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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2251536-The-little-old-lady-at-the-back
Rated: E · Short Story · Religious · #2251536
A woman with a servant heart
         She taught me to play the piano until I gave up the lessons to play tennis instead. Now I wonder if her music would have been a better choice. Her husband died many years before I met her but she had made the best of her life since then. Her two daughters now full-grown had long since left and she had struggled to pay the bills. She moved from her family home into a smaller flat. She lived simply and balanced her budget by shopping for her clothes in the charity shops down Market Street.

         She was a small old lady, a grey-haired beauty diminished by the years, her eyes always full of concern for others. She could sit at the back of a church and be unnoticed and I hardly noticed her for many years. She always seemed to be with someone whom she had helped arrive, someone old, someone sick, someone who needed her endless compassion. When the service finished she did not talk much, but she helped with coffee, cleaning up, with putting away the chairs. She never seemed to eat the biscuits though she would carry the tray around delighting in giving them to others. She was very skinny and I worried that she did not eat enough. She would leave helping her charge into a car, without a fuss.

         My grandmother grew poorly in her last years and this lady would visit her in her care home, more than I did in fact. She would sit with her for hours. I do not know what they talked about but when my grandmother spoke of her it was with a smile.

         Preaching a sermon in the church about service and a servant's heart one day I looked around at the flock seeing too much selfishness, pride, and greed. I looked for the servant heart that I had found in the example of Christ and now wanted to see in the flesh. My eyes met hers and I was humbled as I remembered all that she had done and saw her perhaps for the first time. My words changed from the script and I began to describe this lady without naming her. I spoke of how God saw her deeds and of how pleased he was with her and of how the rest of us would be paupers in heaven compared to her, she had accumulated so much heavenly reward. I saw tears in her eyes as I finished. We did not speak after the service, but she smiled at me. To some that would have been an affirmation, it humbled me.

         She never sought the world's applause. Her mission field was my neighborhood. When she died her funeral was warm and many people cried for her. As I write this now I also have tears but also a smile on my face as I remember the woman with the servant's heart.


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