Pam, age 67, and Courtney, 31, met in 2005, teaching 2nd grade children’s classes at the 5pm service. They taught together for six years, moving up with the same group of girls through 5th grade. And through that experience, despite their ages, they are now close friends—like real friends who hang out outside of church regularly. Their unlikely friendship reveals a beautiful truth: that generations can learn a lot from each other—about God, life, the world. Pam and Courtney are living proof. Here’s their story in their own words.
Courtney: It took a while for our teaching team to meld together—we not only had a big age gap, we also had other members that had never taught before.
Pam: I didn’t know that Courtney was the official “team leader,” nor did I know she was a school teacher—she had all these ideas for our class, nothing that matched with what I had done in the past.
Courtney: The great thing about teaching Sunday school is that you are paired with people that you wouldn’t otherwise meet, and you have to work together, otherwise those kids will take over!
Somewhere in our second year of teaching together, we realized we were both living on the Eastside, so we decided to start carpooling. During the 20 minutes to and from church, we started sharing more, and our friendship really started to develop.
Pam and Courtney – to a T
Here are a couple stories that pretty much sum up our entire friendship:
Pam: We drove together to a fellow teacher’s wedding in Portland. The plan was that Courtney would pick me up in Redmond, and we would drive down for the wedding, stay the night, then come back home. So Courtney arrives at my house about 20 minutes late, we get everything thrown in the car, and start driving up the 520 on-ramp. Right at the top of the hill, Courtney’s car starts sputtering.
Courtney: My gas gauge had been on empty, but the actual gas light never came on, so I figured it was still fine. It wasn’t fine. Apparently waiting for the gas light to come on isn’t the best way to gauge whether or not your car needs gas.
Pam: So we pulled off to the side of the road. Fortunately I had AAA, so I called; someone came and put gas in the car. About an hour later, we were finally on the road to Portland. We ended up missing the wedding ceremony, but arrived just in time for the reception.
Courtney: Another story comes from a conversation we had while driving to church (evidently, driving is a recurring theme for us). Pam would always ask me about what books or movies I’ve watched. Well unfortunately I got sucked into the whole Twilight* thing and told Pam about it. Around the time when the third movie was coming out in theaters, Pam mentioned wanting to see what all the fuss was about. So I brought the first movie, and later the second, over to her house, and we had movie nights. Later we went and saw the third and fourth movies in the theaters. My other friends are absolutely horrified that I got Pam hooked on the whole craze. One friend said, “I can’t believe you scandalized that poor old lady.”
Pam: Courtney has a much more relaxed view of discipline in the classroom—so she has taught me to be much more calm. There were several times in our class when Courtney would give me a look that said, “Pam, chill. Calm down. It’s OK.” I also learned to be OK with having a younger person be in charge, and I know that she is well equipped to do so.
Courtney: Pam has taught me to be a better listener—more specifically to listen to a person’s whole story. It is so hard to just listen, at least for me, without adding my own opinion or parts of my own story. In just listening, I have seen how God’s grace is at work in Pam’s life, and I am now able to recognize how he is working in my life as well.
Pam and Courtney don’t teach Sunday school together anymore—Pam is now a deacon, and Courtney hangs out with middle-schoolers as a Rock sponsor—but their friendship is still going strong. They get together every week or two for dinner or a walk. And very often, you can spot them sitting together in worship services.
*The UPC Times cannot and will not endorse the books, movies, or any other product of the Twilight franchise. Except that they’re, like, really good. We’ve heard.