After church, my husband and I grumped as we drove to the next town because our usual breakfast café was overcrowded.
When we pulled into that town’s cafe, a grandfather and a little girl got out of the car next to us. Right away, I could see that she’d been sick. I recognized her mostly bald head.
I struck up a conversation with the girl. “I’m six,” she told me. I complimented her on her cute animal print tights and asked her if that is what she planned to wear to school tomorrow. “She’ll be home schooled for a while,” Granddad said, “She is going into the hospital soon for her second stem cell transplant.”
I asked Granddad if it would be okay to bring the six-year-old a quilt to take with her to the hospital. A group of Christian women called Peace by Piece made it, I explained.
Monday I went back to our church, praying that we would have a suitable quilt in our little collection. As soon as I lifted the box top, I saw her quilt. It was colorful and cheerful. We delivered the quilt that afternoon.
When John and I arrived, the little girl was sitting on the porch with a friend. “I was wondering if you were really going to bring me a present like you said.” She patted the front of the quilt. “Red hearts,” she said. “This is nice.”
Meantime, Granddad had come out to see us. Walking me back to the car, he told me that his granddaughter had spent 300 days in the hospital. He thanked us, we all waved goodbye and drove off.
We brought his granddaughter the quilt I had promised, but it wasn’t the only present received that day. John and I were the ones who were given the greater gift.
We may never know how her transplant turned out. But we will always remember how that one instance of giving from the work of many hands expanded our hearts.
This message was adapted from Give Us This Day in the June 2014 issue of Gather magazine. Beth Hunnicutt is a life-long Lutheran who believes in stewardship of time, talents and treasure. She belongs to First Lutheran Church, St. Helens, Ore.