Wednesday, April 20, 2005

You Never Know

You Never Know, I tell my children, what will result from all these little choices you make every day. Teasing your sister until she screams: it matters. So does writing a letter to Grandma. They listen and pretend to agree, mostly, but I know they think the deed of this moment will be completely forgotten in a month—or a day--and will never matter again. So, an Instructive Example:

The setting: November, Wilton’s burial, Alford Cemetery. It is cold, windy, and rainy, and we are under the canopy trying to keep dry. A row of chairs holds Anne with Jenny on her lap, Aunt Susie, and a few others. Clustered around are Paul, his siblings, their spouses, and their children. All around us are the brave souls—neighbors, church people, old friends—hunched in the rain, who have come to say their last goodbyes.

Beside me is a young lady I’ll call Ashley, one of my daughters' friends. She is no relation to the deceased, but since her grandparents knew Wilton, she and her mom escorted them to the funeral. I saw her standing outside alone and ushered her into the tent to join us.

The service begins. Some of the teenage girls didn’t bring coats, so they shiver in the wind. Suddenly there is a general rustling among the nephews standing to my right. They are shucking off their jackets and handing them out to the young ladies. Ashley, as I recall, ends up with Byran’s; Emily, with Kevin’s.

The singers compete with the gusts of wind, the body is lowered, the service is finished. The coats are returned to the owners and we slowly turn to leave.

End of episode. Or maybe not. Days later, Ashley’s mother tells me that, for her daughter, the most impressive part of the entire day was those young men taking off their coats and giving them to the girls. "I don’t know of any guys in my life, not one, who would do that for me," Ashley said. "You can’t imagine how profound a moment it was for her," her mom says. "Lifechanging, really."

Take heed, children. As I said, You Never Know.

Quote of the Day:
"I think I have eyebrows like a wolf."


  1. termil (tricot gal)4/20/2005 9:37 PM

    Exactly! And it makes me think of the song "Can Jesus be seen in me?"

  2. Beautiful story. It's such a good "witness" when Christian guys will be gentlemen. We need more fellows like that.


  3. It always amazes me how the simple acts speak the loudest. These young men are to be commended, when we have non church or other church people in our midst we must remember that our actions may speak louder than our verbal platitudes. Simple attention to the little things can serve Christ well. As He said, a cup of water offered in His name maybe all that is needed to reach a soul for the kingdom.

    Thanks for this lesson.

  4. I have been thinking lately about -- like you said -- how the little choices that we make matter. It's scarey to me how something that seems so unimportant could be so life-changing.
    My sister went to church one night for a singing group, as we always do. Nothing extraordinary about it, nor were we expecting anything unusual. We were ready to leave, but at the last minute she decided to go back to the table and buy a cookbook. That led her to become involved in a conversation with one of the guys in the group, and he ended up getting her email address. To make a long story short, 14 months later she was married to him. And I am left wondering, what would have happened if she wouldn't have gone back to buy that cookbook? But even such a "small" decision as that is orchestrated by God, who sees the big picture. It's scarey....but nice to know He's got it all under control!
    ~Laura J.

  5. Yes, I recall attending a huge school conference with thousands in attendance. What I remember the most is a young lady being honored with an award, and immediately passing it to her father to hold. Spoke volumes.