Surprise Gift -- By Marion Smith

It was almost ten years ago when I experienced a season in my life called "The empty nest syndrome." At that time our church receptionist asked me if I would be interested in reading Scripture to a homebound lady. She had Multiple Sclerosis and was unable to leave her bed. Her husband had told the receptionist of his wife’s great desire to have the Word of God read to her.


When I arrived that first day, I discovered Helen had full time nurses. I am ashamed to say I wondered why they couldn’t read the Bible to her, but kept my thoughts to myself and proceeded to read! The first thing she asked me to read was the scripture about the sparrow- Matthew 10:29-31. I did read it, and then found a song on tape that I gave her.


The first few times I visited her, I tried to read the entire hour. This was difficult, and often she fell asleep(due to medication). Then, as we became closer, we talked more and I read less. I did read Scripture and pray with her during each visit, and I also wrote letters to her sons and sisters and listened to her share some of the heartaches and trials of being bedridden. I just showed up each time with a smile on my face and a ready heart to do what I could for her in this one brief hour a week.


I learned so much from her…courage in the face of physical adversity, faith while enduring heartache, expressions of love- shown to me in a new light, and patience galore in the midst of a disabling disease.


The surprise gift was one given to me by God. As I read to Helen, out loud, I heard God’s word in a new way! I finally realized the reason the nurses didn’t read Scripture to Helen- God was calling someone else (me) into her life to be a friend and receive an unexpected blessing.


What a wonderful way this was to fill the empty nest syndrome…. I received from Helen more than I ever gave… all because I was willing to perform an act of kindness.

Marion Smith