may-day-flowers-clip-art-5Remember that holiday rite where you left a bouquet at a the front door of a friend, rang the doorbell, and ran away?

Me neither. May be it was a florists’ dream from the 1950s. Established as the first of May and entitled May Day!

Which, of course, is a universally known distress signal. My story sprouts both, so the first day of May seems an apt time to tell. It’s about our church’s annual Prayer Partner event, my first one:

From a white basket, I’d selected a name written in teacher print on a multipli-folded paper the year before. I could hardly believe my eyes as I read: I was deemed to pray for the pastor’s wife, the lady who was shepherding me, along with her fervent husband.

In our year entwined, multiple ‘May Day’ stresses and distresses occurred, to both of us. I relished intercession on her behalf, as sacred honor,  asking His mercy and blessings, to keep a guard on her health. It kept my mind off my troubles, attuned to another’s needs in His service.

Now it was time for the big reveal, to let the secrets out of the bag, and to recognize the gift of sisterly prayers within the congregation. It was just desserts.

It was my first event and, not knowing the rules or routine, I brought a gift: for the prayer partner who had mediated for me. My chagrin grew as I watched the other participants sweep into the room with a gift in each hand. Of course: the Christian Circle: givers and recipients.

When my turn came to reveal, I walked over to the pastor’s wife, seated demurely at a nearby table. As I hugged her in gratitude for the opportunity to guide her life via Godly chats, I whispered in her ear,  “I’m sorry that I don’t have a gift for you. I only brought one and need to give it to the woman who was praying for me.” Ever the kind and gracious soul, she nodded. She smiled and turned away.

Then I stood alone at the front of the room. I was the finale, the only one who didn’t yet know her secret prayer provider. The crowd was silent as I waited, the single gift in my hand. Finally, I spread my arms wide as if to embrace the room and pleaded for the woman to step forward.

No one spoke or moved. I scarcely breathed as suspense tightened my spine.

Then to my right, the pastor’s wife softly spoke my name and, when I turned toward her, she raised her hand as if she were in first grade. Her grin was like the Cheshire Cat’s and still it took a moment for me to realize –

While I was praying for her during a horrendous life cycle: “May Day, Lord!”, she was praying for me. I’d only needed to bring one gift to the event.

He was looking out for us, and our friendship fully flowered.