Paying it Forward

Paying it forward

“It is important that we learn humility, which says there was someone else before me who paid for me. My responsibility is to prepare myself so that I can pay for someone else who is yet to come.” Maya Angelou

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At Christmas, I often remember special friends who have died. I remember Sylvia, whom I dearly loved for many years. We worked together early in my ministry, and she taught me about servant leadership. She was a single mom, a nurse and a care taker like none other. She was a visitor from our church to the sick to say prayers, but she become more like a parish nurse being an advocate in the hospital for the medical condition of those with whom she said prayers. Sylvia would go to nursing stations and let anyone there know what “her patients” needed.

We started a 12-step group at our church which only lasted for about four months, but Sylvia was one of the first people who came to it and was in recovery for the rest of her life. We always believed we started it just for her and never regretted the effort we put into it.

Sylvia loved us but more than us she loved her grandchildren whom she talked about almost constantly. She died too early while her grandchildren were still young. Somehow I stay connected to her family and know a little about her oldest granddaughter. I intermittently write to Darcy and let her know some of the stories about her grandmother, but I especially tell her how very much she was loved and adored by Sylvia.

I honestly believe that Sylvia has in some way still been “suggesting” that I do this the way she made “suggestions” so well in her physical life. This is exactly what she would tell me to do if she were physically beside me. Sylvia wants her granddaughter to know how much she was and is loved, and in turn Sylvia is reminding me that I have that opportunity to do the same.

When I remember Sylvia’s untimely death, I am moved to call or text or email or visit with my own grandchildren and remember what a privilege it is to let them know they are loved.

This was my Christmas present this year and many years to come from Sylvia.