This Sunday we will celebrate All Saints Day. Who are the saints, living and dead, who have helped to shape and form your faith? Three women named Dorothy are among the saints for me.
Dot taught me how to love, respect, and care for all of God’s creation. Dot organized the early efforts in our congregation to ‘adopt a highway.’ Members would regularly gather to clean up the interchange. Dot thought it would look better with some flowers, but the highway department would not permit it. Nonetheless, the crew sometimes carried seeds in our pockets (pockets with holes, of course). So what if a few seeds fell out? With others from the congregation we created a biblical herb garden outside the church, providing a quiet place for meditation, a source of herbs for the congregation, and a beautiful garden for passersby.
From Dottie I learned to have fun in my faith, experiencing the joy of God. With an infectious laugh and a great sense of color in her fashion choices, Dottie can always be spotted in a crowd. Dottie, the mother of six, can even laugh when telling how she washed (and washed and washed) diapers for her little ones. Dottie brought a lot of joy to nursing homes as Tootles, the clown, when our congregation had a clown ministry. Dottie simply knows how to have fun and gives others the permission to do so too.
Dorothy taught me of the unconditional love of God in Jesus Christ. Long before the days of WWJD, Dorothy was asking that question. Her answer, in the way she lived her life, was simple – Jesus would have us love our neighbors. Even now, 12 years after her death, I think of Dorothy’s persistent expression of love to all those who touched her life. Countless children in Sunday school, vacation Bible school and Girl Scouts learned of Jesus’ love at Dorothy’s knee. In our circle Dorothy taught us of the importance of love within families, sharing wisdom her father had long ago revealed to her.
All three Dorothys taught me about hospitality too. Dot always welcomed the cleanup crews to her home, serving a delicious chocolate cake. Dottie greeted newcomers to Sunday fellowship and made them feel welcome. I treasure a coffee cake recipe from Dorothy (often served at our congregational unit’s breakfast potlucks), her grandmother’s recipe from the Great Depression.
I pause today to offer thanks for these three grandmothers named Dorothy. Won’t you offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the saints in your life too? You are welcome to remember them here too.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director, Women of the ELCA.