Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
I had a very humbling experience last week when I was invited to the Volunteer Appreciation Banquet at a local Retirement Village. I received the invited because, for nearly a year now, I’ve visited the center once a month to sing and tell Bible stories to the residents.
Most of the residents are women in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s, and it has been a long time since I’ve found people so genuinely appreciative of my singing. Whether I’m singing an old hymn or a ballad by Elvis, the women clearly love me there. I’m sure they check their calendar each month, counting the days until I return. And if I had posters available showing me with my guitar, many of them would undoubtedly hang them in their room.
This is all background information to help you understand why the Volunteer Appreciation Banquet was such a humbling experience for me.
The banquet was attended by an assortment of people: other volunteers, staff members, and a few residents as well. I was especially happy to see that some residents had come (I always enjoy interacting with my fans, after all).
I approached one of the residents, named Lillian, who had a big smile on her face. Wow, she is really glad to see me, I thought to myself.
So I sat next to Lillian and told her I’ve missed coming and singing for a few weeks now. I wasn’t prepared for her reply.
“I don’t remember you singing here,” she said quite seriously. “In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before.”
Lillian was sitting next to a resident named Ruth, who had been listening to our conversation. Ruth was another of my fans, and I looked toward her in hopes of getting some reassurance.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you sing either,” she informed me.
How deflating. Two of those I considered my biggest fans didn’t even remember me.
I was crushed.
Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. It probably wasn’t connected with the memory loss of residents in a nursing home. Your experience may have been much more painful than that, when people you had loved and poured your life into seemed to forget you even existed.
There are many possible lessons from my story, but here are just a few:
In the final analysis, my experience at the Retirement Village Appreciation Banquet was just another example of God’s sense of humor and His ability to deal with our pride and other blind spots. Yes, I was humbled, but the Lord probably was laughing the entire time. He knew I had developed an overinflated view of my own importance, and He was more than happy to let out some of the air.