You know what amazes me most about this story? The fact that someone committed herself for a year. A gesture done once is great. But a weekly gesture – fifty-two of them? Now that’s commitment and caring.
I have never forgotten the story, even though I heard it a quarter of a century ago. It was the daughter of the deacon’s wife who shared it with me. I think you’d like to hear the story, too.
Somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, there was a country church experiencing conflict. This church wasn’t much different from any other church because there were people in that church. And where there are people, there is sin. And with sin comes conflict, resulting in pain, hurt, and anger. It’s a shame to have to say that these things happen, but they do.
Where God is working, we need to reckon that the devil will be working hard, too. So in the course of the conflict in this church, hard feelings abounded. The deacon’s wife was the Sunday school teacher for the young mother’s class in this church. During this difficult church time, she found it particularly challenging because there were some in her class who made their dislike for her evident.
No one wants to be disliked or unwanted, and this deacon’s wife was no different from anyone else. She struggled with feelings and emotions. She wept. She prayed. She didn’t quit teaching that Sunday school class, but it was hard.
Somewhere else in that same part of the county, there was another woman who knew about that pain. I’m sure she prayed. And then, no doubt influenced by God, she decided to put hands and feet to her prayers. What amazes me is that this woman committed to being, not a short distance sprinter, but a long distance runner.
Who was that someone? Nobody knows. But we all know what she did and how God used what she did to bring healing to a troubled, broken heart.
The deacon’s family lived in the country, just across the hill (but out of sight) from the house where her sister-in-law lived. Neither woman could see the other’s house from her home.
One Wednesday morning, the sister-in-law walked up the road from her house and delivered a freshly made pie to the deacon’s wife. She didn’t have any answers for the questions she was given.
No, she did not make the pie. No, she couldn’t tell her who had sent it. She was merely the delivery person for someone who chose to remain anonymous.
For the next year – every Wednesday, to be exact – a fresh, warm and delicious pie was delivered to the door of the sister-in-law who, in turn, delivered the pie to the house on the other side of the hill. Every Wednesday the middle-school daughter of the deacon’s wife wondered what kind of pie would be delivered today. Every Wednesday, they wondered if another pie would be delivered, or if this would be the last.
The deacon’s wife had nine children, and the youngest was the only one who lived at home full time. Older children were enrolled in Eastern Mennonite High School or Eastern Mennonite College and came home on weekends. I am sure there were times they got to enjoy the homemade pie that had been delivered that week.
The deacon’s family never knew from week to week what kind of pie would show up, for there was a great variety throughout the year. The deacon’s wife asked everyone she could think of if they were responsible for the pies; but the mystery was never solved. It didn’t need to be. In time, she quit asking people; she quit trying to figure out who had made the pies.
With every pie, a measure of healing and grace wrapped itself around the heart of the deacon’s wife. The unsolved mystery became a precious demonstration of how God uses others to pour His enabling grace into the hurting lives of others. The part of the story that touches me most is not that one pie was delivered; but that someone cared enough to make a fresh pie every week for fifty-one weeks in a row. On the 52nd Wednesday, a cake was delivered. It was the birthday of the deacon’s wife.
Somebody cared enough to became the hands and feet of Jesus. Through those pies, the wife of the deacon – and her family – found healing and grace.
The mystery was never explained. The person who made those pies and the sister-in-law took the secret with them to their graves. It doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is that somebody somewhere cared and gave grace. Because of grace, somebody else found healing and peace.
There’s another mystery that can never be explained. That mystery is the sacrificial love of a Savior. Our Savior cared enough to become like us so we could become like Him.
Credits: photos taken by Marcia Brenneman
- Photos taken by Marcia Brenneman
- Pies made, baked and served at The Casselman Inn and Restaurant, Grantsville, Maryland