Yesterday, I sat in a quiet room for five hours, surrounded by musty old books and newspapers.
As I conducted research at the mecca for Methodism in our state for one of my grad school courses, I was lucky enough to meet two kind women who run that section of the library. They volunteer hours of their time each week to help people like me find what they’re looking for.
Both women offered to make copies for me, gave me a free download of three out-of-print history books, and even tried to convince me to eat what they’d brought for lunch because they thought I needed a snack. They were working and giving out of their hearts and serving in a way that many people don’t want to. One of them has been working in the archives for over 20 years.
Why would someone do that–spend all those days spent amongst old books, scanning documents, placing photos in protective pockets?
The woman who has been there for over 20 years told me, as I was leaving, that she loves history, particularly the history of her faith. She said, as she pointed to her desk, “See, I keep that sign with me. It says, ‘who you are is who they were.’ We can’t forget that. We have to know who they were.”
As I left the library, I felt grateful for the opportunity to learn a little about who she was: a grateful, diligent, hard-working, patient, giving, and passionate woman.