A Continuation of... by Andrea Gram
What is it that makes Polyface shine like it does?
Is it just that one big luminous star that everyone points to first when they're out star-gazing at night? On the contrary, I think that our good shepherd here would be the first to acknowledge that his star-light wouldn't even register without all the others shining bright and early every morning to put his uncommon earthly wisdom into practice.
So for this series, I'm going to construct something called a “corona”. That is I'm going to focus my lens on the outer part of a star's atmosphere – the glowing aura that's most visible during a total solar eclipse. Interestingly enough, "corona" is a Latin word meaning "crown", from the Ancient Greek κορώνη, which means “garland or wreath”. Could it be? Are all the faithful servants that make up the Farm of Many Faces the very “crown of glory” upon his head?
Indeed, the team that I'm so blessed to work with consists of some of the smartest and hardest working people I know; stewards of devout faith and unwavering discipline – stars in their own right. You might imagine the difficulty I had deciding in which direction to point my star-gazing machine first. For the sake of laying some sandy ground work, I'll begin with the brilliant designer of the Metropolitan Buying Club herself: Sheri Salatin.
If I am the pitcher, Sheri is the woman who designed the infield and positioned each base at precisely the right point in order to move Polyface's clean meat off the farm and into your freezer. Not only did she create this part of the playing field, but she coaches all of the Buying Club operations on a day-to-day basis amidst a myriad of other activities.
Now, if I could somehow adjust the setting on my eyepiece and delve right into Sheri's creative mind in order to present you a picture of exactly what goes on in there, well.. I'd better not. You wouldn't want somebody poking a telescope in your ear would you? Fortunately, we don't have to resort to this kind of invasive procedure to get a good idea of how Sheri's mind works. We can simply look at one of her quilts, for these beautifully intricate patterns of well-defined reason are stitched into every seam of the operation.
I could go into great detail here examining the individual components of the Buying Club, however Sheri's already covered that base in the Polyface Primer. What I'd like to do instead is zoom out and focus on the big picture. I'd like to tell you about what a wonderful mother she is, as evidenced by her delightful children who come galloping into the office most afternoons to brighten my day. I could go on and on about what a devoted wife she is; how I hear her lift her husband's spirits and encourage him throughout the long, hard workdays. Of course I'd love to expound upon all the service projects she volunteers for at her church and in our community, for these things are all a beautiful revelation of who Sheri is - the whole person.
However, studies show that you all just don't have the attention span to deal with me inserting a novel into this newsletter. Therefore, we'll have to settle for a brief glimpse into the recent past – my first days of working at Polyface:
You might have suspected that a business owner as accomplished as Sheri would have looked for someone with an ivy league diploma when my position opened up last summer. Would you believe it if I told you that I was just a front end cashier at Lowes? Even more unusual is the fact that Sheri and Daniel's decision to bring me aboard wasn't based so much on my past performance or even the skill sets I'd developed as much as it was on their relationship with the Lord. That's right, they prayed about it. And this, good people, is how God kept his promise to me and literally waltzed me into "the land of milk and honey".
I could hardly believe I'd been hired to work at Polyface and I was incredibly nervous when I started. Sheri must have known how much I needed a calm and and comforting presence, for she certainly provided one. She seemed to instinctually know how I learned best and what I needed to really wrap my head around things. She patiently walked me through each step as many times as it took before I got it down, giving me little high fives along the way. Being in her presence then.. well it was like being wrapped up in a soft, warm downy quilt of encouragement.
Now I know what you're probably thinking, “this woman can't be real.” I know, I can hardly resist pinching her from time to time just to make sure! Seriously, you're just not going to get that kind of Jerry Springer drama here folks. The fact is that for any area of weakness Sheri has, she makes up for it a million different ways on a million different days.
Besides, if Sheri was perfect - if any of us were perfect - how could we ever be loved? How would we become familiar to one another, trusted, even needed? Therefore, in our humility we're able to see and understand our weakness for what it really is: a precious opportunity to be loved.. just as we are. Can you see that little glimmer of the promised land? Why, it's just some plain ole peace of mind and once we've got it, we can really dig our cleats into the grains of time and play some ball.