Remember that pink scarf? Elsie, the knitter, came into the store yesterday for her birdseed.
The first time she'd seen me at the register, she'd peered up at me closely and said, "Are you that Debby who writes in the paper?" I'd said, "Yes," and she said, "I love your stories. I often read them and think that I should call you. It just seems like you'd be so easy to talk to." She was lonely. I could tell. I'd told her to feel free to call me, and then promptly thought no more about it. She had though. I'd written a column about that pink scarf for the paper. The gist of it was that I thought that I'd learned a valuable lesson from cancer, about the importance of people in my life, yet as soon as I got back into the serious business of living, it happened once more: I was so busy that I didn't have time for visiting, and for phone calls. I had a stack of cards on my dining room table waiting to be filled out (hi, Jayne...) but no time to do it. I was studying and working and...well...then an elderly lady walked into the store with a scarf that she had knit thinking of me. Fringed, thinking of me. Driven to the store, thinking of me. The gift is dear to me. I was touched. I was also shamed at my own busy-ness. I vowed once more not to forget the importance of the people in my life.
Yesterday, I greeted her with a big smile. "Hi, Elsie!" and she smiled shyly. "Thank you for your article. I was so surprised." I told her that every word of it was true, that that pink scarf reminded me of something very basic, something that I seemed to have a hard time remembering. I thanked her once more for my scarf and for the gentle lesson that God had given me through her busy little hands.
We clutched each other's hands, for just a moment, and then she had to go. There were customers waiting.
Everyone needs to feel like they matter, and I went back to work vowing to do better at remembering that.