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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

Give and Take

Have you ever put your foot in your mouth? I’m sure you know what the answer is for me. In fact, I did it today. I met someone earlier in the day, and he told me who his father is. I smarted off that I hope he is nicer than his dad. It was a joke because I really like and tease his dad and I said all of this with a laugh. The man told me – without a laugh, mind you – his father has a heart of gold.

Note to self – no more jokes to this person.

Several years ago I did something similar, albeit with better results. I was at a book sale St Francis was holding, and I met my friend Laura’s father, Jim Short. When I saw Laura later, I explained that her dad had given me a lot of dirt about her, and I now expected her to take over all of my volunteer responsibilities, or I would share the dirt with everyone at church. She knew better than to believe me, but when she told her dad, he went along with it and even hammed it up a bit.

I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

Jim and I have continued to joke and tease over the years. He gives as good as he gets. Every Sunday I ask Jim if he is getting into trouble and having fun, and he dejectedly shakes his head no, and whispers that he doesn’t get the chance because Connie, his wife, watches him too closely.

Both Jim and Connie bleed Carolina blue; in fact, back in the day, Jim played tuba in the marching band at Carolina, so when they found out Madi would be part of the Marching Tar Heels, he and Connie would routinely ask me how she was doing even though they knew they were opening the floodgates. They are good people.

Today after the Christmas cantata was over, Pastor Andy asked Jim to stand, and she made the announcement that after singing in a choir for 68 years, this would be Jim‘s last cantata, and he was stepping down from the choir.

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the church. Talk about a life of service. What a big gift.

This week I had an opportunity to go to a live taping of a podcast. The host had someone who was fairly high in the business end of the NBA as his guest. It should have been very interesting. It should have been a back-and-forth between host and guest. It should have been give-and-take.

It wasn’t. Once the guest’s mic was turned on, he didn’t just take, he took over. His name dropping was truly a list of who’s who, and yet people in the audience were leaving at the first opportunity they found. All take, no give. It doesn’t matter how “important“ you are, if all you care about is yourself, and you don’t care for others.

I look at the example today of Jim and Connie Short. Lives of service. The hands and feet of Christ.  Shining illustrations of what it means to scatter love and laughter.  Giving more than taking. 

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Dec 18, 2023

After the Contata rehearsal, I had lunch for the choir, so they tarried and chatted for some time. Turns out that Connie was beside herself because Jim was late coming home and didn't answer his phone. But all's well that end's well and she was gracious enough to also thank me for the lunch

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