She was crabby! Grumpy! She yelled at the nurses and complained all the time. Just the kind of person I like to avoid, but I couldn’t because she was in the bed next to my mother in a rehab center. Every day when I went to visit my mother, I hoped that ‘she’ would be sleeping or at physical therapy. One day God whispered in my ear, “When you do it unto the least of these, you do it to me.” Oh! OK! My sister and I started showering Mrs. Grumpy with care and kindness: We brought her flowers, cookies, said “Hi” and asked her,

“What may we do for you today?”

One of the gestures of caring which my mother liked was having her feet massaged with lotion. Some of you know how wonderfully relaxing a pedicure is? Anyway, one day I was massaging my mother’s feet, and I noticed Edith watching me intently. Then God whispered again to me, “Ask Edith if she would like you to massage her feet.” I thought, “Really God? Am I hearing you correctly? You want me to massage Mrs. Grumpy’s feet?” Then I remembered, “When you do it to the least of these you do it to me.” Okay. So I asked, “Edith, would you like me to massage your feet with lotion?” She immediately responded, “Yes, Please.” As I massaged her feet, I could feel her entire body relax—her eyes closed and she looked quite peaceful and . . . even pretty.

Everyday my sister or I would read to my mom from the Bible. One day Edith said, “Would you mind opening that curtain so that I can hear better?” Gradually weeks passed and one day my mom whispered to us, “Have you noticed that Edith is becoming a nicer person. She says, “Please and thank you.” And she isn’t so grumpy to the nurses! We even have nice conversations.”

When I reflect on this experience several insights come into my mind and heart: Plato once said, “Be kind—everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I wonder what battles Edith was fighting. The experience with Edith also taught me, once again, that God can even use our little gestures of kindness to gradually change a Grumpy person into a little nicer person.

Thank you Lord for changing Edith and for changing me too.


Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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