Hoping to provide a collection of short stories that will touch your heart and motivate you to heed the call of God when prompted by the Holy Spirit to share your talents with which the Lord has blessed you. You never know the lives that will be impacted by a kind word, a smile, a song, a prayer or friendship.
“I’m so old and ugly, even God can’t love me.” whined one-hundred-year-old Anna to her daughter, Millie, who cared for her. Anna was sharp and alert, but she had physical issues that kept her in bed most of the time. She was also very lonely, so Millie asked me to visit her. I often rode my bicycle over to their home because Anna, being elderly, needed a friend who could come to her bedside.
Since Anna’s eyesight was poor, she responded when she heard my voice. She reached out her hand from the rails on her bed and tried to grasp my hand. The hand was thin and gnarled with dark blue veins close to her skin. Yet she held tightly, as if she didn’t want me to go away.
What can I say to Anna? I wondered. I’m usually a shy person and felt inadequate to help her. Then a thought came to my mind: I can sing to her! A song popped into my thoughts. What if I can’t remember all the words? Yet an inner prodding kept saying “Sing.” I did know the chorus, so I started to sing: “You will always be a child in My eyes…..”
I closed my eyes and it surprised me that I could remember all the words to all the stanzas! When I opened my eyes, I noticed that Anna’s face was wet with tears.
After that day Anna kept asking me to come to house and sing again. Often I answered her request. Anna’s daughter asked me to write down the words so she could read them to her mom. An idea came to me. I know. I can give her my tape! Anna had a tape recorder, so it worked out fine. She listened to the song often and was content.
Anna passed away two months later. On the day of her funeral there was a gravesite service. One of the grandchildren present brought out her tape recorder and played the song that brought her grandma so much comfort. Many tears fell around the circle of friends that morning.
What if I hadn’t sung to my elderly friend because I felt too shy? What if I had not listened to the inner prodding voice? Anna would not have had the solace of the words of that song during the last few months of her life.
God’s still small voice is ever present in our midst. If we are quiet and listen, we may be able to minister to others more than we realize.
It was hard work starting a church. It was especially difficult because our group had no building to meet in. Every Sunday we carried in songbooks and set up chairs as the “saints” gathered in the community center. On Wednesday evenings we sang, studied the Bible, and prayed in a rented office space.
No splash, no advertising campaigns, just a group of Christians meeting for worship and fellowship. Ninety percent of the people in our small city were unaware of the gathering. But one person knew: Ruby, the office cleaning lady.
“You go ahead with your meeting,” she said on Wednesdays as we came into the office. “I’ll close the door and clean the other spaces while you’re in there.” She motioned to the room beyond the double doors. “I’ll leave that room to last.”
We would have been surprised to know that while we sang, Ruby was not cleaning the next office. Instead she was sitting with her ear to the crack in the door, listening to the music—every note. Yet we were a little surprised when she and her family showed up one Sunday for church.
“I enjoyed the music so much on Wednesdays, I had to come and hear more,” she said. Soon Ruby came regularly. Her heart yearned for God and before long she had committed her life to the Savior.
Ruby was ecstatic about the church, and more than anything she wanted us to have a place of our own for worship. When we held special events to raise money for a new building, she helped. She told friends, and soon they came to see for themselves what had changed Ruby.
“She’s so excited about the church,” a friend said, “and the music! Why, you people have gotten Ruby singing! She’s actually knows all those songs.
From a meager retirement check, she gave generously to the church and supported it with her attendance, but she didn’t live to see the new building. Weakened by lung cancer, aided by hospice, she lay weak and spent in her tiny apartment the day six of us came to sing for her the last time.
Choking back tears, we sang “The Old Rugged Cross,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and the worship choruses she loved. The music had drawn her to the church in the first place and gently eased her from this life to the next.
Ruby’s memorial service was a musical treat. Friends wept as they sang her favorites and the organ pealed the melodies she loved.
At a busy intersection in our city stands a church—Ruby’s church. Music continues to draw people to its door. When we gather I often think of her. Does she know about the new building? Most likely, but that may not be so important. No longer listening at a crack in the door, I now see Ruby singing, clapping, tapping her foot, even dancing to the angels’ music—in heaven’s front row.