What Matters

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The note was simple. Terse. Not particularly gracious.

Thanks for what you did for Granny. It mattered.

That’s all. Nothing more. Just it mattered.

An unpleasant old lady, wrinkled-wrapped and weathered, had outlived all of her friends and most of her family. Hers was a life of too many hard times and too much disappointment. She lived doing what she could to get by.

But for one young girl, she was the granny who understood when the first crush soured, when the first boss got too friendly, when a young woman needed money for a wedding dress, when a young mother needed a break from diapers and bottles. She may have been a lonely, broken, throwaway old woman to most—but she was “Granny” to one.

And that one needed something doctors and nurses and therapists couldn’t give. She needed someone to know that her granny was more than a withered old woman. With less connection to a church than a pit bull has to a postman, the middle-aged granddaughter wasn’t about to show up in some church office, but her hair dresser had other ideas.

"Call this fella Gary. He won’t preach at you, I promise,” the hairdresser said. “I know this kid. He won’t talk at you with all those big words you can’t understand and don’t care about. Just call him.”

She stared at the phone, embarrassed, hesitant, but made the call.

“I, uh, I’m, well, you don’t know me, but my granny’s dying, and Margie over at the beauty shop told me to call you, and uh, well . . .”

“Tell me a little more about your grandmother,” he said.

The voice on the other end of the phone was kind, respectful, unlike most of the men in her world. She relaxed. Fifteen minutes later she’d had more direct interaction with a minister in one phone call than in her whole life. For a moment she sat quietly. Then she cried.

The young minister hung up, wishing he hadn’t said yes, wondering why he had.

I don’t have time for this. God, I’m tired. I just want to go home, see my wife.

But he grabbed his keys, left the office and drove across town, weariness heightening his dread.

The visit was brief, the old woman minimally responsive, the granddaughter ill at ease. But he went back. Regularly. Each week. And the days became weeks, became months until the old woman died.

The young minister companioned the graying granddaughter through phone calls, arrangements, decisions, and tears. He buried her granny. Several weeks later, the note arrived.

Thanks for what you did for Granny. It mattered.

It mattered. A few minutes. A kind voice. A gentle presence. A willing heart.

In the simplest of acts, it matters. It always does.

When have you said “yes,” wishing you’d said “no,” wondering what good it would do, wondering if it really mattered? God doesn’t need our enthusiasm, just our willingness, for a faithful act to matter.

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