Nannygranne loved Church Camp and appreciated that at her age, the directors were content for her to teach cabin devotionals and “work the crowd” in between.
A ballgame was underway and she searched for a shade. She noticed a girl sitting alone watching the game, but her posture gave away the dejection she was feeling.
“Hi! Got room for me in this nice shade?” Nannygranne asked.
Without speaking, the girl scooted down the bench a little.
“I’m not much of a ball player, myself,” Nannygranne said, “so I just like to watch. Sometimes I’m the cheerleader!” Nannygranne hoped the girl would join in the conversation. But silence continued. “The kids call me Nannygranne. What’s your name?”
“Annie,” the girl responded.
“Hi Annie. Are you having some fun here at camp? Made any new friends?”
“I think there’s a group making jewelry over at the gazebo. Would you like to go over there? I’d go with you and we could make something for ourselves and a friend.”
“I’d just get in the way,” she responded with an unseeing stare toward the ball field. Then she repeated, “I always just get in the way.”
Nannygranne frowned. This youg girl was in pain deeper than typical growing pains. She felt unwanted.
“Mmmm,” Nannygranne said, “I remember feeling like I was in the way one time. All my country cousins were riding horses and I didn’t know how. Our grandmother made them take me riding with them but they got mad because they had to help me so much and I was afraid of going fast.”
“What did you do?”
“I don’t remember but I know what I’d do now. I’d tell my grandmother that I would rather spend time with her and let the other kids ride horses.”
“My grandma just tells me that I’m in her way.”
Nannygranne thought for a moment. “Sometimes I still feel like I’m in the way even now.”
“Who says you’re in the way?” Annie shifted on the bench and turned toward Nannygranne. She’d found a comrade in her misery.
“Sometimes my kids and grandkids are really busy. They have so many places to go and so much to do and they don’t need my help. Sometimes I get to thinking they don’t need me anymore and that I’m only in the way. But then I stop and think to myself, ‘I don’t like feeling this way. I’m going to find another feeling. I’m going to find someone who needs something.’”
“How do you do that?”
“Well, I find someone else who might be feeling lonely, too—like some of my older friends and neighbors. Sometimes I call them and visit. Sometimes I bake a cake and see who I can find to share it with. Sometimes I invite them over to play games.”
“I don’t know how to bake cakes,” Annie complained, returning to her slump.
Nannygranne leaned closer to her. “Do you know how to make jewelry for someone else?”
Annie looked toward those making jewelry and grinned sheepishly. Nannygranne offered her hand and she took it. Together they headed toward the gazebo.
As they walked, Nannygranne said, “You know, Annie. Jesus helps us learn how to beat the lonelys. He said that we should treat other people the way we want to be treated. So when I’m lonely, I try to find someone else who might be lonely and do for them what I want for myself. And it works! I’m not lonely any more. Jesus is so smart! “Nannygranne stopped. And do you know what?”
Nannygranne stopped like she was thinking. Annie waited.
Finally: “We’re never in Jesus’ way! He always wants us even if we feel like nobody else does. So the next time we think we’re just in the way, we can remember that Jesus always has room for us. He has things for us to do. Do you think we should do that?”
“Yes!” Annie gave a high-five, then giggled. “Nannygranne, you’re fun! Can we be friends?”
“Dear children, let us not only show love for each other by what we say. Let us show love by really helping each other. Then we will know that we really belong to God…Our thoughts may say that we are bad. But God knows much more than we know in our thoughts. God knows everything.”
I John 3:18-20 Easy English Version