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On this day in 2017 we, at Central, lost our friend and sister, Cheryl Calder – as she passed into her new, eternal, and fabulous life.  I wrote this a day or two following, and it bears repeating, because…you never know.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s I was a student at CORNISH COLLEGE OF THE ARTS in Seattle.  I spent my time studying, performing and being a “college student”.  I loved Seattle, and still do.  As a child of the “east side” of Washington State, where the flat, dusty, earth is scattered with with sage brush or field upon field of wheat, I enjoyed the change: mountains, water and huge trees.  The drizzle, and the sometimes grey skies, didn’t bother me in the least.

Part of what I loved was the culture.  It seemed that every corner had a cafe, a store, a gallery, a theatre.  I lived for at least 2 and almost 3 years as an actor, with that as my primary job; there were so many theatres to work in.  It was in Seattle that I first started working in the church.  I walked in to the church I attended and asked if there was anything I could volunteer to do during the day, since most of my work was at night.

“Sure,” the Pastor said, “aren’t you a designer?  Could you take over our Newsletter design and layout?”

“Of course.” I said

“Watch out though,” he said, “once you start working at a church it sucks you in and you could end up working full time.”

You never know.

There were days that I would take a bit of a long walk from my apartment on Capital Hill and go to the Market, up from the harbor of  Puget Sound.  You’ve seen pictures of the Market, called PIKE PLACE, (where they “throw the fish”) it was a great place at the “heart” of the city.  There happened to be a little coffee shop there.  When I first visited, they only sold whole bean coffee that they roasted right there, and you took it home to brew.  Eventually this little shop started selling cups of their roasted coffee and espresso that you could drink right there.  I remember the day my friend, who worked there, said they were opening a new store on the east side of town, across the lake.  I was really surprised.  Is this kind of thing really so popular that you’d risk opening another store?  I hoped it would do well.  The shop was called, STARBUCKS.

You never know.

Another place I used to haunt was a classic bookstore, several blocks south of my school and apartment, but not downtown.  This was not only heaven-on-earth for readers like me, but they also sold coffee and soup, home-made breads and such…you could both EAT and READ – WOW!  Sitting and reading was encouraged as much as purchasing.  I would travel to the ELLIOTT BAY BOOKSTORE often enough that I started seeing familiar faces: another college student there, an older man here…pretty soon we are greeting each other and having anonymous small talk.

Jump ahead some 15 years and I’m in Anderson, Indiana.  Once again I’ve sought out a little coffee shop where they didn’t mind if you sat and drank coffee while working, in the early morning.  It was a small shop close to the University.  Pretty soon the same thing happened and I started seeing the same faces, becoming familiar, as we all happened to stop by at the same time.

An older lady and one I assumed was her daughter came by, and as I looked up at them seated across the room, I realized I had seen the younger woman before.  It took me awhile, but then she laughed and I realized, remarkably, that she was one of the “regulars” at THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOKSTORE.  I walked over, apoligized and asked if she was from Seattle.  She said she HAD been there when her husband was taking classes – some of them at the CORNISH COLLEGE, had I heard of it?  I told her that I recognized here and her animatedly-shocked face immediately lit up and she said she recognized me also.  We started chattering away about all things Seattle.  We saw each other time and again and said “hi” there at BIXBY’S.

Several years later I was a manager at the same coffee shop: a new owner, and a new name: BRANDON’S.  I had also started attending a new church, Central Christian where, lo-and-behold, this woman attended…her name was Cheryl Calder.  We became, and remained, fast friends.  She had A lifetime of history in Anderson, and at Central Christian.  She had gone through the good and bad of life with her blood family and church family there.  When I became the Pastor I hired her to be our Secretary, partially because she knew everyone and knew everything that was happening all over town…but mostly because she was dedicated to God, and totally loyal to me and the church.

She was, and is, a part of the very stone that defines the building, the laughter and love that breathes through the halls there…the rest is history.

Small things become big things.  A smile can turn a day.  A voice can change the world…or at least your world.

Every moment has its time.
Every person has their place.
Do not brush away either.
In doing so, you may brush away God’s wish for you
To either enjoy, or be the miracle…

you never know.