Just this week I began to receive Christmas cards in the mail. Kind of late, really. But then, my own cards are still a to-do list item, so who am I to talk?
I received a card today from my dear friend, Bob. Bob’s Christmas letter began like this:
“My days are very routine and of no real importance.”
Bob is 89. He goes on to say that “the high point of each day continues to be the afternoon visit with my Shirley.” His wife. She’s in a care facility now, mostly in a wheelchair to keep her from falling and hurting herself. “She talks very little, but now and then, out of the blue, will break out with one of her poems or a song.” And her faithful husband is there every afternoon, to listen. To smile. To laugh. To love.
Bob says that his days are of little importance, but I don’t believe him for one minute.
I don’t believe him, because I have been on the receiving end of Bob’s visits and I can attest to the value of Bob’s time and presence.
When I worked at the church where Bob worships, he and Shirley would stop by and visit me sometimes. They would come into my office and sit down and talk. Sometimes we talked about the adult Sunday School class Bob taught. Sometimes we discussed Council business and decisions that needed to be made. But always, no matter what brought them in, they would end up encouraging me and thanking me for the ministry I was doing at the church.
Bob would almost always wipe away sweet tears of gratitude as he talked about the work that I was doing. He always appreciated me. And he always told me so.
There was nothing about Bob that was routine and unimportant.
His words fed my heart in some pretty thin times. They still do.
There is a Bob in the church where I work now. Her name is Barbara. Every time she sees me, she gives me the warmest hug! She remembers everything I do and she takes the time to thank me for it. She, like Bob, can go from dry eyes to tears in ten seconds flat – wearing her sweet heart on her sleeve for all to see. I don’t know if Barbara considers her days as “routine and of no real importance,” but I would know better if she did.
She is important to ME.
The older I get, the more I believe that LESS is MORE when it comes to the Kingdom of God.
Less activity allows us to sink ourselves into the few things we do, allowing us to do those few things well.
Less on the schedule means there is more time at our disposal – at God’s disposal – to do things like stop in and encourage someone who needs a hug and a friend (and maybe even a friendly tear).
Less energy means that the choices we make matter all the more. After all, we can only do so much! When Bob’s 89 year old body gets up in the morning, he’s going to be doing just what he has steam enough to do. He’s going to swim ten laps. He’s going to care for his faithful canine, Pearl. And he’s going to sit with his sweetheart, Shirley.
This is what matters. This is what he can do. And tomorrow, he’ll do it all again, proving that his less is really more than most people choose to give, no matter what their age.
May we choose to do more with less in the coming New Year, taking our cues from faithful people like Barbara and Bob.
People who do small things with great love. Just because they can.