Some people just have a way about them, a way of nurturing what matters most.
My aunt was one of those people. When she moved to a local long-term care facility, I visited daily and provided care for her needs. I’m not sure she realized how clever she was. But her way of getting my attention amidst all my hustle gave voice to her need and revealed a need in me.
She clapped joyfully, “I’m so glad to see you!”
I smiled as I walked toward her closet, “I’m glad to see you, too! Sorry I’m late. I didn’t get to leave work on time. Then I drove right by McDonald’s and had to go back. Oh, and I forgot my Sharpie. So, I can’t mark your new slippers with your name ‘til tomorrow.”
She crushed me with her cry, “I wish you’d hush all that explaining, stop rushing about, and just visit. I ain’t got nothing but time. That hot coffee is good, and I thank you for it. But I’d rather you settle down and sit a spell.”
I eased her closet doors shut and turned, “You know what? That’s the best recommendation I’ve heard all day.”
And it was. Her expectations of me were easy to meet.
But I had a way about me that need deconstructing. I over-complicated things until I became my own worst enemy. Self-imposed expectations fashioned a nasty guilt complex. As if that weren’t enough, I wasted time with unnecessary explanations – quality time with my aunt.
She mentored me without knowing. Her words revealed what mattered most to her. I have a feeling she spoke from lessons she learned, perhaps with regret.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)
You can imagine my sorrow as regret caught up with me in an unexpected way. What follows is an excerpt from my Prayer Journal:
“Father, thank You for acceptance.
I don’t have to show up with excuses or explanations about anything. In the most basic, yet profoundly powerful sense, all I need do is show up.
Whether here or elsewhere, You are present.
Whether early, late, according to a set routine, or seemingly random, You are present.
And You know all. The burdens of shame or self-sabotage hinder intimacy. I waste so much time – our time – with my apologies for things that don’t matter (i.e., explaining why I wasn’t “here” before 11:45).
I wonder if You ever feel like resting Your finger over my lips and saying, “I know. I am glad You are here. Now, tell Me why you came.”?
I came to worship You.
I came to ask help for others and for me.
I came to hear Your response.
I came to learn more about You.
I came to thank You.
I came because I love You and I want to spend time with You; just us.
I came to “Be still and know that [You] are God.”
Drawing near to one another without lofty expectations of doing over being. Isn’t that a great gift to our loved ones?
Serving my aunt was a natural outflow of my love for her. But I allowed my serving to overshadow my being with her. When she moved to heaven, do you know what mattered most? The time we spent drawing near to one another.
Nurturing what matters most produces a harvest of joy and ensures weeds of regret won’t grow.
What matters most to you?
What matters most to your family?
How do your answers align with what matters most to God?
Let us know with a comment below.