|"The Widow's Mite" by James C. Christensen
This week, I spent a morning involved in two very important phone conversations. I just completed my first novel, and I wanted to share that achievement with my Eighth-grade English teacher, who just happened to be my next neighbor during my childhood. She is now 86-years-old and lives several states away. I remember her as a witty, challenging and encouraging educator. As I wrote the short stories of my high-school years, she was always there to nurture and cultivate whatever talent I have. And she never made me feel guilty for all those years that I abandoned my gift.
So, for me, it was only natural that I wanted to share and involve her in my accomplishment. So we discussed plot, characters and theme of my novel. I told her I would mail the finished manuscript off to her, and she let me know that she would work it in to her "busy schedule"; between working on her income taxes and her church activities, she was still active. But she eagerly agreed to be the first editor of the finished narrative, and was obviously thrilled to be considered such a valuable part of my project.
My second phone call was to my 93-year-old aunt, who also lives over 800 miles away. She is the wife of my father's older brother, and the only surviving relative from my family's previous generation. Both my parents, my grandparents and other aunts and uncles are all gone. She is the last one, and therefore very precious to me. I try to call her once a week, and spend quality time listening to her and relating all that is going on in my hectic life. I make sure I clear a good section of my schedule for her, so I don't rush through our phone call, and make her feel as if she is not important. I can tell that she looks forward to our conversations, and the joy in her voice when she hears me on the other end of the phone, makes all my concerns of the day go away.
Her sight and hearing are failing, and she lives a solitary life. A weekly church service, doctor visits, and an occasional hair appointment comprise her complete sphere of social activities. I sometimes struggle to relate new and interesting topics, but she doesn't seem to mind. Just knowing that someone cares enough to take the time to call her is pleasure enough.
I relate these two seemingly insignificant accounts because I know how important it is to these two women to feel noticed, needed and loved. And it is exactly what this passage from Scripture is talking about. These women have borne children and raised families, survived husbands, produced much fruit in their lives, and are now in the waning days of this earthly life. They deserve to be acknowledged and should be celebrated. It is so easy in our fast-paced and selfish lives, to think it is all about us. The world tells us these women have out-lasted their usefulness. The world tells us it's OK to put off making that phone call or visit; they won't notice. But God has revealed to me that how we treat others in this life, is how we will be treated.
I am not perfect. I don't always call within a 7-day-week; it might be 8 or 10 days between calls. But I do it because I truly love and care for them, and because I'm hoping that when I arrive at this season of my life, there will be a niece or young girl I have nurtured, that will think I am worthy of a little bit of her time. And because I know that it is pleasing to our Father in Heaven.