Saturday was one of those magic days. We woke up and my wife had a sense of electrifying potential on her face. Her excitement was generated by the prospect of completing Tayla’s room. She worked out chores for everyone – all the family members were part of creating a warm, welcoming space for our baby that (Deo Valente) arrive in six weeks.
Unbeknown to her, the grandmothers organized a secret stork party. While Lollie opened gifts and celebrated with friends, the rest of us worked on the nursery. Beatrice, a lady in her eighties was also there. My parents picked her up for she lives a considerable distance from our house. After the party she joined our family for a barbeque (which we call a braai) and I had a very sad conversation with this particular saint.
When I call Beatrice a saint, I don’t do it lightly. She is one of those rare people through which one can actually see and smell the footprints of God. As we barbequed she told me that she is worried about her future. "I don’t have a church family, and I don’t even know who will bury me when I die", she said. She explained to me how she’s always been part of a church and how difficult it is for her to go to a local fellowship (she can’t drive). When she asks someone to give her a lift to the church service, she feels like she’s burdening them. In the last few months she phoned her local congregation, and asked for the pastor or someone to phone her back. She hoped to connect with someone who lives close to her who could give her a lift. After three months – still no contact. They take her tithe … but reject her as a person. What a sick world we live in where eighty year old saints are discarded as no good and not even valued enough to give a call? I’m angry with her pastor. I’m also challenged by his negative example. God help me not to discard the saints you place in my life.
We need spiritual grannies and grandpas who have the time and the wisdom to wait patiently in out-of-the-way places of the spirit and quietly bring new things to birth in others. Alan Jones in foreword to Holy Listening: The art of spiritual direction.