Prior to coming to Bellevue, I was blessed to have spent eight years working in the marketing department of our local zoo. As I’m quickly approaching my eighth anniversary of being on staff at Bellevue, a bit of nostalgia and reflection has begun to surface as I compare my time at the zoo with my time at Bellevue.
When I packed up my office at the zoo in 2014, I gathered up so many fun memories of the work our small department did together. I tend to hang on to the knickknacks that represent meaningful experiences I’ve had. So on my last day, I laughed as I put away a Snuggie I was given as part of a special-event partnership. I wondered at the up-close photo that was taken of a baby snow leopard when only a photographer, our veterinary staff, and I were allowed in the room of this newborn. I smiled with pride as I reflected on some of our favorite marketing campaigns. But even with all of those unique memories, I knew in my heart that what I would miss most was the people.
I knew I would miss the way Sandi’s face lights up when you ask her how things are going with the residents of Primate Country. I knew I’d miss the way you can hear “FT’s” laugh from anywhere in the building. I knew I’d miss waving to Mr. Charles at the parking booth on my way into work each day–a man whose smile can light up even the dreariest Monday morning. And I knew I’d miss a group of younger girls on staff God had knitted my heart to, known affectionately as “my zoo girls.”
As I reflect on these last eight years at Bellevue, I’m finding that, really, not much has changed. In my job here, I have collected so many fun memories. On the shelves in my office, I have a pair of red sneakers from our “Bellevue Loves Kids” emphasis, a pretend microphone from the year our department planned the Staff Christmas Party, and a “Wilson” volleyball that tells its own story.
But once again, all of my best memories are with the people. Also on the shelf is my going-away letter from Timothy, one of the best graphic designers I’ve ever met, who also has the biggest heart. There’s a photo of Monique’s baptism on my monitor because I don’t ever want to forget that day. There’s a group picture of some ladies who brought me into their Bible study at just the right time. And the newest addition, a photo with two Ministerial Assistants who left a forever impression on my heart.
What we tend to forget in serving Christ is that it’s always all about the people. Following the example of Jesus means seeing people where they are, going to them, and introducing them to the One who has redeemed us. We are not in the business of pleasing people–but serving people. Not “putting up with” people–but loving people. Not counting the number of people–but seeing people. We have a tendency to pour our blood, sweat, and tears into executing the events, planning the programs, and coordinating the calendar, and if we’re not careful, we overlook the ministry God has put before us in the hearts of the people we see each day.
Fall is a busy season for all of us. Church programs, school events, sports, and recitals all begin to consume our attention. So in the busyness, don’t forget the people. When we prioritize people, we leave a lasting footprint on their life.
We all have stories about people we meet along the way. What will be the story someone shares about you?
Abbey Dane, Story Director