feet, while we paced in place.

Once inside, the line continued. The place was packed with people. Finally, at the Customer Service desk, Izzy smiled, welcomed and asked how she could help. Like I was all she had to do this day, as she shifted in her chair to accommodate a pregnant belly. “Sorry, the baby’s kicking.” We chatted, two moms, different races but kindred spirits. Once resettled, Izzy did her job of helping. Afterwards, I thanked her for her kindness and resourcefulness. Then added, “You’re a wonderful face on the RMV, Izzy,”

And she was that and more. Saint Izzy. Our exchange brought to mind the quote by C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit…”

I still have much to learn from ordinary saints. They’re everywhere. But it’s a mistake to just look in churches. If I do, I just might miss the one next door, in line at Market Basket or at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Or you, Beloved Saint.

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  • Reply dale lefever November 3, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to frame each conversation with grace. My guess is your kindness toward her had a lot to do with her “saintly” response. Blessings Saint Jan, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 3, 2022 at 8:47 pm

      Well, when I saw that line and heard the mumbling, I felt for anyone in that position. Yet, when my turn came, she was kind, helpful, despite her personal discomfort from having to remain seated so long with a squirming baby inside her. One thing many of us became aware of during the pandemic is to recognize, then appreciate essential workers. Ordinary folks, often in low paying jobs, who help keep things running. Thanks, Saint Dale, for many ways you and Saint Marty have encouraged me over the years..

  • Reply Barbara Chapman November 3, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    Jan, I couldn’t help but smile/laugh as I read this. I took chicken soup to an elderly (ha ha I’m 90) sick neighbor last week. Her remark of course was you’re a saint. Good reminder to thank those who are so kind to us.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 3, 2022 at 8:49 pm

      Good for you, Saint Barbara. Your comment reminded me that some of us do call certain acts of kindness “saintly.” And they are love gifts from God through us to another person, whether they or we realize it. Keep at it. Our world needs more kindness.

  • Reply Wendy November 3, 2022 at 8:43 pm

    So thankful you had that breath of sweetness at the RMV – and I’m sure she’s thankful for you too!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 3, 2022 at 8:50 pm

      Well, Saint Wendy, I’m sure you’ve blessed many through your words and actions. Both matter in a world that’s gotten to mean-spirited.

  • Reply Evelyn Morgan November 4, 2022 at 9:33 am

    We recently met saint Nancy, who God used to bless us as we took the car to Toyota garage for oil change which is all we ordered. Saint Nancy came along and told the serviceman to do everything to make this 10 yr. old car safe, which included tires, battery, windshield wipers, etc She took out her credit card and paid for all the service, whch was in the $800 range. She is indeed a saint to bless a stranger.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 4, 2022 at 9:45 am

      Wow! I need to change Toyota service centers, or hope they hire a “Nancy.” So happy you were blessed in such a specific way, Saint Evie.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood November 9, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    Jan, We generally see what we are looking for. You have such a positive outlook that you are looking to see the best in everyone you meet. I’m so glad God put a special saint in your path. I know you blessed her day too. Your writings always bless me!❤️Toni

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 11, 2022 at 12:57 pm

      Well, thank you, Saint Toni, for taking the time to read this blog and respond. There is much to see in others and in this world that is good. Some days I’m more aware than others.

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