on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Annie’s Gift

This is the first in the series, “Stories from Lent 2011.”

Annie Seymore walks into my office with a smile. She greets me warmly and asks how my day is going or if I need anything as she empties the trash.  She makes eye contact and listens.  She wants to know about my wife, Mary, or how our kids are doing in college.

I get out of my chair to give her a hug.  I ask about her day or what she did over the weekend.  We talk about the weather.

Often Annie has a wonderful new story about her three year old granddaughter.

She learned how to ride a bike this weekend,” Annie beamed as the proud grandmother.

“I was walking alongside her holding her up on the bike and she kept saying ‘Let go Grandmama, let go.’  And so I did.”

Annie raised her eyebrows for emphasis and said, “And off she went, just peddling away.”

I wondered who experienced the most joy of the newly learned skill of independence, the teacher or the student?

I invite you to walk alongside and hold another person up until the words are uttered, “Let go,” and do so gladly.

I invite you to make eye contact in a room and listen deeply on a routine day.

I invite you to remind others by your presence, the way you are, that God is good.

May we learn from Annie’s gift during Lent of letting go, listening, and loving deeply in your life.

Happy peddling to you.


  1. Madeline Grieb

    Malcolm, I have worked in a hospital for many years and I have known a lot of people. It seems to me that the housekeeping staff are the ones who take the time to talk to others and ask about what is going on in their lives. We get lots of positive comments from patients about staff in housekeeping. Loved the story!

  2. Marti Holmes

    Annie is, indeed, a most special woman! Each day that I saw her last summer, she brought sunshine into our lives with her smile and genuine kindness.

  3. Sandra Langston

    Thanks, Malcolm, for this story about Annie and about you!

  4. Malcolm

    Sandra, Marti, and Madeline,

    Thanks so much for your comments. We are blessed to learn from Annie daily.


  5. Janet Griffin

    I am thankful for the “Annie’s” in my own life. My prayer especially during this Lenten Season is that I can be an “Annie” to others. Thank you Malcolm and thank you Annie.

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