Ode to Esther



Today on TALES FROM THE BOOTH I want to share about how extremely delightful it is to see a familiar face during regular work days. As with any public service position being out in the booth affords a daily opportunity to see almost anyone. I love that part of my job because it is the excitement of the unexpected. Never know who will pull up to my booth. Unfortunately, on busy weekends, there’s barely enough time to look up and take notice of each individual (although I endeavor to do so all the same). Today, however, is a slow Tuesday;
A Volkswagon Cabriolet pulls up to my booth. The driver looks familiar. My mind scans my memory banks with racing thoughts. “I think I know him. Is that him? Should I take a chance and ask him?'” These questions zoom through my head as I automatically collect his toll. I choose to follow my default perspective of LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO MISS A CHANCE FOR A MEANINGFUL OPPORTUNITY. What have I got to lose?
So I ask him if he is from the area? Affirmative. I ask if he plays the organ? Now he looks at me curiously because he indeed plays the organ.
“Did you ever play for such and such a church,” I ask?
“I still do,” he responds.
Hard to believe I recognize this man after almost 40 years. He aged well, only slightly altering his hairstyle. I’m sure he won’t know who I am from Eve but when I give my name he remembers my family. I attended the church where he was the organist when I was young. We recall a few shared memories of church functions. Turns out his mother, Esther was a huge influence on both of our lives and we enjoy reminiscing about her. His short stop at my booth floods my mind with precious memories that were long laying dormant.

I remember Esther as a jolly woman who loved to laugh and have good clean fun. Her hair intrigued my young girl mind. Wearing it swept off her face in tight braids encircling the crown of her head, it was a peculiar style . She had rosy cheeks and a kind word for those she met. I daresay she never missed church. Her spot on the last wooden pew of the middle section was filled for every service especially Wednesday night prayer meeting. She prayed aloud kneeling by her seat. I liked sitting nearby and observing her. A large bulge protruded from her neck that aroused my curiosity. It looked like it may hurt but I never heard her complain about it. Mother told me it was a goiter. It could account for the raspiness I remember in her voice. A big black Bible rested next to her on the pew. It was tattered and torn and looked ready for replacement. But Esther cherished it.

Looking back, my admiration for this dear woman of GOD was stronger than I realized until now. As a little girl, I remember taking my Bible and innocently ripping the cover and deliberately crinkling the pages. (I think I may have earned a spanking afterwards? Parents never asked why I did it). I wanted my Bible to look like Esther’s. I wanted it to be worn and to be a treasure. I wanted people to think I was close to GOD when they saw it. I wanted to be like Esther. I’m sure she would have found this to be humorous if I had ever gotten to tell her but she died before I was old enough to understand that her Bible was worn from all the time she spent reading it, studying it, praying through it and the many tears dropping on it. Her journey with her God was represented in that old Bible.


These thoughts of Esther and the impressions she left with me are so precious. I am grateful her son took the time to visit and share his memories. I must confess my desire to be like her lingers. I want to point people to Jesus like she did and be remembered fondly. Her son told me that rarely a day goes by that he doesn’t think about her. Wouldn’t we all like to be a pleasant memory in the hearts and minds of those who follow after us?
“And you should imitate me {Apostle Paul speaking}, just as I imitate Christ.”
I Cornithians 11:1 New Living Translation
“Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine {Apostle Paul speaking}, and learn from those who follow our example.” Philippians 3:17 New Living Translation

Esther followed Christ and Paul’s example. I respected and admired her. Will anyone say that about us after we are gone? Something to reflect on while we continue our journey toward FLURISHING.

Shine on!
karan k

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