Without Expectation


A friend that I highly admire told me a story about ”Sarah”. Sarah suffered a stroke and lives in a nursing home. She is surrounded with men and women who are a good twenty years older than she is. Every day Sarah would be sitting in her wheel chair in the exact same spot. Every day my friend would go visit her elderly mother and pass by Sarah. And every day my friend would say with a smile, ”Hi Sarah”, as she passed by.

Sarah’s only response was an odd face. The face showed she’d heard the kind words but was more of a ”what do you want lady” type of reply; almost in the “if looks could kill” category.

After a month of this my friend debated just ignoring Sarah and not bothering her as she passed but always felt the nudge to say hello. So even though her greeting was received with an almost glare, she kept it up. Every time it was the same, ”Hello Sara”. Silence. Grimace.

Many months of this and then some heartache later, my friend was walking into the nursing home as usual. This time she wasn’t going for her mother, but instead to sit in her mother’s empty chair at the lunch table beside a sweet little lady who needed a friendly face. As my friend walked down the hall, flooded by so many feelings as she remembered her mother, she rounded the corner and there sat Sarah.

Sarah’s eyes grew wide with recognition and she beckoned my friend over. My friend greets Sarah as she walks closer, ”Hi Sarah”. This time Sarah manages to form the words, ”Thank you”. She fights to slowly form the words over and over, ”Thank… you….thank….you.”

Her grimace had been a smile all along. Her silence was merely the result of someone trapped inside a body that no longer works on command. The two little words ”Thank You” were so much more than that. She was now the one comforting and encouraging.

How many times have I done something nice merely for the response? How many times have I stopped reaching out because that person didn’t acknowledge me in the way I thought proper? How many sweet Sarah’s have I misunderstood because I didn’t know her pain or story?

My prayer is to learn to love others without expectations. To keep loving them even when they reject me. Thankful to serve a Savior who lavishes His grace, love, and mercy on me each day, even when my response to Him is a silent grimace.

Let love be genuine. …Outdo one another in showing honor. …Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Romans 12:9-14


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