A woman peeked through the doorway into my office. “I’ve been walking past this church for months. I thought I’d stop in and see what goes on in here.”
That was my introduction to Alice. I took her on a tour of the building, answered some of her questions and invited her to attend a Sunday service. “I don’t think I’m ready for that,” she said. “Do you have any meetings with just a few people?”
I told Alice about our women’s noon hour prayer meetings. “You can come with me,” I said.
The next week Alice showed up. For weeks she didn’t say much. When 1 o’clock came she gathered her things and left. As time passed Alice’s awkwardness with the group diminished. She started keeping a diary of our prayer requests and sharing hers with us. She always wanted to know, “Has anyone had an answer to prayer? If we’re asking God for stuff there should be answers right?”
One day during our conversation before prayer (which always went on longer than we intended), Alice blurted out. “When I was walking across the parking lot today, I was thinking about how much I’ve changed since I started to believe in Jesus. Then it dawned on me, I don’t have anything against anybody, nobody. This is the first time in my life since I was a kid that I can say that.”
Nothing against anybody. What a free way to live. Alice admitted to us that she had held many grudges, some of them valid. “I didn’t realize until today that they’re all gone. I’m thinking about this one and that one and I’m not mad at any of them any more.”
The miracle of a grudge-free life. That’s a life lesson I learned from Alice.
Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children. Visit her blogs: Listening to my Hair Grow and Promises of Home. To purchase books, visit Writing From the Heart.