The real treasures in your life are often hidden behind the curtain of a quiet spirit. That is true of every group, and even church is no exception. Churches have treasures that remain undiscovered until they surface unexpectedly. My family moved to Granbury in July of 2004. We chose to paint the interior of our new home before the chaos of having three young boys in a new house ensued. And there were other menial chores around the house that needed to be done before move-in. I recall one very quiet and sweet lady coming over and laying the paper that lines kitchen cabinets and drawers. Such tedious tasks are the equivalent to being tortured in my book. Bobbye was my hero that day. I learned something about humble service that day.
As time marched on, I got to know Bobbye a little better. I learned that she hosted her niece and her great-nephew for a meal every week. Her niece found herself recently divorced and trying to adjust to life in a new community. And as I recall, there was another lady and her son who were also included in that weekly dinner. That lady was in a similar position in life. I learned something about real hospitality by observing that weekly event and how it impacted those whom she was serving.
A few years later my wife’s nephew died very unexpectedly during his senior year in high school. It happened in the flash of a moment. We quickly packed our bags, and made preparations to leave for Fort Collins, Colorado. As I was loading the car, Bobbye drove up. I was surprised to see her. She got out of her car and stuffed some bills in my pocket. Bobbye was a person of few words. She simply said: “You are going to need some gas money before you get to Colorado.” And she proceeded to get in her car and drive off. Nine years later I still can’t tell that story without becoming very emotional. I learned something about what being Christian is about that afternoon.
Bobbye’s partner in crime was Margie. They went to visit “old people” on a regular basis. They brought comfort to the lonely and grieving. Margie was the talker, and Bobbye was there quietly invoking her characteristically dry sense of humor. (There were many times that Bobbye go the best of me with one of her cracks and I didn’t realize it until hours later!) And then Margie passed away unexpectedly one morning. It was a heartbreaking event for so many of us. I went to Margie’s home to see her family, and there was Bobbye… She was keeping everyone on track in her own quiet way. I learned something about the power of being the non-anxious presence in times of crisis that day.
Bobbye passed away recently. I try to keep a few extra bills in my wallet now, because you never know when someone might need some gas money. I call it my “Bobbye Money.” And when I look at those bills, I am reminded that that I learned something about the real treasures in life from Bobby Petty. The real treasures in life are often hidden by the curtain of a quiet spirit.